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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 18, 2012

Date published:
October 18, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Gripper calls on the UCI to do more to fight doping

    Anne Gripper spearheads the biological passport.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 17:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Former anti-doping chief admits Armstrong got special treatment in 2009

    Anne Gripper – the head of anti-doping at the UCI between 2006 and 2010, has called on the sports international governing body to do more in the fight against doping and acknowledge its involvement in the past.

    Gripper left the UCI in 2010 for personal reasons and returned to live in Australia. She defends much of the work done by the UCI but is critical of current UCI President Pat McQuaid.

    ''The UCI may have failed to take some actions that we should have taken at the time, but since 2006 we have been really committed to this issue,'' Gripper told the Australian Age newspaper.

    Asked about McQuaid's tenure as president, Gripper said: "I know his commitment to this was very strong while I was there. It may have wavered a bit."

    ''I heard Pat say the other night, 'We test and test and test as much as we can and send all the samples to the labs and that's all we can do'.

    ''Well, it's not, Pat, there's lots more that can be done."

    ''It's not just about testing because we know in many ways testing is the most ineffective way of eliminating doping… There are so many more things… the UCI can do. The issue for the UCI is communication. It is time to stand up and acknowledge some of the past.''

    Lance and the 2009 Tour Down Under

    Gripper talked about Lance Armstrong and specifically about how the UCI bent the rules to allow him to return to competition at the 2009 Tour Down Under.

    She said the US Anti-Doping Agency investigation and subsequent report documents showed that ''not so much that he (Armstrong) was a doping cheat - I think everybody accepts that just about all cyclists were doing it - but the...

  • Greipel voices support of USADA investigation

    Andre Greipel is quite optimistic before the race
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 18:23 BST
    Cycling News

    "Fight against fraud must continue", says German

    Lotto-Belisol sprint ace André Greipel has come out in support of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and its charges of doping against Lance Armstrong, one of the few current European professionals to do so.

    "Today we know that – and above all, we know how – some cheats were, and also today are still, able to make trouble in cycling. I am especially shocked by the magnitude of it all and how systematic the cheating was," Greipel wrote on his blog.

    The 30-year-old German has amassed the highest number of victories this season, his tally includes three stage victories in the Tour de France.

    He supports the actions of USADA despite the charges being taken years after Armstrong's success.

    "...the fight against cheating and the falsely-earned successes must absolutely be continued! This fight for honesty and a fair sport has already proven itself, even if cycling's reputation seems to be continually damaged.

    "But still: some of the cheats have accepted responsibility and faced up to the situation. Let us hope that this is the right signal for the future.

    "I find it really too bad that the investigation by various agencies has taken so long, because otherwise the 'new cycling' would be another step further along today. But the happenings, some of which can hardly be believed, which the US Anti-Doping Agency USADA has exposed, have also made clear why it is has taken so long."

    The words of Greipel go a bit farther than most other European professionals, who, aside from Gustav Larsson, have stopped short of calling Armstrong a...

  • Didier extends two years with RadioShack-Nissan

    Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 20:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger saw no reason to leave

    Laurent Didier has extended his contract for two years with RadioShack-Nissan. The Luxembourger joined his homeland WorldTour team this season after two years with Team Saxo Bank.

    “It was not a difficult decision for me,” he told “I absolutely wanted to stay with the team. I like the project and look forward to being there for two more years.”

    Didier said that “I was very satisfied with my race program this year. The team supported me really well, the trainers are fantastic and I have a lot of friends on the team.  So why should I leave?”

    The 28-year-old is reigning national road champion and rode the Vuelta a Espana this year.

    “I am proud to ride for a Luxembourg team and the fact that Bob Jungels will join us, made my decision even easier.”

    Jungels, 20, is another Luxembourger and rode for the Leopard-Trek Continental team for two years.

    Most of the top names at the team will return for the coming year, including Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Andreas Klöden and Jens Voigt. Fränk Schleck's future will depend on the outcome of his doping case.

    Leaving the team are. amongst others, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), and Oliver Zaugg and Daniele Bennati, both to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank.

    The team recently ended its contract with manger Johan Bruyneel, in light of the USADA report on the Armstrong doping case.

  • Anheuser-Busch joins Nike in distancing from Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong zips up his Livestrong jersey and is ready to go.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 20:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Sponsors flee in wake of USADA evidence

    Following the decision of Nike, another Lance Armstrong corporate supporter has turned its back on the now-disgraced former cyclist. Beer maker Anheuser-Busch confirmed today that it will not renew its association with Armstrong, according to Reuters.

    Armstrong today stepped down as chairman of his Livestrong foundation following the release of the US Anti-Doping Agency's reasoned decision, which included hundreds of pages of evidence related to his past doping activities..

    Anheuser-Busch, like Nike and RadioShack, expressed its support of Armstrong's cancer foundation, but in ending its relationship with Armstrong, it will not continue to use him as a spokesman for its Michelob Ultra beer, as it has in the past.

    RadioShack, which signed on as sponsor of Armstrong and Johan Bruyneels WorldTour team in 2010, also used Armstrong as its spokesman in an ad campaign for its mobile phones which starred him as "chief mobility officer".

    On Wednesday RadioShack told the Wall Street Journal that it no longer had a contract with Armstrong, but said it "continues to be proud of what we've accomplished with our customers in generating more than $16 million to date for the fight against cancer."

    Nike cut its ties with Armstrong today after coming under scrutiny by the media for a purported half-million dollar payment allegedly made to the former UCI president Hein Verbruggen. Nike denied having made any such payment.

    It said it would re-name the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center at its headquarters, "due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping...

  • Team Sky asks riders and staff to sign anti-doping declaration

    Team Sky manager David Brailsford at Thursday's press conference about signing Bradley Wiggins.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 21:30 BST
    Daniel Benson & Stephen Farrand

    Brailsford: "the shadows of the past are impacting on us"

    Team Sky has reaffirmed its anti-doping policy by asking their staff and riders to sign a declaration confirming that they have no past or present involvement in doping. Anyone who does not sign the declaration will leave the team, as will anyone who does sign but is subsequently found to be in breach of the policy. The team will also terminate contracts if individuals admit to any doping in their pasts.

    Team principal David Brailsford made the announcement at the Covent Garden hotel in central London, close to where the team has gathered to celebrate its successful 2012 season and to plan for 2013. Brailsford said that he had only begun the process this morning and was uncertain as to how many members of the team could be at risk, but added that he would interview everyone on the team's books.

    The news comes in the wake of the revelations involving Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. The USADA case has acted as a catalyst for a number of confessions but has also raised new and resurfaced questions surrounding a number of Team Sky riders and employees. Michael Barry, who retired from the Sky team at the end of the season, last week confessed to doping while on US Postal.

    Last week the team announced that they would not re-hire Dr. Geert Leinders after it was reported that he had been involved in doping during his work with Rabobank several years ago. Leinders worked with Sky on a part-time basis.

    Team Sky has always proclaimed what they describe as a zero tolerance policy to doping and refused to hire riders or staff who had any links to doping.

    However, at times the message appeared at odds with the reality of modern cycling. Although Sky has positioned itself as an...

  • Ponferrada World Championships safe

    And then there was a final Spanish flag coming down to celebrate the Tour of Spain. The 2008 Vuelta is now officially over.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 23:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Regional council steps in to guarantee funding

    Ponferrada will keep the 2014 UCI Road World Championships after the regional council stepped in to guarantee funding by the mid-October deadline imposed by cycling's governing body, Diario de León reports.

    The UCI had threatened to withdraw its support for the Spanish city unless contractual agreements were met, however the Castilla y León local government has added its endorsement and by October 31 will have paid one million euros and guaranteed the remaining four.

    Ponferrada mayor, Carlos Lopez Riesco said he hoped that today's announcement would bring an end to any doubts over the city holding the championships saying that the enormity of the event "transcends the sport, as it is an opportunity for economic development" and will be "the best showcase for our business, for our tourist industry or for our food industry to open new markets."

    The event's board will also add another 800,000 euros to the event, split over the next two years. The State has declared the 2014 world championships as an event of "exceptional public interest" their own investment will be leveraged with private sponsorships.


  • Trek breaks ties with Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong poses with his Damien Hirst-painted Trek at the conclusion of the 2009 Tour de France
    Article published:
    October 17, 2012, 23:46 BST
    Ben Delaney

    Wisconsin bicycle giant terminates relationship following USADA report

    This article originally published on BikeRadar

    Following suit with Nike and Anheuser-Busch, Trek Bicycle terminated its relationship with Lance Armstrong Wednesday, citing "the findings and conclusions in the USADA report." Armstrong still holds a minority share in the company.

    Trek released the following brief statement late Wednesday.

    "Trek is disappointed by the findings and conclusions in the USADA report regarding Lance Armstrong. Given the determinations of the report, Trek today is terminating our longterm relationship with Lance Armstrong. Trek will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its efforts to combat cancer."

    BikeRadar asked Trek legal spokesman Bill Mashek what was different about today versus the past few years, in regard to its position with Armstrong and allegations of doping.

    "Like the statement said, we reviewed the [USADA] report. The company has respected the process throughout," he said. "The company made this decision today."

    Mashek said Armstrong still retains the small share of the company.

    "He was granted a very small share in the early 1990s, less than a quarter of one percent," Mashek said. "The majority is privately held by the Burke family."

    Mashek declined to comment on whether Armstrong was contacted before the decision was publicized, or on who specifically on the Trek leadership team made the call.

    As to how this would affect Trek's brand image going forward, Mashek said Armstrong "has not been at the forefront of Trek's marketing...

  • Leipheimer wants to continue, despite Quickstep sacking

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) in Colorado
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 1:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Lance Armstrong teammate comes clean about doping

    Levi Leipheimer has broken his silence since accepting a six-month ban for admitting to having used performance enhancing drugs and methods. His contract with the powerful Omega Pharma-Quickstep team was terminated in the fallout of the US Anti-Doping Agency's release of its full dossier of evidence in the case against Lance Armstrong.

    In his affidavit Leipheimer testified to a number of doping-related offenses by Armstrong and team manager Johan Bruyneel and others, but also implicated himself, admitting to having used blood transfusions as recently as the 2007 Tour de France.

    He lost his third place overall in that race as well as his prior results obtained from June 1, 1999 through to July 30, 2006 and from July 7 through to July 29, 2007 have been stripped.

    Speaking with the Press Democrat, Leipheimer said he is still looking for a team for 2013. "I don't want to stop like this," he said.

    It has undoubtedly been a difficult week for the Santa Rosa resident, who ran his Levi's Gran Fondo just days before the news came out, and who, one day before his 39th birthday next week, will debut a biopic called "The Levi Effect" in US theaters. Through it all, he has had the support of his friends, which he said "means the world to me right now.

    "I wouldn't have been able to make it through all this without their support."

    Leipheimer admitted in his testimony that he began doping with EPO while racing with the domestic Saturn team in 1999, in the year prior to being signed by Armstrong's US Postal Service team. He continued using the drugs until anti-doping controls were developed to detect it, then switched to blood doping.

    It was a way...