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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, October 3, 2009

Date published:
October 03, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Dekker vows to return after suspension

    Dutchman Thomas Dekker positive for EPO
    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 11:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank denies knowledge about his doping, explains internal program

    Thomas Dekker, who has been fired by his Silence-Lotto team this week after the counter-analysis of his December 2007 doping control also came back positive, intends to sit out his punishment and then return to racing. “I know that my reputation is gone. I am the only one who can clear my name, through my future performance on the bike.”

    Rabobank, for whom he rode at the time of the positive test, denied knowledge of his doping and said that this was not the reason he was released in 2008.

    In an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Dekker said that it was the only time that he used the product. “It was the period when I was being continually thrown back by my hip injury. But I don't look for excuses. I was wrong.”

    He continued, “I will accept the punishment and then start again. I'm still young. Too young to end my cycling career.”

    The 25-year-old continued to deny that his blood values as reflected in the biological passport programme were questionable. “That is the biggest nonsense,” he said.

    Dekker was under contract to Rabobank at the time of the positive doping control in 2007. The team and the rider separated last summer.

    Team director Harold Knebel told the Dutch television broadcaster NOS that doping had played no role in the team's decision to terminate his contract. “The reason is that we both lost confidence in each other.” The team became aware of his doping only after the news was announced this summer, he said.

    Knebel also elaborated on Rabobank's internal testing program this year. The riders underwent 12 to 14 out-of-competition controls from the team. “We have made the riders aware of the fact that dismissal immediately follows doping, and make it very clear that doping is not the way to a good career.”

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  • 'True Champion or Cheat?'

    UCI President Pat McQuaid in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 11:25 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI launches new anti-doping learning programme

    During the its annual Congress on September 25, in Lugano, Switzerland, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced a new anti-doping education initiative called 'True Champion or Cheat?'.

    Designed for riders of all levels as well as their support personnel, the programme is an interactive learning experience comprising a series of eight 10-15 minute video stories, which require participants to interact and undertake quizzes and exercises in order to successfully complete each module.

    The primary aim of the programme is to ensure that riders fully understand their rights and responsibilities under the UCI Anti-Doping Rules and the World Anti-Doping Code, so that it will no longer be possible for them to claim ignorance of the rules in case of a positive test.

    Completion of 'True Champion or Cheat?' is compulsory for all riders included in the UCI Registered Testing Pool (RTP). The programme, which can be accessed directly from, is currently available in five languages.

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  • Bernaudeau: Fédrigo "badly advised"

    Jean-René Bernaudeau Photo: © Régis Garnier
    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 12:37 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Bouygues manager unwilling to let rider go

    Bouygues Telecom team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has once again insisted that there is little chance of Pierrick Fédrigo leaving the French squad despite its loss of its ProTour licence earlier this week. In an interview with L'Equipe, 2009 Tour de France stage-winner Fédrigo had voiced his desire to leave the team he's been with since 2005 despite having a year left on his contract. He indicated that Bouygues's loss of its ProTour licence enabled him to consider other offers, but Bernaudeau has denied this is the case and maintains Fédrigo has been "badly advised".

    Speaking to the Ouest France newspaper, Bernaudeau explained: "I have been advised by the UCI and by my lawyer, who is categoric on this, that contracts are not linked to existence of ProTour licences but to the teams themselves. Pierrick must therefore honour the last year of his contract, and that's all there is to it. We've discussed it together and been very clear about it. In just the same way, I can't dismiss all our riders who have a year left on their contracts under the pretext that we aren't in the ProTour any longer... This isn't football. Pierrick can't leave without my agreement. And up to today no team has talked to me about buying him out of his contract or even wanted to discuss that."

    Caisse d'Epargne are reported to be very interested in signing the 30-year-old Frenchman, and Saxo Bank are also said to be keen on him. But Fédrigo admits he's had no firm offers. Contacted by Ouest France, Fédrigo commented: "I don't want to start an argument and talk about all this as I'm on holiday. I've already had my knuckles rapped after what was said before."

    Bernaudeau said that during a conversation with his rider, Fédrigo had denied telling L'Equipe he wanted to leave the team. "Once again I will say that he is under contract and that contract is not linked to membership of the ProTour,...

  • Merckx mourns loss of former team-mate

    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 13:40 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Belgian says he tried to help depressed Van Schil

    Eddy Merckx has said that the death of former team-mate Vic Van Schil is liking losing "a family member". The Belgian cycling great admitted to being shocked at the news that Van Schil had committed suicide on Tuesday. According to reports in the Belgian press, Van Schil was found dead in the garage by his wife at their home in Nijlen, near Antwerp.

    Contacted by La Dernière Heure, Merckx said, "I feel terrible. It's as if I had lost a member of my family. We all knew that Vic wasn't well. We tried, in vain, to help him, to lift up out of that infernal spiral in which we'd seen him falling little by little. I am trying to understand all this, but I can't."

    According to La Dernière Heure, Van Schil had become increasingly depressed in recent years as a result of serious problems with his son.

    Van Schil joined Merckx at Flandria in 1968 and spent nine seasons with the great Belgian champion, establishing himself as one of Merckx's most loyal lieutenants.

  • Chicago eliminated first among 2016 Olympic bidders

    US President Barrack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark, in support of the Chicago Olympic Bid for 2016.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 17:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Madrid, Rio de Janeiro vie for final selection after Tokyo out in round two

    Chicago was voted out of the race to host the 2016 summer Olympic Games in the first round on Friday in Copenhagen. United States President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had travelled to Denmark in support of the American city's bid, but their presence wasn't enough to help the nation's third largest city win the bid.

    "Like so many young people, I was inspired by the Olympics," the first lady had said prior to beginning of voting according to the Associated Press. "I found myself dreaming that maybe, just maybe, if I worked hard enough, I, too, could achieve something great. But I never dreamed the Olympic flame might light up lives in my neighborhood."

    For 2016, that dream won't come true. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announced the decision to eliminate Chicago after initial round of voting even though many had considered Chicago one of the favorites to win the bid.

    Cycling, including road, track, mountain bike and BMX, are contested as part of the summer Olympic Games.

    If Chicago had won, two Wisconsin cities, Madison and Mt. Horeb, would likely have hosted the road cycling and mountain biking venues.  The original bid, since revised, had proposed the city of Chicago, in the state of Illinois, as the host of the Olympic road race.

    Chicago was the first candidate city to make its final presentation. According to the AP, some of its speakers appeared "nervous" and parts of the presentation were "stilted". The presentation included videos and snapshots of famous people and the city's waterfront as well as letters from schoolchildren supporting the bid.

    Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo advanced to the next voting rounds, but Tokyo was voted out in round two.

    The next summer Olympic Games, in 2012, will be hosted by London, England.

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  • Rio de Janeiro wins bid for hosting 2016 Olympic Games

    President of the Brazilian Central Bank, Henrique Meirelles presents Rio's bid for the 2016 Olympics
    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 17:47 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo voted out

    The city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 2016 Olympic Games on Friday in Copenhagen, Denmark. It beat out Madrid, Spain, in the final round of voting that followed initial voting and a morning of presentations by the candidate cities.

    "Like in every competition, there can only be one winner," said IOC President Jacques Rogge before opening the envelope and announcing the final selection.

    Rio will be the first South American city to host the Olympic Games.  The city had previously bid, unsuccessfully, to host the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games.

    Chicago, in the United States, was the first city eliminated in the voting process. Next out was Tokyo, Japan, the only city among finalists that had previously hosted the Olympic Games.

    The 2016 summer Olympic Games will feature cycling competitions in the following disciplines:  road, mountain, track and BMX.

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  • Armstrong looks to a strong Tour de France team

    Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador ride towards Verbier. The Swiss mountain proved to be the first true battleground of the Tour, with Contador coming out on top
    Article published:
    October 02, 2009, 20:07 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Klöden's transfer to RadioShack confirmed

    Lance Armstrong knows that it will be difficult to win the Tour de France 2010 when he goes "man to man" against Alberto Contador, but he also knows that he will have a strong team supporting him. For the first time, he indicated that German Andreas Klöden will be joining him next season at the newly formed Team RadioShack.

    In an interview with the French magazine Vélo, Armstrong said "man to man, against Alberto it will be very hard to win". To accomplish that, the team "will go with more leaders - me, Levi (Leipheimer), (Andreas) Klöden, (Haimar) Zubeldia, strong riders who can lead a team."

    The other three riders are all teammates of Armstrong this year at Team Astana. Leipheimer and Zubeldia had previously indicated that they would join Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at RadioShack, but this was the first notice of Klöden's future plans.

    Armstrong got in a dig at Contador and his racing knowledge, or lack thereof. He cited the Tour's third stage to La Grand-Motte, when the wind and Team Columbia-HTC split the peloton with 32 km to go.

    Armstrong was in the lead group of 27, and Contador was not. The American had teammates Yaroslav Popovych and Zubeldia with him, and upon his instructions, those two helped the group get away and stay away. Contador ended up finishing 41 seconds down. Armstrong leapfrogged over him to third place overall.

    That episode, Armstrong said, "distinguished those who can race, those who feel the race. That's the way to ride the Tour." That evening, he added, "Alberto was angry. Not for what I did, but for what he did."

    Klöden, 34, joined Astana in 2007 after riding for Telekom/T-Mobile from 1998 to 2006. He finished second overall in the Tour de France in 2004 and 2006. Klöden also won bronze in the Olympic road race in Sydney in 2000.

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  • Lastras extends for another year with Caisse d'Epargne

    Pablo Lastras Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne) is introduced.
    Article published:
    October 03, 2009, 14:29 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Spanish veteran to race thirteenth season with Unzue's squad in 2010

    Spanish veteran Pablo Lastras has signed a one-year contract extension with Caisse d'Epargne and will race his thirteenth season with the team in 2010.

    "I told [Caisse d'Epargne manager] Eusebio Unzue that my priority was continue in the team because I feel comfortable and valued here," said Lastras on Saturday.

    The 33-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the Spanish squad after joining the team, then known as Banesto, in 1998. He has won stages in each of the three Grand Tours, including two victories at the 2002 Vuelta a España.

    Although yet to claim a victory in 2009, he said will target a good result in the final races of his season. "I hope to do well in Paris-Tours, which is the race in the next few weeks that suits me best," said Lastras. "Then I will focus upon helping Joaquím Rodríguez to win in Giro di Lombardia."

    Lastras will race next week's Paris-Bourges before being joined in the Caisse d'Epargne team for Paris-Tours by Rodríguez, Mathieu Drujon, Imanol Erviti, Vicente García Acosta, Vasil Kiryienka, Rigoberto Uran and Xabier Zandio.

    In addition to Paris-Bourges (October 7), Paris-Tours (October 10) and Giro di Lombardia (October 16), Lastras is expected to race at Giro del Piemonte (October 14) and will close his season the Japan Cup on October 25.

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