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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, December 19, 2010

Date published:
December 19, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • US Postal backers could be under investigation

    Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team
    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 13:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    WSJ says FDA are to question whether investors knew about alleged doping practices

    US Federal investigators looking into allegations of doping on the former US Postal Service team are said to be looking into whether the owners of Tailwind Sports, which owned the team, were aware of any doping.

    The Wall Street Journal looked at the background of Tailwind and its participants. The moving force was Thomas Weisel, a former amateur cycling champion and investment banker. He set up Montgomery Sports in 1989, which put together the original USPS team in 1995. In 1999, he set up Tailwind with five other investors for about 2.5 million dollars.

    The company never made a profit, however, losing between $200,000 and a million dollars a year, the WSJ said.

    The doping allegations started almost immediately. At the 1999 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong tested positive for a corticosteroid, which he claimed was from a cream used for a saddle sore. The next year, French tv reporters found suspicious items in trash dumped by the team. The UCI cleared Armstrong and neither case resulted in any action.

    However, it was enough to make sponsor US Postal Service nervous. Gail Sonnenberg, who was then senior vice president of sales, said that some USPS board members wanted to drop their sponsorship, but that Tailwind managers assured them there was no doping on the team, and that the French media was out to get Armstrong.

    Weisel's attorney said his client would not respond to the WSJ story saying the questions they asked contained “statements or assertions” that are “factually inaccurate.”


    The Tailwind owners were equally involved in squelching criticism from outside sources. When Greg Lemond publicly criticised Armstrong's involvement with trainer Dr. Michele Ferrari, he soon heard from Weisel. Lemond said he found Weisel's comments to be a threat. Days later, another Tailwind partner, Terry Lee, asked him to stop criticising...

  • Spanish federation president says Contador decision not likely until mid-January

    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 17:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Expects ruling to be appealed to CAS

    The president of the Spanish cycling federation does not expect a ruling in the Alberto Contador doping case until mid-January, and even that won't be the final decision, as Juan Carlos Castaño said it would probably be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    Interviewed by, Castaño rejected the suggestion by UCI president Pat McQuaid that the case would be resolved quickly. “If the case is so clear, why didn't the UCI solve it in the two months it had the case? To reach a conclusion, the procedures must be observed. I do not expect a resolution until mid-January.”

    No matter how the federation rules, the decision will probably be appealed. “My opinion is that the case will end in the CAS, because it won't end happily for all parties. The case is not easy and requires a thorough study,” he said.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol on the second rest day of the Tour de France. The UCI withheld the news of the positive control, and Contador's personal press officer revealed it only on September 30. The Tour winner claims that he was the victim of eating contaminated meat.

    Operations Greyhound and Puerto

    The recent, Operation Greyhound, a doping investigation which once again involves Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, does not appear to involve cyclists. Castaño sees a relationship between the two investigations, though.

    “This shows that Operacion Puerto was left incomplete. First, because since 2006 we are still awaiting authorization to open test records. In addition, it gives the feeling that it was halfway. It was always said that there were other athletes, not just cyclists.

  • Quick Step unveils new 2011 team jersey

    The Quick Step riders out on a ride in Spain
    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 18:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian team train in Calpe, Lefevere dismisses Pellizotti link

    Quick Step have unveiled their new jersey for the 2011season at their training camp in Calpe, Spain. The new jersey has relatively minor changes with red panels added to the sleeves and chest.

    Team leader, Tom Boonen, who is hoping to put a disappointing season behind him ahead of 2011 said: "It's a very nice outfit, it's technical and modern - Boonen said - Our race outfit, besides, perfectly matches the color of our Eddy Merckx Cycles bike. Everyone in the team is completely satisfied with it."

    The team’s biggest changes have come in the transfer market with Marc de Maar, Francesco Chicchi, Niki Terpstra, Gerald Ciolek, all coming in.

    Zdenek Stybar and Gert Steegmans have both been linked with the team but have yet to sign. However one rider the team will not be signing is Franco Pellizotti. The Liquigas leader was suspended from racing for most of the year after the UCI found irregular readings in his biological passport data.

    Now cleared and on the market for a new team after Liqugias agreed to release him, but with a possible CAS case with UCI still a possibility, there had been speculation of the Belgian team coming in for him.

    However Patrick Lefevere was quick to quash any such move. “I wish him good luck but he’s been linked to the wrong team. That kind of signing isn’t worth a hair on my head. I’ve never thought about that or spoken to anyone about it. I don’t know where he’s off to and I’ve got enough to think about with my team,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “Only if Andy Schleck or Fabian Canellara call me, then maybe we can find room.”

  • Cancellara receives silver medal from Beijing Olympic road race

    Fabian Cancellara, right, received today the silver medal originally awarded to Davide Rebellin, left, who was disqualified for doping.
    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 21:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swiss honoured in ceremony in hometown

    Fabian Cancellara today received the silver medal from the 2008 Olympic Games men's road race in a ceremony held in his hometown of Ittigen, Switzerland.

    More than 28 months ago Cancellara crossed the finish line third in the 245km road race behind race winner Samuel Sanchez and runner-up Davide Rebellin, but Rebellin was later disqualified for doping.

    Tests results released in April, 2009 revealed Rebellin, along with Gerolsteiner teammate Stefan Schumacher, doped with blood booster EPO-CERA at the Olympics. Both were subsequently disqualified.

    Switzerland's Olympic president Jürg Schild presented Cancellara with the same silver medal originally awarded to Rebellin, which the Italian was forced to return.

    Cancellara's bronze medal worn on the podium in Beijing will be presented to the new third place finisher, Russia's Alexandr Kolobnev, who had crossed the line in fourth.

    The silver medal wasn't the only honour the 29-year-old Cancellara received today at the Ittigen House of Sport as a pedestrian bridge connecting the train station to the House of Sport was re-named the Fabian Cancellara Bridge.

  • Copenhagen Worlds time trial course approved

    The early breakaway under blue Danish skies
    Article published:
    December 18, 2010, 23:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    City Council okays final route through city

    The 2011 world championship time trial can be held through the city of Copenhagen as planned. The city council approved the course on Friday.

    Several politicians had tried to block the time trials, which are to take place on a course through the city centre, starting and ending at the city hall square. The politicians had claimed that the income from the races was not worth the traffic closure and effectively shutting down all traffic in the city for three days.

    However, according to the website, the city council rejected this argument and approved the course. The men's road race is also scheduled to start at city hall.

    Worlds organiser Jesper Worre of the Danish Cycling Union said earlier that he hoped the course would be approved,and it not, it would be moved to another location outside of the city.

    The 2011 world championships are scheduled to be held September 19 to 25 in the capital.


  • AG2R and FDJ complete first training camps of 2011 campaign

    The AG2R team prepares to defend the race lead.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Sunshine in Salou for AG2R, snow and cyclo-cross for FDJ

    AG2R-La Mondiale completed its first training camp of the 2011 campaign on Friday. France’s sole ProTeam licence holder got in ten days of warm weather miles in Salou, Spain.

    “The weather conditions were better than in France,” AG2R directeur sportif Julien Jurdie told L’Équipe. “We were able to do all the training that we had planned.”

    26 of the team’s 27 riders took a full part in the camp, which included a full series of physical tests and three rides of five hours or more. The only absentee was John Gadret, who did not take part due to his cyclo-cross commitments, although the Frenchman did come to Salou for the team’s official photographs.

    The camp also saw the team’s new signings meet their teammates for the first time and Jurdie was pleased with AG2R’s first outing. “There were no health problems,” he said. “It was a big success.”

    FDJ in the ice and snow

    While AG2R rode under the Catalan sun, their fellow French squad FDJ trained in the cold of northern France. As per tradition, FDJ’s first training camp took place at Moussy-le-Vieux, home of the team sponsor, and saw the riders divide their time between cyclo-cross and the road.

    In the mornings, the FDJ riders took in cyclo-cross rides in the park of the Château de Moussy, before spending their afternoons on the road. The wintry conditions curtailed their training, however, and Olivier Bonnaire and Nacer Bouhanni were among the riders to fall on icy roads, albeit without serious injury.

    “It was cold but at Het Nieuwsblad it will be 5°C too,” manager Marc Madiot told L’Équipe.

    There were two absentees from FDJ’s 27-man line-up at the camp. Wesley Sulzberger is at home in Australia, while veteran Frédéric Guesdon was at the French national sports centre INSEP,...

  • Rasmussen looking to Paris-Roubaix, Tour de France

    Denmark's Alex Rasmussen looks pretty pleased with the evening's progress
    Article published:
    December 19, 2010, 11:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Chance of being in Cavendish' sprint train

    Alex Rasmussen can look to the possibility of being part of  Mark Cavendish's sprint train at the Tour de France next summer, in his first year with HTC-Highroad.  The Dane will also ride Paris-Roubaix for the first time.

    Rasmussen, 26,  will focus on the road next season after splitting his efforts between the road and the track while with Team Saxo Bank.  He has just recently returned from the HTC training camp in California.

    Rasmussen's first race of the new season will be the Tour of Oman and he will then turn his attentions to the Spring semi-classics and classics, with a particular emphasis on the cobbles.

    "I get to ride Paris-Roubaix and I am very pleased. I've never ridden it before, so this time it will be enough just to finish it.   It is something of a transition, having to ride ride so many kilometres on cobblestones,” he told

    Team manager Rolf Aldag also indicated that Rasmussen may be part of Cavendish lead-up in the Tour de France.  Rasmussen would like to make his Tour debut with the Briton.

    "He is quiet and calm and talks to everyone. There are no star whims. He is the type that is 100 percent focused on winning when he sits on the bike. And so nobody can talk to him. But when he's not on the bike, he is quite relaxed. "

  • Landis reported to have worn wire in meeting with Michael Ball

    Floyd Landis at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference in Australia
    Article published:
    December 19, 2010, 13:59 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Footage led to search warrant for former Rock Racing owner's apartment

    Floyd Landis is reported to have collected evidence which was used by FDA special agent Jeff Novitzky to obtain a search warrant for former Rock Racing owner Michael Ball’s apartment. The New York Daily News reports that Landis wore a hidden wire and camera on behalf of federal agents at a meeting with Ball in the spring.

    A source told the newspaper that Landis filmed images of what appeared to be doping products, including human growth hormone, in the refrigerator of Ball’s apartment in Marina Del Rey, California. "The quantity and the quality of the video surveillance was pivotal in the decision to serve a search warrant and essentially raid Ball's apartment to seize the drugs," the New York Daily News’ source explained.

    Ball has not been publicly charged with any offence. His Rock Racing team disbanded ahead of the 2010 season when it failed to receive a licence, while his Rock and Republic clothing company filed for bankruptcy in April. Landis had been set to ride for Rock Racing in 2010.

    Jeff Novitzky is currently leading an investigation into doping in American cycling, which is believed to be centred on the US Postal Service team. In May of this year, Landis outlined a series of alleged doping practices that took place during his time at the team.