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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 25, 2012

Date published:
August 25, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • USADA bans Armstrong for life, disqualifies all results since 1998

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 17:02 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Tygart announces ban after retired rider declined to contest charges

    United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has handed down a lifetime ban to retired cyclist Lance Armstrong relating to doping practices from his time at the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team. On Thursday, Armstrong had declined to contest USADA’s charges, giving up his right to appear before an independent arbitration panel.

    This move has prompted USADA to issue a ban dating from August 1,1998.

    In addition to the lifetime ban, Armstrong will be disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 1998, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes. This sees him lose his seven Tour de France titles and a number of other high profile victories.

    “Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition” said USADA CEO, Travis T. Tygart.  

    “Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.”

    Armstrong's decision not to contest USADA’s charges were based on his belief that they failed to hold jurisdiction over him and his Tour de France wins. He launched a case in the US courts which was later dismissed, clearing the way for USADA, with WADA’s backing, to proceed.

    “As is every athlete’s right, if Mr. Armstrong would have contested the USADA charges, all of the evidence would have been presented in an open legal proceeding for him to challenge.  He chose not to do this knowing these...

  • Contador: I’m still a bit ring-rusty

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 19:50 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard waiting for more details on Armstrong case

    After an mixed first seven days of the Vuelta, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) says that he is still banking on the third week to show his top condition. The Spaniard performed well on Arrate and Ezcaray, attacking no less than seven times on the Basque climb, but lost out on the Fuerte del Rapitan on Thursday.

    “I’m looking at the third week to be at my strongest,” Contador said after stage seven. “I haven’t reached my best form yet. I’ve no idea if those cramps I had are a sign of worse times to come, I’ll just have to stay focused.”

    Contador said he had noticed that this had been an exceptionally tough first week of the race, “with really hot weather and average speeds of 44 or 45 kmh. And [Chris] Froome is a very tough rival, he was arguably the strongest in the Tour and he’s got a great team. He’s going to be difficult to beat.”

    Asked about the Lance Armstrong case and if he could understand why the American had suddenly thrown in the towel, Contador gave a cagey answer, saying, “I’m not really fully informed about what’s happened and I don’t know what the situation is like. I’ll have to wait a bit to be able to give an opinion.” Contador then changed the subject completely and thanked the Spanish public for supporting him during the race.

    As for his first week in general and how he’d rate his performance if it was an exam, Contador said, “I’d give myself a pass. I was very pleased with Ezcaray, and if I lost a bit of time yesterday it was maybe partly because of dehydration and partly because it was such a steep, explosive finish. I’m a bit a ring-rusty, so I can be pleased.”

    ...

  • Degenkolb wins third Vuelta a Espana stage

    John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 20:50 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    German's sprint record perfect so far in this year's Vuelta

    In less than a week at the Vuelta a Espana, cycling history has repeated itself on three occasions: Allan Davis (Orica-GreenEdge) on stage 2, Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) on stage 5, Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) on stage 7 - all three of them have hammered their handlebars in frustration at finishing second behind John Degenkolb (Argos Shimano) as the German's powerful last ditch acceleration helped him roar past and net yet another late, but convincing, victory.

    Degenkolb is not just hammering them in stage wins. The 23-year-old has built up a healthy lead in the points competition, with 76 points compared to closest purser Viviani, who has 47. Although all-rounder Bauke Mollema won the points competition in 2011, Mark Cavendish's final victory in that classification in 2010 and Andre Greipel's win in 2009 could give the German reasons for hoping he may take it all the way to Madrid.

    "Last year, it went to Mollema, and he's a bit different than me," Degenkolb said, "but I've got the green jersey on my shoulders and of course I will fight for it. I fight for everything."

    "It was a pretty hard stage finish -left, right, up, down - and everybody could see how difficult it was, we were all lined out. But Sky did a great job and a good leadout for Swifty [Ben Swift] and I had a few problems when they started to pull so hard."

    "But finally my guys had timed things well, put me in perfect position, and I was there all the way."

    "One victory was enough to make me happy. Everything else was a bonus. But getting so many and doing so well makes it much easier to suffer."

    As Degenkolb also pointed out, three wins in a week makes it clear that as a ProConti...

  • Escartin calls USADA sanction on Armstrong illogical

    Armstrong on his way to winning the prologue in the 1999 Tour de France
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 21:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spanish former pro content with his podium place

    Fernado Escartin, who finished third behind Lance Armstrong and Alex Zuelle in the 1999 Tour de France, has called USADA’s decision to ban Armstrong and strip him of his Tour titles "illogical".

    Escartin was one of the most successful climbers of his generation, competing at the highest level both before and after Armstrong’s first Tour win. In 1999, he raced for the Spanish Kelme squad and won a stage.

    Armstrong, who has always denied doping, announced on Thursday that would not contest USADA’s charges relating to doping offences during his time with the US Postal Service squad.

    "It's 13 years now since this all happened, it seems completely illogical and unreal. I don't want to even think about it. How far back in time do they want to go?,” Escartin told Reuters.

    "Once they have done all the doping tests then that's as far as it should go," the Spaniard said. "It makes no sense.

    "In Spain, after five years a legal case is dropped and for me, Lance Armstrong is as much a champion now as he was yesterday."
     

  • Anderson maintains support for Armstrong

    Phil Anderson
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Former Motorola teammate says UCI is in dangerous territory

    Phil Anderson is "disappointed" that former Motorola teammate Lance Armstrong will lose his seven Tour de France titles and wonders what ramifications the case will have for doping allegations in future.

    Anderson, speaking to Cyclingnews following Thursday's announcement by Armstrong that he won't fight USADA's charges, admits that he has not "had much to do with Lance post-cancer" but does not believe that the Texan is guilty of the allegations.

    "The skeptics will be happy that he's had to walk away from it," said Anderson. "I've always been in support of Lance and believed Lance and his story.

    "Call me gullible but I wouldn't have believed Floyd Landis's story - you could see that from his performances. Lance hasn't spiked or fallen off. He's never failed a test."

    Anderson rode with Armstrong on the Motorola team between 1992 and 1994 and says he never saw his teammate dope.

    "We were pretty close too," Anderson said. "We knocked around together, we were often roommates and I never suspected it nor would I ever believe that this would be an athlete that would. That was prior to cancer. You stare death in the face and you change. He came back and he was a few kilos lighter and he really had fire in his eyes to prove to himself and the world that not only could you beat cancer, but you can come back with vengeance and kick everybody's arse."

    The non-European to lead the Tour de France believes that Armstrong's success following cancer made him a target and says that even during his own career, impressive results drew immediate suspicion.

    Anderson has previously admitted publicly that he was ashamed of the sport following the Festina affair in 1998 and says now that the real concern is with cycling's governing body. USADA's evidence against Armstrong is said to have included an

  • Landis moves on after repayment plan agreed

    July 2002 and Lance Armstrong has won his 4th Tour de France. Then teammate Floyd Landis leads the party in Paris
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 22:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Must pay Fairness Fund donations back within three years

    Floyd Landis agreed to repay almost half a million dollars he fraudulently raised for the purpose of challenging doping charges related to his Tour de France race in 2006. Landis won the race but was later stripped of the title after testing positive for testosterone.

    If Landis fails to repay donations which he raised under the Floyd Fairness banner within a three-year period, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

    According to the AP, Landis admitted receiving $478,354 from 1,765 donors.

    "I can never undo what happened," he told reporters. "I can never undo having lied to people but if, in some small way, making restitution helps them to forgive me, then that's a small step in the right direction," Landis said.

    The Floyd Fairness fund was created in 2007. Landis and his associates set up meetings across the country and auctioned a signed jersey and other materials. Landis also wrote a book called Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France, in which he argued his innocence.

    According to AP, the 14-page agreement with prosecutors caps restitution at 50 percent of Landis' annual income, if he makes at least $200,000. Payments would be limited to five percent of his annual income if he makes less than $50,000.

    Upon leaving the hearing Landis said, “I'm looking forward to the future. It doesn't involve cycling.”

  • Frankie Andreu responds to Armstrong's ban

    Kenda/5-hour Energy directeur sportif Frankie Andreu
    Article published:
    August 25, 2012, 1:20 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Former teammate praises USADA's actions

    One of the early casualties of the Lance Armstrong doping saga was former teammate Frankie Andreu, a professional from 1989 to 2000 and a member of the US Postal Service team's roster during Armstrong's first two Tour de France victories in 1999 and 2000.

    Andreu, currently at Colorado's USA Pro Challenge as an analyst, spoke to Cyclingnews in Breckenridge prior to stage 5, the morning after Armstrong announced he wouldn't contest the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charges, thus accepting a lifetime ban as well as forfeiture of his seven Tour de France titles.

    "Lance fights everything so I was very surprised that he chose to not fight the charges," Andreu told Cyclingnews. "At the same time I'm really surprised that USADA has enough information to strip him pretty much of all his results. I never imagined that it would come to that."

    In 1996, Betsy and Frankie Andreu were present in a hospital conference room where Armstrong, having just had treatment for cancer, is alleged to have admitted to his doctors to taking banned doping products. Ten years later in 2006, the pair were called to testify under oath at a civil suit between Armstrong and SCA Promotions, an underwriter who was refusing to pay a $5 million bonus for his sixth Tour victory because of allegations Armstrong had used banned substances in order to win.

    The Andreus testified at the hearing that they heard Armstrong admit to taking a list of substances: growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone to his doctors. In the same case, Armstrong's primary doctor submitted an affidavit that he had never seen any evidence that Armstrong admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs, and...

  • Jens Voigt hoping Lance Armstrong case comes to an end

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    August 25, 2012, 1:55 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    "There is no shortcut" in cycling, says German

    Jens Voigt, the veteran RadioShack-Nissan rider and winner of stage 4 this week at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, said Friday that he hopes the ongoing battle between Lance Armstrong and USADA is finally over so that cycling can move forward and look to the future.

    "I just hope that it's finally going to actually come to an end," Voigt said before the stage 5 start in Breckenridge. "I mean we're probably not going to solve everything with the trial of it, but I just hope it comes to an end so we can actually – not start fresh – but, OK, now we draw a line where that is the past and we just let it rest in peace now.

    "Some of it is like eight years, 10 years, or whatever how many years back, so we will go, OK, we will close that now and just start looking forward and try to make our sport, good clean, proper in the future," he said.

    The soon-to-be-41-year-old also said he hopes to serve as an example for the next generation of riders coming into the professional ranks.

    "Well, I hope that I'm allowed to say or be an example, where I can say, 'Look guys, I was in cycling during the hard times, and I'm still here, still alive and able to do my job," the popular German said. "The body is still doing it. [I want] to show the kids, look, there is no shortcut."

    Voigt, who has become famous for his sense of humor and for telling his body to "shut up legs" when they are screaming at him to quit, also said there is more to a cyclist's job than simply going first in races, adding that winning over fans with a reputation for hard work and integrity holds its own value.

    "This is a sport where you need a lot of...