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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, November 20, 2011

Date published:
November 20, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Larocque opens doors for women in cycling

    A trifecta for Spidertech as Tuft crosses the line to take his first ever road national championship.
    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 13:00 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    First woman to take UCI's DS course

    In a male dominated profession Josée Larocque made headlines in November when she became the first female to take the UCI’s director sportif course, but the Spidertech pioneer has asked for no special treatment from the sport.

    The UCI had confirmed that 50 sports director have taken the first step in their annual course at their World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. Although the final phase of the course, and the results will not be public for another two months Larocque is aware that her breakthrough can open more doors for females within the sport.

    “It was interesting to know that I was the first woman. It’s been such a man’s environment but the doors are open for females to achieve this position. It is possible. A woman can maybe bring another strategy to how things could work, a different vision and I think it’s a positive step,” she told Cyclingnews.

    “When the race is on there’s no difference and I don’t want there to be a difference. I don’t want any privilege, and I have to face the same music as everyone else. It certainly shouldn’t be any different because we’re all doing the same job.”

    Larocque and Steve Bauer started Spidertech and have grown the operation into a budding and successful Pro Continental team. Having already been behind the wheel at the 2011 Tour of California though, Larocque is hoping that the UCI’s course will help develop her skills within the sport.

    “First of all, being the first one was something we talked about. It was just about getting more knowledge as a sports director for the future with what the UCI are trying to do in the sport. Being a DS isn’t just about driving a car, there’s a lot more to it behind the scenes and it’s important that these people get a structure. It gives you...

  • Michael Rasmussen finds Alex Rasmussen outcome unfair

    Embattled Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 14:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    “Chicken” questions partiality of national organisations

    Michael Rasmussen doesn't think it is fair that he was suspended for two years for violating the whereabouts requirements but that Alex Rasmussen was not punished.

    Alex Rasmussen had been temporarily suspended for three different whereabouts violations, but earlier this week the Danish Olympic Committee dismissed the case on procedural grounds, saying the International Cycling Union took too long to notify him.

    Michael Rasmussen, now with Team Christina Watches, said there were procedural errors in his case as well. He was charged with multiple violations in the lead up to the 2007 Tour de France, and subsequently banned for two years.

    “What primarily strikes me in the treatment of these cases is that they are not from the outset transferred to a larger structure that is completely unrelated to the various federations or national interest,” Rasmussen told

    “That is in my opinion, a prerequisite for a fully impartial decision. It might sting a little in my heart when I hear that Alex has been acquitted because of a procedural error. I think I first showed more of that kind, without  it being noted.”

    Michael Rasmussen was not surprised though at the outcome of the case against Alex Rasmussen, to whom he is not related.

    “Already in the statements he made earlier, I sensed that he had a hope of avoiding the maximum ban of two years. It seems a little strange to me.”

    Alex Rasmussen's case was heard in Denmark, while Michael Rasmussen's case was dealt with by the Monaco Cycling Federation.

  • USADA bans masters rider

    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 15:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Diamond handed two-year suspension

    USADA has suspended master rider Michael Diamond for two years after the American refused to submit to a doping control.

    “On October 8, 2011, Diamond, 63, refused to submit a sample when notified by a doping control officer during an out-of-competition test,” a USADA press release read.

    “Under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Cycling Union (UCI) Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete’s refusal to provide a sample when notified that he has been selected for doping control constitutes a rule violation.”

    Diamond’s ban runs from November 14, 2011 and he is stripped of all results obtained on and subsequent to October 8, 2011, the date he refused to take the test.

    Any USA Cycling-registered amateur rider can be subjected to out-of-competition doping controls, according to the organisation's rules. USADA encourages athletes to report dopers by using its Play Clean Line (1-877-752-9253).


  • Pereiro blasts different perceptions of cycling and football doping

    Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 17:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Doping in football not considered doping, Tour de France rider claims

    Football players are applauded for doping, while cyclists are censured for it, Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro claimed on Spanish television. The discussion grew heated as Pereiro named names of football players he claimed have doped.

    Appearing on the show “Punto Pelota”, Pereiro said, “Giovanella tested positive, Gurpegui, Guardiola ... And all are because they take an energy complex. If a cyclist takes it, he has doped. Everyone at  San Mamés, Balaidos, Barcelona shouts 'innocent' and I have to put on a mask to walk down the street. "

    When asked about Operación Puerto, he answered that "Zidane has admitted that he had a blood transfusion in Switzerland to regenerate his body. In cycling that is [a doping] positive."

    The problem, he summarized, is that it is often seen that the cyclist is done but the football player “is fighting for his club colors".

    Pereiro said that he hopes that one day Eufemiano Fuentes, the point man of Operación Puerto will “hopefully one day have the courage to tell everything he knows. In Operación Puerto there were a lot of blood bags labelled European Championships, which doesn't exist in [pro men's] cycling.”

    Cycling is not perfect, he conceded. "In my sport we have made fifty thousand mistakes, we are fools. That cannot be hidden". Still, at least cycling is active in the anti-doping fight, as the riders cyclists spend "10% of their salary to the fight against doping, but athletes in other sports do not."

  • Boom returns to cyclo-cross in Namur

    Lars Boom (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 19:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman to skip world championships

    Rabobank's Lars Boom, a world champion in cyclo-cross at the junior, under 23 and elite levels, will return to the dirt for the first time this season in the December 18 World Cup at the Citadelle de Namur, he announced on his web site,

    The 2008 elite world champion has refocused his career on the road since failing to defend his rainbow jersey in Hoogerheide, but has continued his run as the Dutch cyclo-cross champion despite his limited calendar.

    Boom will race a handful of other cyclo-cross races which have yet to be announced, but will not compete in the world championships in Koksijde on January 29, as it is too late in the season and would interfere with his preparations for the road season.

  • Gilbert fêted in his hometown

    Philippe Gilbert and Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) lead a ride
    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 21:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian star plants a tree, leads a ride

    World number one ranked rider Philippe Gilbert was celebrated in his home town of Aywaille today. The town in the province of Liège held an official ceremony where the winner of the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne, Liège - Bastogne - Liège and the Clásica de San Sebastián was made an ambassador of the Meuse-Rhine Euregion. 

    Gilbert then planted an oak tree in a town park as a symbol of his attachment to his home town. Later on Gilbert led a recreational ride with more than a thousand participants over a 60km route.

    His Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Jelle Vanendert and friend Maxime Monfort of Leopard Trek were also in attendance.

  • Cavendish to race similar programme to 2009

    Mark Cavendish debuts his rainbow jersey at the start of the Giro del Piemonte
    Article published:
    November 19, 2011, 22:38 GMT
    Richard Moore

    World champion aims to peak for Tour and Olympics

    Racing on the track for the first time since the world championships in 2009, Mark Cavendish (HTC-HighRoad) was the star attraction of the 34th Revolution meeting at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday evening.

    The world road race champion was given a noisy standing ovation as Cavendish, in his rainbow jersey, was introduced to the sell-out, 4,000-strong crowd. Although he lacked a little sharpness, he was in the thick of the racing all night, raising the roof every time he hit the front, especially in the final event of the evening, the scratch race, which saw him score a hugely popular win.

    But his return to the boards was a one-off, he insisted: a gesture of support for the Revolution series. Mainly, of course, he is now looking forward to next year, his first with Team Sky. “It’s exciting,” he said of his move to the British squad. “It feels like I’m coming home.”

    Cavendish said that his programme for 2012 will be similar to 2009, when he won Milan-San Remo and six stages of the Tour de France. A second victory in La Primavera is one ambition, though he suggested he will not be in peak form so early in the season.

    “I said when I won Milan-San Remo in 2009 that that I want to win it in the world champion’s jersey,” said Cavendish. “But it’s going to be a big July with the Tour and the Olympics, so I’ll have a structured year to build and peak for the whole of July.” Of the Olympic road race, he said: “I think with the riders we’ve got we should be confident we can win a gold medal.”

    As in 2009 he said he would ride the Giro d’Italia with a...

  • Doping in cycling greatly reduced says CONI boss

    CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri delivers decision on Alejandro Valverde next week
    Article published:
    November 20, 2011, 10:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Pro cycling getting cleaner, but amateur cycling is not

    There has been a “monumental change” in doping in cycling, Ettore Torri, the anti-doping prosecutor for the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) said. Doping has not been eliminated but reduced “a great deal”.

    Speaking at an anti-doping conference in Faenza, Italy, AP reports that Torri said, “When I began with CONI (in 2006) the situation was serious. Today I can say that there has been a monumental change.”

    “Good work has been done by all those involved, including the riders’ association,” he said. “I’m not optimistic enough to say that doping has been beaten, but certainly among professionals it has been reduced a great deal and I’ve contributed to that.”

    As evidence, the 79-year-old Torri pointed out that there was only one doping case from this year's grand tours.  That was Alexandr Kolobnev's positive test for a diuretic.

    “Interest in doping has lessened,” he said. “Before there were few tests and the penalties were light. Now it’s not worth it any more.”

    While professional cycling is getting cleaner, amateur cycling is going the other direction, he claimed.

    “The situation there is serious. I’ve met entire families who dope. From lawyers to manual labor workers, they do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races.”

    The International Cycling Union's anti-doping manager, Francesca Rossi, said that cycling's approach to the doping problem “should be taken as an example,. Other sports do a lot of testing but in terms of quality they don’t compare to us. Cycling is always in the spotlight but today it’s at the vanguard of anti-doping.”