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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 20, 2011

Date published:
January 20, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Catlin says he cannot comment on Sports Illustrated allegations

    Dr. Don Catlin
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 16:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Without access to data "it is not possible to provide any insight"

    With the publication of Sports Illustrated's investigation into Lance Armstrong, questions have been raised about the role of Dr. Don Catlin, the renowned anti-doping expert.

    Catlin, 72, ran the U.S. Olympic anti-doping lab at UCLA for 25 years which was the official testing facility for the 1984 Los Angeles Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics in addition to performing testing both in- and out-of-competition for U.S. national team athletes since 1982. He has been a member of the IOC Medical Commission since 1988 and is also credited with identifying the THG designer drug made famous during the BALCO investigation.

    Sports Illustrated reported that the US Anti-Doping lab tested Armstrong more than two dozen times between 1990 and 2000. In 1999 USA Cycling asked Catlin to supply results of testosterone tests for a cyclist identified only by his drug-testing code numbers, and Sports Illustrated alleges that the cyclist in question was Armstrong.

    Catlin replied in a letter, dated June 4, 1999, that there was little chance of recovering five results from the early nineties but detailed three results that stand out: "a 9.0-to-1 ratio from a sample collected on June 23, 1993; a 7.6-to-1 from July 7, 1994; and a 6.5-to-1 from June 4, 1996."

    Any ratio above 6.0-to-1 was considered abnormally high until 2005 and since then the ratio limit was lowered to 4.0-to-1. Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone at the 2006 Tour de France with a reported ratio of 11-to-1.

    When contacted about the Sports Illustrated investigation, Catlin told Cyclingnews, "I have not been provided with either letter or any of the other materials referred to in the Sports Illustrated story, thus I do not have the context to provide appropriate comment at this time. Without them and without any of the data from that time period, it is not possible to provide any insight into the situation or to...

  • Contador decision expected no later than February 15

    An emotional Alberto Contador during his press conference in his home town of Pinto
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 17:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish cycling president sets rough date for announcement

    Alberto Contador can expect to learn his fate sometime the first two weeks in February. The president of the Spanish cycling federation, Juan Carlos Castaño, said he expects to issue the decision in Contador's doping case between February 10 and 15, at the latest.

    The Real Federacion Espanola de Ciclismo president said on COPE radio that on Monday the International Cycling Union's medical commission is scheduled to submit its “conclusions as to whether or not to believe Alberto Contador.”

    He continued that following the receipt of that information from the UCI, “between 10 and 15 February we will have the sanction or absolution of the cyclist”. Castaño added that he “hoped for” a resolution that was “favourable” to Contador.

    However, the AP quotes him as saying that after receiving the UCI documents, the federation "would then need about three days to review before a decision is taken," opening up the possiblity of an announcement the end of next week.

    No matter what the ruling, however, it probably won't be the final word. “We are destined to resolve this matter at the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Castaño noted.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during the Tour de France, which he claimed came from eating contaminated meat.

    The UCI confirmed earlier this month that the Spanish federation had asked for advice on technical aspects of the case, and emphasised that the federation must make the decision regarding disciplinary action.

  • Popovych denies Sports Illustrated details

    Yaroslav Popovych has had a difficult winter.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 18:13 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    RadioShack rider insists doping products were not found in his house

    Yaroslav Popovych has denied information published by Sports Illustrated that performance enhancing drugs and recent emails linking Team RadioShack to Dr Michele Ferrari were found in his house during a search by Italian police.

    The accusations were used as part of the introduction to the 12-page article called ‘The Case Against Lance Armstrong.'

    “It’s not true. I don’t want to go into details, otherwise the story will go around and around. I’ll let my lawyer speak for me,” Popovych told Cyclingnews from Tenerife, where he is training for the new season.

    Popovych’s lawyer is called Michele Re and is also his agent. He told Cyclingnews: “I’ve read the Sports Illustrated story and I can say that it’s absolutely not true that performance enhancing drugs were found in Yaroslav’s house when the Italian police carried out the search last November.”

    “The only thing found were medicines, 15 pills to be exact. The Italian public prosecutor has had these examined and they have been confirmed as being pills for cramp.”

    “It is also not true that the police found evidence of links between Armstrong and Dr Ferrari. That’s because the electronics expert who has been asked to study the contents of two laptops and two mobile phones has still to submit his report to the magistrate Benedetto Roberti.”

    Re confirmed that the police search of Popovych’s house was carried out two days after he returned from the USA last November, where he testified before a grand jury in Los Angeles as part of an investigation into doping in cycling. Italian police are reportedly collaborating with FDA agent Jeff Novitsky on the investigation.

    “The search was ordered by Roberti but it probable that it was linked to the USA,” Re admitted.

    “But Yaroslav is not worried. We’re...

  • Androni-Giocattoli one step ahead at Tour de San Luis

    Jose Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli) beat Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Marco Arrigiada (Chile).
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 18:44 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Italian team supports Serpa on the climbs and Ferrari in the sprints

    José Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli) demonstrated that he is capable of winning the Tour de San Luis title with his stage two victory atop the Mirador del Potrero on Tuesday. The Colombian is four seconds ahead of his nearest competitor Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) with five days of racing still to come.

    “We will try to work for this leader’s jersey,” said Androni-Giocattoli directeur sportif Gianni Savio. “This is only the second stage and it is very early in the Tour de San Luis and the winner has not been decided yet.”

    Serpa placed second to Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the overall classification last year. This year’s overall contenders include Nibali’s teammates Capecchi and two-time Giro d’ Italia winner Ivan Basso, along with Xavier Tondo and Mauricio Soler of Movistar, 2007 overall winner Jorge Giacinti and Josue Moyano of Team Argentina, and Fortunato Baliani (D’Angelo & Antenucci).

    “For this year our objective is to make the podium with Serpa,” Savio said. “Last year he was second and I think that we will have the possibility to repeat what we did last year. Vincenzo Nibali won last year and I think the strongest team is Liquigas with Ivan Basso.”

    The overall contenders will continue to emerge following the stage four time trial on Thursday. Savio said he would be pleased with a top 10 performance from Serpa in the 19km individual event but noted the strong specialists in attendance.

    “The only rider we have for the time trial is Serpa,” Savio said. “I think he will be able to be in the first ten positions. But it will be very difficult for him to win. A good result will be for him to stay in the top 10 or 15. Here in Argentina there are good time trial men.”

    The climbers will have two final bids for the overall classification during stage five’s category three mountaintop...

  • Floyd Landis calls for legalised doping

    Floyd Landis at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference in Australia
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 19:03 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    American says testers are not remotely close to catching cheats

    Floyd Landis has launched an attack on the cycling authorities he believes have enabled and covered up doping within the sport and said that doping should be legalised. The American announced his retirement from the sport earlier in the week but his comments to Cyclingnews come on the back of a Sports Illustrated story in which they claim that Lance Armstrong showed abnormally high testosterone ratios on three occasions in the 1990s. Armstrong denied the accusations.

    Landis won the Tour de France in 2006, but lost the title after testing positive for synthetic testosterone during the race. He maintained his innocence and put up a major public defence, spending his life savings as well as cash secured from donations, before finally losing the fight and his Tour title.

    In April last year a series of emails from Landis to various cycling authorities and media outlets were published in which he appeared as the whistle blower of a set of major drug scandals and cover-ups involving the US Postal team, Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and the sport's governing body, the UCI. All parties discredited Landis and proclaimed their innocence. The FDA have since opened an investigation and spoken to a number of former Postal riders as well as reportedly meeting with French police at the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.

    However Landis's beliefs that doping should be legalised come on the back of his retirement. He told Cyclingnews:

    "In the US we have these gun laws where half the country thinks we should have them and half don't, but the fact of the matter is that the bad guys have guns and you can't get them back...

  • Montepaschi Strade Bianche teams revealed

    The Tuscan hills are what makes Strade Bianche so special
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 20:30 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Team Type 1 earn invitation to RCS Sport race

    Fourteen teams of eight riders have been invited to the Montepaschi Strade Bianche race, which takes place on March 5. It is the sixth edition of the race over Tuscany’s dirt roads, which began life as the Eroica in 2007.

    As anticipated, Italian teams dominate the list, which was released by race organiser RCS Sport on Wednesday. ProTeams Liquigas-Cannondale and Lampre-ISD will be on the start line in Gaiole, along with home-based Pro Continental squads Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia and Farnese Vini-Neri. The Geox-TMC squad has also earned an invitation to the 1.1 race.

    There is also a place in the line-up for Team Type 1, and the American outfit has made no secret of its ambitions to earn an invitation to RCS Sport’s biggest race, the Giro d’Italia.

    2008 winner Fabian Cancellara’s new Leopard Trek squad is also down to start, although there is no place on the list of 14 for teams for the Astana team of last year’s winner Maxim Iglinsky.

    Cadel Evans has stated that his first race of the year will be Tirreno-Adriatico, but with BMC set to take part in the Strade Bianche, the Australian may well be tempted to begin his season a few days earlier. He took a memorable victory over similar terrain to Montalcino during last year’s Giro d’Italia.

    The race between Gaiole in Chianti and Siena will take in eight sections of dirt roads, which account for 55 of the race’s total 190 kilometres. As ever, the 11.5km-long Monte Santa Maria section, which includes two climbs, is expected to cause the first major selection, leaving the strongest to battle it out for victory over the remaining 50km.

    The 14 teams invited to the Montepaschi Strade Bianche are Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, BMC Racing Team, Colnago-CSF Inox, De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia, Farnese Vini-Neri, Geox-TMC, HTC-Highroad, Lampre-ISD, Liquigas-Cannondale,...

  • Offredo sees encouraging future for French riders

    Yoann Offredo (FdJ) was sporting some pretty extreme bedhead.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 23:26 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    FDJ man looking forward to classics

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ) has said that French riders are beginning to lose their inhibitions and become more competitive on the international stage. The Frenchman is aiming to have a strong classics campaign in spite of FDJ’s failure to obtain a ProTeam licence for 2011.

    “I think that there’s a still a complex vis-à-vis foreign riders, who we often just watch ride,” Offredo told “That said, the Tour de France is proof that French riders need not be ashamed, they are capable of winning big races.

    “We’re missing a little panache in the classics, which was surely due to the years of cheating, but that’s in the course of changing. Some countries, like Italy and Spain, are really waking up to it. I think that’s very encouraging for the years to come.”

    Offredo had an impressive 2010 season. He was an animator at Milan-San Remo, as well as finishing third at the GP Plouay and 7th at Paris-Tours. He was also a strong performer at the world championships in Geelong. Now entering his fourth year as a professional, the 24-year-old’s ambitions are high, at home and abroad.

    “I’m not afraid of any rider,” he said. “We have a cycling that is becoming more and more international and much more homogenous because there is less doping everywhere.”

    FDJ were disappointed to miss out on a ProTeam licence for the 2011 season, but rather than dwelling on the snub, Offredo views his team’s Pro Continental status simply as an additional challenge to be overcome.

    “You draw benefits from any negative experience,” he said. “I think that it’s a good thing for the team to have a challenge and not to be guaranteed a place in all the races.”

    Unusually for a French rider, Offredo readily admits that he prefers the classics to the Tour de France, and he is enthusiastic about the prospect...

  • Cycling world remembers Carla Swart

    Carla Swart
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 23:31 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Lees McRae College to establish scholarship fund

    The cycling world said goodbye to one of its most promising talents today as Carla Swart, 23, was killed while training in South Africa.

    Cyclingnews spoke to Swart at the HTC-Highroad camp in December, where she was about to embark on her first season with a top-level professional team. She described signing to the team as "a dream come true", but her path to the top level of the sport came not through dreams but through years of incredibly hard work and a schedule which would crack the vast majority of people.

    After moving to the USA from South Africa seven years ago, Swart embraced the life of an athlete - she enrolled in Lees McRae College with scholarships for cycling and running, but it wasn't long before bike racing won out.

    Ahead of the 2008 season, Swart said she set some goals for herself  "to be more noticed so I could make the jump from collegiate to professional racing".

    I had the pleasure of witnessing this rise to prominence in the regional races in North Carolina, often from the receiving end of Swart's seemingly unlimited energy. She earned five collegiate national titles that year, and before her life came to an abrupt end on a road in South Africa today, she had added 14 more between track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross and road.

    What isn't reflected on the results sheets is the punishing schedule Swart kept up for the past two years. She raced on four different teams and literally around the world in a racing calendar that went from February to October. In between, she kept up with her school work, determined to finish her degree.

    2010 was a defining year for Swart. In January and February she raced with the South African MTN team where she scored a podium in the national championship time trial. She then returned to the USA for school before heading to Europe for her first big campaign. In just her second World Cup, Swart placed 18th in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen - a race she...