He looked at me and he said ‘man I’ve seen death in the face and I don’t take drugs'
Phil Liggett welcomed the decision of the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles to close the investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. A two-year long enquiry concluded last Friday with no criminal charges. Armstrong released a statement welcoming the news, and on Sunday evening his friend and supporter, Liggett, reiterated the sentiment.
“I always felt that would be the decision. People asked me what would happen, and I said absolutely nothing and that’s how I’ve always felt. I thought that there was a lot of money being spent and there was no evidence turning up, just a lot of accusations which were all circumstantial and quite frankly I felt the whole investigation was a waste of money so I wasn’t surprised with what we’ve heard,” Liggett told Cyclingnews.
Asked if the news was a positive step for cycling Liggett said, “It can only be a good thing as one would hope it would drop out of the headlines now. Nobody has proved anything against him. I’ve been relatively close to him and he’s always categorically told me to my face that he hasn’t taken drugs. I read all the stories, I read all the accusations and I read the links and potential possibilities, but at the end of the day there’s no evidence or proof so we’ve got to move on and we can't live in the past.”
Liggett also questioned why WADA and USADA would want to take up the reins over any possible investigation into alleged doping on the US Postal team between 1999 and...
News of CAS's decision on Monday to issue Alberto Contador a two-year ban for his 2010 positive test for clenbuterol at the Tour de France quickly spread throughout the world of professional cycling.
While Contador had been competing in Spain's Challenge Mallorca, many of the stars of the ProTour are currently in the Middle East taking part in the Tour of Qatar, including Swiss powerhouse Fabian Cancellara.
The 30-year-old RadioShack-Nissan rider was asked about the Contador verdict soon after he and his teammates completed the Tour of Qatar's second stage, a 11.3km team time trial.
"We're now starting 2012, and what happened was in 2010," said Cancellara. "Waiting so long, I think that's not fair. It's not fair for him, it's not fair for the sport all over the world."
Cancellara was asked to comment about the CAS decision itself and whether he was surprised by the two-year ban.
US rider says second year with BMC will bring the best out of him
After displaying prodigious talent as a teenager, Taylor Phinney has long been identified as the next big thing in US cycling. After a meteoric rise to fame that included a host of world and national junior championships on the track and victory in the U23 race at Paris-Roubaix in 2010 in Livestrong Trek colours, much was expected of him when he signed to race for BMC last year.
But not everything went to plan in his debut season as a full-time professional. By his own admission, the 21-year-old from Boulder wasn't fully prepared for the step-up and didn't find his feet until late in the year. But he is confident that it will be a different story this time round and claims that he is "excited" rather than "stressed" as he begins his season at the Tour of Qatar.
"Compared to last year I think that having a full year underneath me as a pro has been really important and I’m a lot more relaxed," he told Cyclingnews. "Last year I had a couple of knee problems and I didn’t really know what was required during the winter to get myself into the best shape mentally and physically.
"Having a season with 70 plus race days under my belt has made a huge difference. My busiest year before that was around half that number, so last season was a big step up for me and I don't think I was truly ready for it."
Up until that point Phinney's reputation in the sport had climbed every year, so hearing murmurs of doubt from the press was a new sensation for him. Having come out the other side, does he feel that he has a score to settle with both himself and some of the critics that came out of the woodwork in the early part of last year?
Frenchman to lead Europcar in Malaysian stage race
Anthony Charteau will return to the site of his first major stage race triumph, the Tour de Langkawi, when his Europcar team takes to the Malaysian roads later this February.
Charteau claimed the victory back in 2007 courtesy of a sizeable time gap earned on the third stage to Cameron Highlands, before a gutsy fight to hold on against the pure climbers on Genting sealed the win. It was watershed moment for the Frenchman who went on to take out the King of the Mountains title in the 2010 Tour de France.
"Le Tour de Langkawi has always had a special place in my heart," said Charteau, who added that having missed the last few events due to other commitment overseas, he's happy to finally be returning to Malaysia for the 17th edition of the race. "I’ve always wanted to ride Le Tour de Langkawi again despite the long trip from France."
Charteau will be supported by a Europcar team prepared for multiple scenarios with Matteo Pelucchi and Yoann Gene providing options in the sprints, and a time trial ace in Jérome Cousin.
Prudhomme, Jalabert speak of a "right" decision, Boyer calls for confession
Following the Court of Arbitration's decision to suspend Alberto Contador for two years for his 2010 Tour de France clenbuterol positive, a number of reactions within the world of cycling have been issued. In France, the verdict has been widely welcomed but some criticism has also been voiced as regards to the lengthy jurisdiction procedure and the start date of Contador's ban.
The director of the Tour de France, ASO's Christian Prudhomme, was relieved that a verdict had finally been issued. But at the same time, he deplored that the process had taken too long and called for solutions to obtain swifter jurisdiction.
"Finally the verdict has arrived after 565 days of waiting. This has been too long. In future, the lapse of time between the sporting justice and the media diffusion has to be shorter - this will be absolutely essential," he told L'Equipe TV.
"In the meantime, Contador continued to race. He raced everywhere: in Spain, Portugal, in Italy where he won the Giro, in Belgium, in France, in Argentina where he won two stages at the Tour de San Luis only a few days ago. Even if sports justice must be serene and even if this case was extraordinarily complex, it is necessary that decisions in this sort of case should be made more rapidly."
Laurent Jalabert, a cycling champion during his time and now commentator for French television, spoke of a "right" decision. "The sanction applies to a positive doping control. There was a presumption of innocence, then Contador's dossier was examined for a very long time - too long even - and finally the instances decided that it could not be upheld. So the two-year sanction seems just to me," he told RTL.
"An athlete is responsible of his actions, he is meant to...
2011 Tour de France winner bemoans length of case conclusion
Disqualifying and banning the winner of the 2010 Tour de France shows that cycling is leading in the sports world's fight against doping, said Cadel Evans. The BMC Racing Team rider, who won the 2011 Tour de France, supported the decision to ban Alberto Contador for two years, while decrying the fact that the process took so long.
"I think the sport of cycling has done more than enough to prove it is doing the right thing," Evans said, according to Fox News.
"Now it is time for other sports to look at cycling and replicate what cycling does, so the fight against drugs in sport can maybe be beaten one day across all sports."
The Australian did not give an opinion on Contador's guilt or innocence. "I don't know all that goes on behind there and what all the real facts are and so on.
"I go along and do my job and that's up to the authorities to decide.”
Like so many others, Evans got lost in the time-consuming twists, turns and delays in the case. "It was a case that dragged on for so long I had no idea what was going on and what was going to happen. I just read the newspapers like the rest of us."
Contador is estimated to earn 5 million Euros a year under his Saxo Bank contract, and 70 percent of that would be 3.5 million Euros.
However, the court order also requires the “forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes" he won at the Tour de France 2010, Giro d'Italia 2011 and all other races after January 25, 2011.
It is not clear to whom the fines would be paid, and what would be done with the money. Nor is it known whether the prize money would be returned to race organisers and subsequently paid to the new winner, or whether the forfeiture would include bonuses paid by the team or sponsors.
He also faces the loss of his income until the ban expires in August.
The case itself has cost Contador a lot of money in legal fees alone. He may have paid up to 2 million Euros to his various lawyers already, Daniel Malbranque, former general secretary of the professional riders union, told Bloomberg.net.
“The money runs out very quickly in these cases,” he said. “He’s been paying lawyers non-stop for 18 months.”
In addition, Bloomberg reported that Contador lost at least one potential sponsor due to the doping case. A deal with Hugo Boss AG to supply him with clothing for public appearances was cancelled when the positive doping control became...