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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 11, 2012

Date published:
October 11, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • WADA supports USADA on Lance Armstrong decision

    WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 23:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Fahey says agency has been in compliance with WADA code

    The reasoned decision issued today by the US Anti-Doping Agency on Lance Armstrong's doping case has been received by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and a statement of support has come from its president John Fahey.

    “We would like to commend USADA for having the courage and the resolve to keep focused in working on this difficult case for the sake of clean athletes and the integrity of sport," Fahey said in a press release.

    The Australian confirmed that his agency will now, "as with all cases, carefully consider [the reasoned decision's] contents and the voluminous accompanying evidence".

    He further supported the efforts of the American agency, stating, “The process followed by USADA has at all times been appropriate and careful, and in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code)."

    The file is also in the hands of the UCI, which has said it would examine the dossier and comment as promptly as possible. It has 21 days to decide whether it would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in order to reverse Armstrong's lifetime ban.

    "Thereafter, WADA has a further 21 days to determine whether we will exercise our independent right of appeal," Fahey said. “In the interim, it is obviously inappropriate for us to make further comments."


  • USADA: Bruyneel a key player in Armstrong and team's doping

    Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 23:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Team manager pressured riders, facilitated doping

    The USADA Reasoned Decision document reveals huge details of the findings of the investigators, lifting the lid on what USADA calls "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

    The document includes a damning nine-page section titled: Johan Bruyneel's involvement in doping.

    The Belgian team manager is mentioned multiple times elsewhere in documents but the section alleges how Bruyneel learned how to "introduce young men to performance enhancing drugs, becoming adept at leading them down the path from newly minted professional rides to veteran drug user."

    Bruyneel has always denied the accusations of doping and has as yet chosen to contest the charges made by USADA and take his case to arbitration in the USA.

    Using key sections of many of the witnesses' affidavits and even carefully selected quotes from Bruyneel's own autobiography, the USADA report details Bruyneel's persuasive and often bullying techniques. It reveals how he closely monitored riders' blood values, taught them how to blood dope and pressured them instead of protecting their health.

    “The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Johan Bruyneel was intimately involved in all significant details of the U.S. Postal team’s doping program. He alerted the team to the likely presence of testers. He communicated with Dr. Ferrari about his stars’ doping programs,” the document said.

    “He was on top of the details for organizing blood transfusion programs before the major Tours, and he knew when athletes...

  • Leipheimer accepts USADA sanction following doping admission

    Levi Leipheimer (US Postal) at the 2001 Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 0:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma - Quick-Step put rider on non-active status

    Levi Leipheimer has made a statement accepting his six month sanction for doping offenses which comes in response to USADA’s 200-page “reasoned decision” document that was released to the public on Wednesday. Leipheimer admits to using prohibited substances including EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions dating back to his 2000 and 2001 seasons with the US Postal team, and all the way to 2007 when he rode for Discovery Channel.

    The 'Acceptance of Sanction' statement outlines Leipheimer’s period of ineligibility dated from September 1, 2012 and ending on March 1, 2013. All results obtained from June 1, 1999 through to July 30, 2006 and from July 7 through to July 29, 2007 have been stripped. His statement regarding his anti-doping rule violation also details the years and teams on which he engaged in doping practices.

    "I, Levi Leipheimer, accept the following sanction as a result of my doping offenses for my use of the prohibited substances EPO and testosterone and the use of prohibited blood transfusions. I used prohibited substances and/or prohibited methods during 2000 and 2001 while a member of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, during 2002 through 2004 while on the Rabobank Cycling Team, during 2005 and 2006 while on the Gerolsteiner Cycling Team and during 2007 while a member of the Discovery Channel Cycling Team."

    The Affidavit of Levi Leipheimer details the first moments in which the rider came to "believe that in order to be successful in professional cycling it was necessary to use performance enhancing drugs."

  • USADA: Armstrong created a doping culture at US Postal

    George Hincapie (US Postal) leads team captain Lance Armstrong during the 2002 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 2:46 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Former teammates describe change in attitude after Lance years

    In its reasoned decision document, USADA reveals that Lance Armstrong not only doped himself in order to win his seven Tours de France, but he helped to propagate a culture of doping within his team, pressuring riders to dope, distributing doping products to his teammates, and casting aside those who refused to participate. He intimidated those who dared to break the 'omerta', or code of silence surrounding doping in the professional peloton, using his vast influence to ruin the post-cycling careers of at least one ex-teammate.

    Yet during Armstrong's record Tour de France run - the seven victories which in all likelihood will be stripped at the end of the current procedures - the same teammates who seemed to be willing participants in the game had to encourage each other when their conscience kicked in, and ultimately some chose to follow their hearts and give up the drugs.

    It is difficult to reconcile the personalities we see in the USADA affidavits with the ones we see today touting the new, clean cycling lifestyle: riders from Garmin-Sharp such as Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and Slipstream CEO Jonathan Vaughters, Team Sky's Michael Barry and Armstrong's right-hand man, George Hincapie, who says he got clean in 2006 before moving on to the anti-doping bastion of HTC-Highroad. All of them succumbed to drug use, and either shared drugs or encouraged each other to join in.

    The turning points for the riders who came forward to testify against Armstrong vary, but each affidavit sheds some light on their changing attitudes...

  • Petacchi considered Cavendish lead-out role for 2013

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - ISD) takes the win ahead of Cavendish
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 4:40 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian explains why he rejected Manxman’s overtures

    After over a decade of battling at the sharp end in bunch finishes, Alessandro Petacchi admitted that he gave serious consideration to returning his sword to his scabbard and accepting the role of Mark Cavendish’s lead-out man for the 2013 season.

    The 38-year-old Petacchi eventually signed on for another season as Lampre-ISD’s lead sprinter, but only after mulling over Cavendish’s offer and the change of status it entailed. Ultimately, the move floundered over the ongoing uncertainty regarding Cavendish’s team for next season, with the Manxman still rumoured to be on the brink of leaving Sky for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step.

    "I spoke a bit with Cavendish, but one of the problems was that he still didn’t know where he was going," Petacchi told Cyclingnews in Beijing. "We met at a criterium in Belgium and I asked him if these rumours about him leaving Sky were true. He told me that he might be leaving and asked me what I was doing, so I said that my contract was expiring and that we could talk if he was interested.

    "I still had the intention of continuing as a rider, but if I ride, I want to ride well or at least I want to have the right stimulus. This thing intrigued me. I liked the idea, but it was going on too long and I didn’t want to cause problems for my own team by not giving them an answer to their offer."

    With just three wins to his name in 2012, all outside the WorldTour, Petacchi scarcely achieved his stated aim of adding to his market value this season, and in spite of the face that he was implicated in the

  • Riders react to USADA reasoned decision

    Andy Jacques-Maynes (Kenda/5 Hour Energy) and Frankie Andreu discuss the stage.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 5:52 BST
    Pat Malach

    US domestic professionals speak out following news

    The US Anti Doping Agency's release of its “reasoned decision” in the Lance Armstrong case, coupled with multiple confessional statements from Armstrong's former US Postal teammates, caused consternation, frustration and ambivalence for some of the domestic pros who are contemporaries of the riders involved.

    “It's hard to hear this, because we don't want to see our sport in the light for this,” said Brad Huff, a 33-year-old pro who started his career with Jonathan Vaughters' TIAA-CREF team and has ridden for Jelly Belly since 2008. “We want it to be in the spotlight because of amazing things like a family of Olympians, the Phinneys, [who] have this amazing son coming through the ranks, and he's winning world championships and doing it the right way. That's what we want to hear about, but the truth needs to be told.”

    Six active former teammates, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Barry (Sky) and George Hincapie (BMC), admitted their own use of banned substances while implicating Armstrong and others on the US Postal team's staff in affidavits submitted to USADA. All of the riders received six-month bans, although both Hincapie and Barry announced they would retire this season.

    Those six riders joined Frankie Andreu, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Stephen Swart and Jonathan Vaughters as part of a 26-strong group that...

  • Ag2r's hunt for WorldTour points goes on without Houanard

    Steve Houanard (Ag2r La Mondiale) at the 2011 Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 6:53 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman flies home from Tour of Beijing after positive test

    While Steve Houanard was jetting back to France from the Tour of Beijing early on Wednesday morning following the revelation of his positive test for EPO, his Ag2r La Mondiale teammates were still digesting the news as they set about trying to earn the points to guarantee the squad’s WorldTour status in 2013.

    News of Houanard’s positive test had broken shortly after midnight Beijing time, and Ag2r-La Mondiale directeur sportif Julien Jurdie told Cyclingnews in Mentougou on Wednesday evening that he had waited until the morning to inform the riders.

    "I didn’t talk to Steve Houanard straight away, as he was sharing a room with Mikael Cherel. As it was almost 1am, I preferred to let Mikael Cherel sleep," Jurdie said. "At 6am, I told Steve that it was a big, big mistake. I had a lot of questions, but I asked him to leave the hotel quickly as he had to catch a plane to Paris."

    Houanard’s first instinct was to protest his innocence to his directeur sportif, and it is anticipated that the 24-year-old Frenchman will request an analysis of his B sample. Regardless of the outcome, Houanard had already been told that he was likely to be surplus to requirements in 2013.

    "He said he was innocent and he hadn’t done anything: that’s the kind of declaration that people often make and I didn’t go into details with him," Jurdie said. "I told him that he’d made a big, big, big mistake and that now it was going to be very difficult for Ag2r-La Mondiale in the media. Innocent or not, well, we’ll see with the B sample.

    "In any case,

  • Nike show continued support for Armstrong after USADA report

    Lance Armstrong happiest when surrounded by his adoring fans and pushing his Livestrong foundation.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2012, 7:32 BST
    Pat Malach

    Sponsor partners for Livestrong 15-year anniversary

    Just hours after the US Anti Doping Agency released its reasoned decision in the Lance Armstrong case, in which 11 former teammates implicated the former US Postal team leader in a sophisticated doping program, Nike showed its continued support for the embattled cyclist by releasing the exact same statement it sent out when Armstrong chose not to contest USADA's charges back in August, according to a report by the Oregonian newspaper.

    "We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted," Nike reiterated in its statement. "Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors."

    That continued support for Armstrong's foundation will be highly visible on October 20 when Nike partners with Livestrong to sponsor the University of Texas' cancer awareness college football game against Baylor University, according to the Oregonian report.

    The game will be part of four days of coordinated events celebrating the foundation's 15th anniversary. The second quarter will be designated the "Livestrong Quarter" after an on-field presentation by Livestrong and Nike, which created special T-shirts for the 17,000-seat student section, according to the...