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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 12, 2012

Date published:
October 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Howman on whether US Postal could happen again

    WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 20:55 BST
    Daniel Benson

    WADA director-general reacts to USADA report

    While WADA and the UCI closely study the USADA's extensive report into Lance Armstrong and doping at the US Postal and Discovery teams, the question has arisen as to whether such a systematic doping regime could function in the current climate.

    According to USADA’s evidence, the US Postal team ran “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”. Testimony from several riders illustrate that tactics of bullying and coercion were employed to ensure control and lure riders into the doping practices that helped Armstrong win seven straight Tours and dominate the face of cycling.

    According to the evidence amassed by USADA, it was a global operation, with funds used to facilitate the purchase and distribution of doping products.

    David Howman, Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency, is currently studying USADA’s report but called it “a very thorough and reasoned decision with luminous amounts of evidential material. I think USADA have conducted not only a co-compliant process but a very thorough and professional process,” he told Cyclingnews on Thursday.

    Howman was unable to go into specifics of the case at this stage. WADA still have the right to appeal and there are other USADA cases still far from completion, including that against US Postal’s former team manager Johan Bruyneel. However the WADA head argued that the landscape had changed, comparing the 90s to the wildwest and pointing out that the WADA code, the cooperation with police forces and other measures had helped to tighten the noose around the necks of the cheats.

    “In every sport there’s the ability for people to take shortcuts to succeed,” Howman said when Cyclingnews asked if a US Postal equivalent could exist within...

  • Liquigas-Cannondale deny Bertagnolli's Dr Ferrari claims

    The Liquigas team move Basso to the front
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 22:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian team defends its record on doping

    The Liquigas-Cannondale team has issued a detailed and complex statement, denying claims by former rider Leonardo Bertagnolli that he was given permission by team management to work with Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    Bertagnolli made the claims when questioned by police from Padua on May 18, 2011 as part of detailed investigations into Ferrari for USADA.

    Bertagnolli said he asked the Liquigas-Cannondale team management and its team doctor if he could be followed by Ferrari because of a long-standing thyroid problem. He agreed to pay Ferrari 12,000 Euro for treatment in 2007 and spent time in St Moritz, training with other Liquigas riders. He said Ferrari told him how to take EPO to avoid detection in anti-doping tests. There is no mention in the six-page statement and subsequent phone taps of Ferrari treating Bertagnolli for his thyroid problem.

    Bertagnolli specifically names Franco Pellizotti, Roman Kreuziger, Enrico Gasparotto and Francesco Chicchi and claims that he knew that his then-Liquigas teammates worked with Ferrari because they talked about it and the team knew about it. He claims that Ferrari explained how to carryout blood transfusions in 2008 and even advised him on the model of industrial fridge to buy to conserve the blood.

    Liquigas-Cannondale claim in their statement that riders were formally asked who their personal coaches were in 2007 and then in late 2007 a clause was added to rider contracts banning them from using external coaches. The only exception was Ivan Basso, who was allowed to work with the late professor Aldo Sassi.

    Liquigas-Cannondale claims that "From 2008, Liquigas Sport continued its campaign and acts of prevention against doping by choosing not to renew contracts of riders where there was evidence that they didn’t respect...

  • Martin supports Garmin stance on USADA-sanctioned riders

    2011 Giro della Toscana champion Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) on the podium.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 22:56 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Zabriskie, Vande Velde and Danielson suspended for six months

    When Dan Martin turned professional as a raw 21-year-old for Jonathan Vaughters' Slipstream Sports outfit (now Garmin-Sharp) at the beginning of 2008, he joined what on first appearance seemed something of a paradox – a team with a firm anti-doping policy that was backboned by a core of veterans who had ridden for Lance Armstrong's former US Postal Service squad.

    Garmin's much-publicised philosophy was a thinly-veiled response to their experiences at US Postal, but in spite of the attempts of David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and manager Jonathan Vaughters to start anew, it seems the past is never quite past.

    During the last two years, the quartet have provided testimony to the United States Anti-Doping Agency as it built a case against Armstrong, manager Johan Bruyneel and the doping culture fostered at US Postal. On Wednesday, USADA announced that Zabriskie, Vande Velde and Danielson would serve six-month suspensions after they confessed to doping as part of their evidence in the Armstrong case.

    Speaking after he finished second on stage 3 of the Tour of Beijing on Thursday, Dan Martin said that he supported the Garmin team's decision to stand by the three veteran riders. The Irishman pointed to the anti-doping philosophy that the trio had helped to inculcate at the team, saying that he felt fortunate to have developed in such an atmosphere.

    "It's hard to comment on it really because I haven't really looked into the case," Martin said in the shadow of the Great Wall of China at Badaling. "Garmin-Sharp's...

  • Wiggins: USADA Armstrong case 'pretty damning'

    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 0:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour champion sad to see blanks next to seven years of history

    Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, interviewed by Sky News, has called the USADA case file on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team's doping conspiracy "pretty damning", but said he was not surprised by the "shocking" contents of its dossier.

    "It's been coming for a long time, the evidence has been building slowly. It's pretty much three years now [since the investigation began] and it was always going to come to a head," Wiggins said. "It's been released and it's pretty damning stuff."

    Responding to criticisms of the USADA case from Armstrong's attorneys, Wiggins said, "It's clear it's not a one-sided hatchet job."

    Wiggins reluctantly took up the issue, acknowledging that he is expected to as the current Tour de France winner. "I've got to answer the questions, pick up the pieces, expect to be the voice of everyone behind me. Which I'm not happy about doing, but I understand why."

    He hopes that his performance this year "is the future of cycling in this country and the future of our sport".

    "That's where it moves forward. I would say a lot of this happened nearly 15 years ago, the sport has changed considerably and we're a big part of changing the sport."

    Yet as a part of Tour de France history, Wiggins also finds it sad to think that there could be a blank space next to seven years of Tour palmares.

    "I don't know what they do now - strip him of his titles and give it to the guy in second place who's already tested positive as well and been banned from the sport? Or give it to the third place who's already subsequently been gone? I...

  • Cycling Australia respond to USADA investigation

    Cycling Australia
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 1:58 BST
    Cycling News

    "Amnesty for athletes" should be considered says Mueller

    Cycling Australia today released a statement following USADA’s reasoned document and stated that it’s up to the UCI to respond to specific matters. They will however, require time to digest the more than 1000-page dossier before considering if any Cycling Australia members were implicated.

    Klaus Mueller, the President of Cycling Australia expressed his disappointment in the findings of the case and believed that the weight of the findings will prove to be a real turning point for the sport.

    "Our members, staff, officials, volunteers and fans are passionate about cycling and all of them are entitled to feel angry when cheats tarnish our sport," Mueller said. "We hope the magnitude and profile of this case will prove to be a turning point for the sport and an opportunity for everyone involved in cycling to reinforce their commitment and efforts to stamp out doping."

    With such an extensive package of documents, Muller says that it’s too early to state whether any Australian members are involved and that now may prove the ideal time to introduce an amnesty for athletes who confess to past anti-doping rule violations.

    "Until we've had a chance to do that it's impossible to say whether any Cycling Australia members are implicated," said Mr Mueller.

    "But it might now be time to consider a range of options including an amnesty for athletes who have cheated in the past to own up to any wrongdoing and have their confessions mitigate any subsequent penalties. "This would be dependent on the nature and extent of any infraction/s.

    "This case also provides an opportunity for the Australian Government to review the resources and powers...

  • Rogers: It was a mistake to work with Ferrari

    Michael Rogers (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 2:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Leipheimer claims Australian attended Tenerife training camps

    Amidst the fallout of USADA’s reasoned decision and sworn affidavits is the claim by Levi Leipheimer that Michael Rogers attended multiple altitude training camps in 2005 alongside fellow clients of Dr. Michele Ferrari. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Rogers’ relationship with Ferrari ended in mid 2006 under the instruction of his T-Mobile Team and has since had zero communication with the banned doctor.

    Rogers previously stated he worked with Ferrari from 2005 and severed ties shortly after recording his best result at the 2006 Tour de France where he finished in 9th overall. At the time Rogers said he worked with the Ferrari because "he is the best coach in the world," according to the Sydney Morning Herald. However, his team encouraged him to cease contact shortly after the completion of that year’s Tour.

    "He has made some mistakes, and I think he has learnt from them. But with me, he never mentioned anything of that [drugs]. It was just hard work and training," stated Rogers at the time according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

    "I have nothing to hide, I am glad you asked. It gets it out there. I have complete transparency," Rogers said.

    Rogers has since spoken to the media in regard to his relationship with Ferrari however there has been no response to Leipheimer’s claims regarding past training camps in which Andrey Kashechkin, Alexandre Vinkourov, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych and Eddy Mazzoleni reportedly attended.

    "When T-Mobile asked me to sever my ties with Dr Ferrari I obviously cut them," he told the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday. "I haven't got...

  • Pévenage "shocked" by details of USADA report

    Rudy Pevenage has distanced himself from Rock Racing
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 4:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Ullrich mentor doubts Bruyneel will remain in sport

    Jan Ullrich’s former director sportif Rudy Pévenage says he was "shocked" after reading the details in USADA’s reasoned decision report. Pévenage was considered to be Ullrich’s mentor during his career before both rider and team manager were fired from T-Mobile following after their involvement in Operación Puerto.

    Pévenage previously admitted his involvement in assisting Jan Ullrich’s visits to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in preparation for the German’s 2006 Tour bid however, his connection with the infamous doctor goes back to the days when Pévenage was racing.

    "The rivalry pushed us to give it everything to try and beat him," Pévenage told L'Equipe in 2010. "With all the money he earned, Jan could not afford to be beaten. He was stressed out by the pressure and even put on weight because of that. Stress poisoned his career."

    In light of USADA’s report Nieuwsblad reports Pévenage now compares his methods "petty compared to the gangsters surrounding Armstrong". In addition Pévenage believes the real change came about when Johan Bruyneel arrived.

    "It surprised me how far the team of Armstrong went. It was also strange that they could use EPO and continue working while we were all strictly controlled. Everything changed with the arrival of Bruyneel.

    "I had a really difficult time when Ullrich and I were pulled from the peloton," Pévenage added. "If you see that the others just continue, you ask sometimes...

  • Pollock: I'd love to win Warrnambool again

    Got it! Rhys Pollock (Drapac) celebrates as he crosses the finish line
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 5:25 BST
    Alex Malone

    Drapac rider looking to take a step back in 2013

    Having helped his teammate Lachlan Norris to win the recent Tour of Tasmania, Drapac Professional Cycling’s Rhys Pollock is eyeing what could be his second win at the historic Melbourne to Warrnambool this weekend. It’s a race he’s had a strong passion for since his first participation in 1999 and it would take until 2010 before he finally won the race in brutally-tough conditions that had the peloton battered by rain, sleet and wind gusts up to 60km/h.

    Pollock admits that he doesn’t enjoy the difficult weather conditions often encountered during Australia’s longest one-day race but that it doesn’t change his attitude in the race. He would rather race in the sun and without wind but he recognises that if conditions turn foul come, others will suffer more than himself.

    "I dislike it [bad weather] as much as anyone. I’d much rather race in the sunshine with no wind but I guess that sort of weather suits me. I don’t lose motivation if rains or gets windy or slow. I just keep going," Pollock told Cyclingnews.

    "That year [in 2010] was pretty slow that’s for sure. I was really starting to cramp at the end but I guess if it’s like that again then so be it. If we have a day like that hopefully I can replicate it again."

    Returning back to his home city of Melbourne and his full-time job as a draftsman, Pollock says it’s not just about being physically ready for a race like Melbourne to Warrnambool. The 262km distance is something most of the domestic riders are unfamiliar with and it’s just as important to be...