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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 24, 2012

Date published:
December 24, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • 2012 Reader Poll: USADA vs Lance Armstrong

    July 2002 and Lance Armstrong has won his 4th Tour de France. Then teammate Floyd Landis leads the party in Paris
    Article published:
    December 23, 2012, 10:14 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Biggest moment of the year overshadows racing

    No other story dominated cycling in 2012 like USADA’s case against Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team.

    Take the most polarising figure the sport has ever seen and unravel his Tour de France domination and character over two years, two high profile investigations and a Reasoned Decision that left the one-time untouchable with no Tour wins, no sponsors, no cancer foundation and no platform. No sport has ever witnessed such a fall from grace.

    In truth, the story about Armstrong’s credibility has shadowed his career since 1999, but it gathered pace after his comeback in 2009 and once again when Floyd Landis penned his confessions in 2010. ‘We like our word, we like our credibility’ became a mantra for the Armstrong camp but by the end of 2012 it counted for nought.

    When the federal case was dropped during the spring of 2012 USADA tightened their resolve, telling Cyclingnews that the truth would become public either via their own procedures or through a public press conference. Armstrong called it a witch hunt.

    Although Armstrong took centre stage, a number of cameos had parts to play and lines to deliver. Over in Switzerland, it was as if the UCI sat around and determined policy through Pat McQuaid’s Magic 8 ball as they blundered their way through the season. Signs point to yes; outlook not so good; reply hazy, try again.

    The Garmin team found themselves on the back foot when the Dutch media correctly reported that a number of US riders had cut deals with USADA, as Hein Verbruggen, the Andreus, Paul Kimmage, and Dr Michele Ferrari all rotated through the media spotlight. Even Phil Liggett was wheeled out to give a revisionist slant on facts.


  • Garzelli signs with Vini Fantini-Selle Italia for one year

    Stefano Garzelli in pink
    Article published:
    December 23, 2012, 11:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian looks to Giro d'Italia again

    Stefano Garzelli will ride for Vini Fantani-Selle Italia for one year, and is aiming for the Giro d'Italia. The Italian had been with Acqua & Sapone for six years, but the team is stopping at the end of this year.

    "My dream is, once again, the Giro d'Italia, the race around which I linked my career,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “But we must not forget that we have to be invited the Giro.” His season will not end in May, though. “It will be a full season.”

    Garzelli thinks that he can continue to be competitive at the age of 39. "I still I have the determination and willingness to make sacrifices. In addition I want to prove myself after a difficult season for many reasons. I think I can do well." He was greatly disappointed when his team was not given a wild-card to this year's Giro d'Italia, which is said to have led to the team's demise.

    He won the Giro in 2000, and was second in 2002, and can look back to ten stage wins and two mountain jerseys, in 2009 and 2011. “We have to be realistic in our ambitions. A stage win for me would be a great success for Fantini. Then maybe a mountain jersey again.”

    Nor is the Giro his only ambition this year. “I'd be excited to try Liege, but it will not be easy to get the invitation. Maybe Amstel.” Garzelli finished second behind Paolo Bettini in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2002.

    He has been in the pro peloton for 17 years now, having started with Mercatone Uno in 1998. “It's totally different, everything has changed. Now cycling is much more media, more business, more marketing,” Garzelli said. “I don't  know if it's better or worse but I preferred biking before, more European.”

    Vini Fantani is the new name of the former...

  • Boogerd doesn't want to be a scapegoat in Rabobank's doping

    Dutchman Michael Boogerd in 2007
    Article published:
    December 23, 2012, 13:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Anonymous rider describes how team doping started

    Michael Boogerd says he doesn't want to be "the scapegoat" in a Rabobank doping story, and an anonymous former rider has said that team-wide doping started in 1999. A Dutch media report also claims that Michael Rasmussen is named in Levi Leipheimer's affidavit to USADA as having used EPO.

    Interviewed on NOS tv Saturday evening, Boogerd said that before he says too much about doping, he first wants to see what his teammates say. “Because if I'm the only one saying what I know, I will soon be the scapegoat.”

    In an extensive investigative report, the Dutch newspaper NRC claimed to have proof that Boogerd, Thomas Dekker, Denis Menchov and Michael Rasmussen all traveled to Austria for blood doping whilst riding for Rabobank. Boogerd has admitted to meeting in Vienna with Stefan Matschiner, the man behind the Humanplasma blood-doping scheme, but says it was only “for vitamins”.

    A former Rabobank rider, who chose to remain anonymous, told NOS that there was indeed a doping programme at the team, starting after the 1999 Tour de France. That had been a disastrous race for the Dutch team, with Boogerd the team's top finisher at 56th overall, and with only one stage win as Robbie McEwen took the final stage.

    "Just go ahead and assume that ninety percent of the peloton used EPO,” the anonymous rider said. "We as a team got together and said: Guys, we are suddenly being passed by riders who in the past belonged to the middle of the pack. There is something going on."

    That something was thought to be doping, and the question was how to respond. "We said we can go two ways, either we stop or we also use doping. And that's when it was done."

    The doping programme was not run by team doctor Geert Leinders, Boogerd insisted, despite Leipheimer's claim the  team doctor  sold him...

  • Ben King hopes for incident free 2013 at RadioShack

    2010 pro champion Ben King (RadioShack) reacts to his teammate Matthew Busche on the top step of the podium.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2012, 20:14 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    US rider talks USADA, anti-doping and the new generation

    After an eventful year for him and his team, Ben King (RadioShack) is looking forward to calmer, more successful season in 2013. The former US road champion was hit by a car in June, and crashed a total of six times in an injury prone year but despite the upsets and the USADA investigation that affected his team, King believes that the team and the sport has turned a page.

    “This season I trended with the rest of the team and had a lot of bad luck. I was hit by a car, I was sick but I was still able to do my job for the team in the races where it counted and when the team was counting on me,” King told Cyclingnews.

    “One highlight was the Tour of Austria where we won the team GC, the overall, we won stages and had the best Austrian. We cleaned up there and as a domestique I had a lot of work to do but I pulled through.”

    “I’m looking forward to improving a little bit more in 2013 and without any bad luck it could be a much better season for me. It’s going to be a big year so I’m putting a little bit more pressure on myself.”

    One race King has his eye on is the Giro d’Italia. The American is yet to compete in a Grand Tour and with the Vuelta a Espana not until the tail-end of the year, he’s hoping for a shot at Italy’s major stage race. A ride in the Giro d'Italia as opposed to the Vuelta would allow King to structure his season well in advance without the pressure of any last-minute roster reshuffles that can often play out before the Vuelta.

    “I’m hoping to get one of the Grand Tours in my legs. I think that’s the next step in my progression. I’d prefer to do the Giro but really it’s up to the team.”

    King has remained relatively quiet on the issues that shadowed RadioShack this...

  • The Sunday Times announces it's suing Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team
    Article published:
    December 23, 2012, 22:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Newspaper once sued for libel says American's claims were "deliberately false"

    The Sunday Times, for which David Walsh wrote numerous articles questioning the validity of Lance Armstrong's performances, is suing the American for up to 1.2 million euros having made a libel payment in 2006.

    The British newspaper paid Armstrong £30,0000 (368,000 euros) in 2004 after elements of the allegations raised in Walsh's co-authored book 'L.A. Confidentiel' were printed in an article printed on June 13, 2004 and written by Alan English. The suit was settled out of court in 2006 after London's High Court ruled that the article "meant accusation of guilt and not simply reasonable grounds to suspect." The judge said that the article strongly implied that Armstrong had taken performance enhancing drugs, and that The Sunday Times would have had to defend that position if the case went to trial. 

    Armstrong was formally stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, along with all results going back to 1998 as well as receiving a lifetime ban earlier this year following the Unites States Anti-Doping Agency investigation into the American and his associates.

    The Sunday Times is now making a claim for the original legal costs paid to Armstrong, along with interest and its own legal costs. In a letter to Armstrong's lawyers printed in Sunday's edition of the paper, it says:

    "It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance-enhancing drugs were deliberately false."

    Armstrong chose not to fight the USADA case instead, issuing a statement saying "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.'.


  • Cycling Australia in "no rush" to replace Matt White

    Matt White and Cadel Evans talk after a training ride in Surrey, England
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 1:03 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Professional men's road coordinator position vacant for now

    Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta has told Cyclingnews that the organisation will wait until early next year to fill the position vacated by Matt White after the professional men's road coordinator was sacked for his involvement in what USADA described as "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen".

    Speaking in Melbourne last week, Tabotta explained that investigations by the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority were the priority for Cycling Australia.

    "At the moment I've asked our CEO Graham Fredericks and our President Klaus Mueller that we just sit on it for a little while, there's no rush," Tabotta told Cyclingnews. "The worlds aren't until September next year. I would much prefer to allow us to get through these challenges that we have right now."

    White took up the position with Cycling Australia in January 2011, replacing Neil Stephens who had been in the role for the previous 12 years and had resigned to concentrate on his role in developing the GreenEdge project. That appointment almost immediately came under review after White was dismissed by Garmin-Cervélo at the Tour Down Under for breaches of the team's medical referral policy having sent Trent Lowe to the former US Postal team physician Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral at the Sports Institute of Valencia in April 2009. Cycling Australia reconfirmed White's appointment saying that White's referral was "nothing more" than "an error of judgement". Later in 2011, White...

  • Henderson leads BikeNZ team at Jayco Herald Sun Tour

    Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) delivered Greipel to the line perfectly
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 3:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Warm-up race ahead of lead-outs for Greipel at Tour Down Under

    Lotto Belisol’s Greg Henderson will lead a youthful New Zealand National Team at the upcoming Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Henderson will be using the four-day race to gauge his form before returning to his homeland for the New Zealand National Championships where he will look to secure another road title. "Hendy" will then fly back to the scorching hot conditions of Adelaide city for the Santos Tour Down Under.

    Henderson has been a critical element for Lotto Belisol in 2012, sacrificing his own chances to form part of the powerful lead-out train for the team’s star sprinter André Greipel. The big German Greipel won three stages at this year’s Tour de France with Henderson one of the key ingredients to such a successful grand tour.

    "Melbourne is my second home town and when I race around here I get as many "Hendys" called out as anywhere else in the world. I have a fairly big fan base here now so I feel like it is home and I enjoy racing in Melbourne," said Henderson.

    "Of course the Herald Sun Tour has such a huge prestige. It has been going for so many years. It has been on and off of late, and it is a bit shorter which is unfortunate, but it is a very historic race.

    "I will get some good legs out of it. I won't be firing on all eight cylinders but it will put me in good stead with a week after that the nationals and then I will be in good nick to lead out the big German in the Tour Down Under which is the first big goal of the season.

    "It's awesome that BikeNZ and the organisers have made it happen. It will be fun catching up. I don't get to race a lot...

  • Vacansoleil clears Bole of doping allegations

    Grega Bole (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 8:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Slovenian's name mentioned in Bertagnolli's affidavit in USADA case

    Vacansoleil-DCM says that its internal investigation has cleared Grega Bole of any involvement in doping and that the Slovenian will be with the team as of January 1. Bole's name had arisen in the USADA's case against Lance Armstrong.

    Bole, who was with Lampre from 2010 to 2012, was mentioned in a conversation between Leonardo Bertagnolli and Dr Ferrari, which is part of Bertagnolli's sworn statement to Italian police. According to a transcript, the two talked about Aicar, a product that works on muscular tissue and encourages the burning of fats. Bertagnolli said that it came from a Slovenian supplier and  the names of several Slovenians were mentioned, including Bole's.

    "Bole, in front of our doctor, our lawyer, his manager and me underpinned his innocence by answering a few questions," team manger Daan Luijkx said in a statement released Monday morning. "He thereby denied having engaged in doping."

    One important factor in the team's decision was “an analysis by an independent clinical chemist  of the profiles in Bole's biological passport” which revealed “nothing inappropriate.”

    Another was a written statement from Bertagnolli, in which he “made ​​it clear that he is not aware of any involvement of Bole in use or distribution of drugs,” according to the team statement.  However, Luijkx said, "We have agreed that dismissal will follow if either Bole or Bertagnolli lied."