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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Date published:
October 06, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Europcar roster begins to take shape

    Pierre Rolland (BBox Bouygues Telecom) came close to taking the overall lead.
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 12:04 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Lefèvre, Bichot, Sprick and Le Floc'h released

    After confirming Europcar as a replacement sponsor for Bbox-Bouygues Telecom over the weekend, manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has set about finalising his line-up for 2011. The Frenchman e-mailed the team dossier to the UCI on Monday, including a list of the 19 riders so far confirmed to ride with the squad next season.

    Europcar will be led by French champion Thomas Voeckler, who pulled out of a potential move to Cofidis in order to ensure that the car-hire firm would come on board as team sponsor.

    “Without me, the sponsor wouldn’t have signed,” Voeckler told Ouest France. “[Europcar CEO] Philippe Guillemot told me so on the telephone. In giving my agreement, I saved the team and 50 people get to keep their jobs.”

    Another rider who will stay at the team is Pierre Rolland, and he may well be the first man to wear the new green and yellow kit, at the French cyclo-cross championships on January 9. Meanwhile the Professional Continental team will debut on the road at the Grand Prix Marseillaise on February 1.

    “After all these moments of doubt and uncertainty, it’s good to be able to plan for the future,” Rolland said to Ouest France. “We are all happy to be able to start again and defend the values of the team and of our cycling.

    “Beyond the leaders, like Thomas Voeckler and Anthony Charteau, there are young riders like Cyril Gautier and me. The team has lost Pierrick Fédrigo and we have to step up and find the means to compensate for that to ensure that the team shines in 2011.”

    Fédrigo left for FDJ along with William Bonnet and Steve Chainel, and Nicolas Vogondy (Cofidis), Johann Tschopp (BMC) and Yuriy Trofimov (Katusha) had also confirmed their departure in recent weeks as the team struggled to find a sponsor.

    Meanwhile, Freddy Bichot, Matthieu Sprick, Guillaume Le Floc'h and Laurent Lefèvre have...

  • Kohl: Not possible to win Tour de France without doping

    Bernhard Kohl at his anti-doping hearing in 2009.
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 14:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Suspended Austrian speaks at USADA science symposium

    Bernhard Kohl has said that it is not possible to win the Tour de France without resorting to doping. The Austrian appeared at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's annual science symposium on Monday in Leesburg, Va.

    "People know in cycling that's it's not possible to win the Tour de France without it," Bernhard Kohl told the website "It's three weeks, 3,000 km and you climb (the equivalent of) Mount Everest four times. That's just not possible."

    Kohl speaks from a position of considerable experience, having doped his way to a third-place finish in the 2008 race. He was subsequently revealed to have tested positive for CERA during the Tour and handed a two-year suspension. He has since retired from the sport.

    While Kohl wouldn't directly speculate on whether Alberto Contador had used doping products or methods, he noted that the average speeds ridden at the Tour might cause one to think so.

    "Floyd Landis won the Tour de France and his average speed was 40 kph," Kohl said. "This year it was Contador and it was also about 40. It was nearly the same average speed. Landis was doped. Maybe in 10 or 15 years, you can win (without drugs) if we work with the anti-doping movement."

    Kohl described his personal doping schedule, and how it enabled him to pass multiple doping tests.

    “I was tested 200 times during my career, and 100 times I had drugs in my body,” he said, according to the New York Times. “I was caught, but 99 other times, I wasn’t. Riders think they can get away with doping because most of the time they do. Even if there is a new test for blood doping, I’m not even sure it will scare riders into stopping. The problem is just that bad.”

    Richard Budgett, chief medical officer of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympics, praised Kohl's disclosures. "I think it gives an insight into the attitude, focus and detail they have,"...

  • Van Poppel joins Vacansoleil as sports director

    Jean-Paul Van Poppel will join Vacansoleil as sports director for 2011.
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 16:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Dutchman joins after two years as DS with Cervélo

    Vacansoleil has announced that Jean-Paul Van Poppel will join the team as sports director for 2011. Van Poppel arrives at the Dutch squad after two years as sports director with Cervélo TestTeam, which will disband at the end of the season.

    “Jean-Paul has been working in cycling for years, he has experience in managing a cycling team both inside and outside the races and, as a rider, he was also in the absolute top ranks,” said Vacansoleil team manager Daan Luijkx.

    “With the signing of Van Poppel we take another step in the further professionalization of the team.”

    Van Poppel, winner of nine Tour de France stages as a rider in the 1980s and 90s, will serve as sports director alongside Hilaire Vanderschueren and Michel Cornelisse, and assist Luijkx in the day-to-day management of the team.

    Vacansoleil has applied for a ProTour licence for the 2011 season but its chances were dealt a blow by the events of last week, when new signing Ezequiel Mosquera was revealed to have tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España. Meanwhile, Riccardo Riccò, who arrived from Ceramica Flaminia in August, was linked by reports in the Italian media to two separate doping investigations taking place in the country.

  • UCI publishes 20 teams seeking ProTeam licences in 2011

    UCI President Pat McQuaid speaks
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 16:56 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Europcar, Astana and Team Pegasus not on the list

    The UCI has published a list of twenty teams that have lodged their dossiers and sponsorship contracts with the governing body in order to apply for ProTeam licences in 2011. 24 teams had previously registered their interest in applying for ProTeam status but Europcar, Astana and the Australian Team Pegasus are not included on the UCI’s list published on Monday. The Milram teams had already disbanded and so did not follow up on its initial interest.

    Jean-René Bernaudeau received an extension while trying to secure a replacement sponsor for Bbox-Bouygues Telecom and it is understood that his Europcar squad will ride as a Pro-Continental team in 2011. It is as yet unclear as to the reasons for Astana and Team Pegasus’ absence from the list. The Australian team has yet to announce a title sponsor for 2011.

    Robbie McEwen assured Cyclingnews that the team did submit its application for a ProTour licence on time.

    “It must be a mistake because I know the team applied for a ProTour licence. Some one accompanied the whole application dossier from Brisbane to Switzerland last week,” he said.

    Ten teams are already assured of their ProTeam status for next season, while a further ten squads will compete for the remaining eight places. Provided that the UCI’s World Tour project does not draw opposition from race organisers, the 18 ProTeams will be guaranteed participation in all of the UCI World Tour events, including the three major tours.

    Teams were requested to lodge a dossier with the UCI on October 1st, incorporating sponsorship contracts, contracts with 12 riders, details of the team’s budget and a bank guarantee. New teams were also requited to submit a description of the team structure.

    Ten teams are already guaranteed ProTeam status in 2011, provided that no irregularities come to light before the end of the registration process on November 1 are: Ag2r, Katusha, Lampre...

  • Spanish government hits back at McQuaid

    UCI President Pat McQuaid hasn't shown his face much this week, but he was on the start line today.
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 20:55 BST
    Pete Cossins

    CSD director rejects claim that doping is not being taken seriously

    One of Spain’s leading sports administrators has hit back at UCI president Pat McQuaid’s criticism of the Spanish government’s lack of action on doping, insisting that McQuaid “knows perfectly well that in Spain we’re not turning a blind eye to doping”.

    Albert Soler, director-general of sport at the CSD, Spain’s principal sporting body, said that he has spoken to the UCI boss. “I had a conversation with him during his stay in Melbourne and he told me that he hadn’t said exactly what he was reported to have said,” said Soler.

    Speaking at the Worlds in Melbourne, McQuaid was quoted as saying: “I don’t want to stigmatise Spain but what I do say is that I hope that the Spanish government, with the laws it has – which along with France and Italy, has the strictest law against doping but to my mind up until today hasn't been properly implemented, that they would take note and realise that something needs to be done.”

    McQuaid also said: “There is a problem in Spain because a high percentage of our doping cases come from there. Up to now, it doesn’t seem like there is the willingness to tackle this and it’s up to the government to do so.”

    Soler affirmed: “Our approach to this issue is categorical. If it wasn’t, the World Anti-Doping Agency wouldn’t have re-elected [Spain’s minister for sport] Jaime Lissavetzky as a member of its executive. McQuaid, who is also on the executive committee, knows that perfectly well.

    “He knows that our position is one of zero tolerance towards doping, and for that reason we don’t allow any leeway at all on this in any sport nor to any athlete.”

    Soler added that the Spanish government will not be able to take any action on the four cases of doping involving Spanish riders until the UCI has officially confirmed results of the tests being...

  • Astana explains ProTeam omission

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) waves from the podium at Clasica San Sebastian
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 21:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Bank guarantee the issue

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced today a list of 20 teams which successfully met the October 1 deadline for submitting an application for ProTeam status for the 2011 season. Astana, one of eight ProTour teams whose licence expires this season and is up for renewal, was one of the teams listed by the UCI in mid-August as having applied for ProTeam status, but it was not one of the 20 teams announced today by the UCI.

    The Kazakhstan-based ProTour team confirmed, however, that it submitted an application, but stated in a press release that it was "not on the list of teams selected to the ProTour only temporarily because of a too short period for submission of the bank guarantee which will be forwarded to the UCI headquarters in the coming hours".

    In order for a team's ProTeam application to be accepted, all of the following needed to be in order by the October 1 deadline: the budget, the sponsorship contracts duly signed with the main partners, the bank guarantee, and 12 contracts with riders duly signed by the two parties.

    Once the UCI receives the bank guarantee from Astana, the team's application will be examined, but in the meantime, per UCI regulations, Astana faces an automatic increase in the registration fee of CHF 1,000 per day plus any rider has the right to terminate his present contract, without notice or liability for damages, through October 31.

    Monetary problems have plagued Astana previously as the existence of the squad had been under serious threat in 2009 due to a series of late payments that season. The financial troubles led to extra demands from the UCI for the 2010 season, including a bank guarantee covering the year's budget.

  • David Walsh weighs in on Contador case

    Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 23:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Author questions Clenbuterol claims, assesses cycling's state

    David Walsh, author of From Lance to Landis and LA Confidentiel has given his reaction to the news that Alberto Contador has tested positive for Clenbuterol and may have used blood transfusions during this year Tour de France.

    While Contador had vehemently denied altering his blood Walsh has also given a brutal assessment on the sport's governing body, the fans and the bare facts that clean riders face in the modern peloton.

    Walsh, who is also the chief sports writer for the Sunday Times told Cyclingnews: "I'm not surprised by Contador. I'm always a bit surprised that they're caught but I'm never surprised that they might be doing it.

    "I thought the whole idea of a guy coming from Spain and bringing meat to the Tour de France, it just didn't convince me. Who supplied the meat? Well Contador didn't know that even though he had a month to find out. He was told about this on the 24th of August, we're now talking six weeks later.

    "Where did this beef come from? What's the name of the shop? That's important because we want to go back to the shop and ask who supplies the beef and does it have Clenbuterol in.

    "You've now got Contador and Mosquera both in trouble and you have to think that this sport is going nowhere."

    In a previous interview with Cyclingnews, Walsh raised doubts over the strength of the UCI's biological passport as a drug busting tool. The programme was introduced in order to monitor and detect unusual patterns in riders' blood, but Walsh believes that the cheats have stayed ahead of the curve, using the passport to monitor their doping.

    "I think the passport system has certainly had an effect. It's led to lower dosing and riders taking much better care of how much stuff they take at one time but it doesn't mean they're not doping. The ones that are doping have to be more vigilant using less doping products than it the past. It's a controlling operation...

  • Pegasus in ProTour: Application encountered a glitch

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) in the red jersey
    Article published:
    October 06, 2010, 0:35 BST
    Les Clarke

    White hopes for speedy resolution to baffling situation

    Pegasus Racing CEO Chris White has explained that his team's absence on the UCI's list of 20 squads seeking a ProTour licence for 2011, announced yesterday, is due to a technical glitch of which he was only informed late last night.

    White told Cyclingnews, "I'm still in the dark about it. We submitted all details to the UCI - the requisite bank guarantees, business plans and rider roster - and I found out in the middle of the night that something had gone wrong."

    He explained that he tried to contact Ernst and Young Lausanne, which is handling the document compliance, organisation and submission in Switzerland, but its offices had closed for business by the time of his discovery that a problem existed.

    He gave assurances that a representative from the team was sent with the documentation to ensure its safe arrival ahead of the October 1 deadline, however.

    "We flew to the UCI Headquarters in Switzerland from Australia to lodge our application, confident of the integrity and robustness of our submission," White had earlier said in a press statement concerning the situation.

    "However, we were advised by the UCI yesterday that our application was non-compliant due to incomplete documentation. We immediately sought to clarify with the UCI and the process towards resolution is underway."

    White stated that the fact his team has yet to announce a headline sponsor for next year "was irrelevant" to the chances of the application being successful, citing the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project as an example of a squad that has its financial security guaranteed despite not declaring which company will sponsor it in 2011.

    "I believe we submitted a complete and compliant application to the UCI," said White, adding that he's confident the glitch can be rectified swiftly.

    White also explained that he is still looking for four riders to fill the team's roster that includes Robbie McEwen (above right),...