Movistar rider forwarded email offering illegal products to police
Xavier Tondo of Movistar has been identified as the pro cyclist who filed the complaint which resulted in the busting of a doping ring in Girona, Spain. Police in Catalonia arrested seven people this week in connection with the internet sale of performance-enhancing products.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Tondo received an email last December, which offered several doping products including EPO, human growth hormone, Nandrolone and Clenbuterol, all at special low prices. Tondo passed it along to the police.
According to inspector Jordi Domenach, most of the targeted consumers were amateurs or young people. One customer who testified before the police is a minor who said he used the products on the advice of his trainer, Jordi Riera. Riera is a former pro who rode the Giro d'Italia in 2003. He tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol and human chorionic gonadotrophin at the Volta a Catalunya in 2006, and was suspended for two years.
Riera declared his innocence in the recent case and said that the possessed drugs for which he was arrested were for an illness from which he suffers.
The doping products were offered over the internet. The EPO was allegedly stolen from a hospital in Barcelona, with other products being smuggled in from Portugal.
Tondo, 32, turned pro in 2003 and rode with a variety of Spanish and Portuguese teams before signing with Cervelo TestTeam in 2010. He finished sixth overall in the Vuelta a Espana last year, and this year won the time trial at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
Mosquera, 35, tested positive for hydroxyethel starch last year after finishing second in the Vuelta for the Xacobeo-Galicia team. A positive test for this product does not entail an automatic suspension. The team noted that the positive test occurred after they signed him.
The team “is waiting to have Spanish rider Ezequiel Mosquera compete in races,” it said in a press release. “Reason for this non-selection of the rider is that the rider has no decisive answer from the UCI regarding the investigation which is pending against him.
The UCI has given both the rider and the team permission to ride, but despite that, he “stays out of the roster. For the moment the team decided to wait with having Mosquera participate.”
The Dutch team, which this year moved up to ProTeam status, has had several blows lately. They suspended Riccardo Ricco after he was hospitalised in serious condition after allegedly giving himself a blood transfusion, which Italian investigators are investigating.
In addition, the UCI is said to be considering revoking its ProTeam licence. In its press release, the team pointed out that it “asked the UCI to not count Mosquera’s points for the UCI sporting hierarchy ranking. This to endorse an honest sport and not overestimate the value of the team.”
Team says decision based on violation of internal rules
Vacansoleil-DCM has fired Riccardo Riccò, the team announced on Saturday. “The violation of internal team rules and other indications justify this measure,” a statement read.
Riccò was admitted to hospital two weeks ago in serious condition after allegedly giving himself a blood transfusion. He is said to have suffered from kidney problems, followed by heart and lung infections.
According to the Vacansoleil-DCM press release, “the team started an internal investigation into the hospitalization of Riccò. This research led to a suspension of the rider. The study was then continued and Riccò was given the opportunity to give his version of the events.”
Following this, the team fired Riccò today. The violation of internal team rules and other indications justify this measure. Today Riccò was informed of his release through a registered letter.”
“I made an error, a very serious error that I won’t make again,” Biondo told Il Giorno. “I followed mistaken advice from a mistaken person.”
Biondo claims that his use of CERA was an isolated incident. Then riding for Ceramica Flaminia, the rider from Concorezzo obtained a string of impressive results in the summer of 2009. He was third in the Italian time trial championships in June, before winning a stage and finishing second overall at the Tour of Denmark.
“I’d never used illegal substances,” he insisted. “I’d gone strong without little helps, but then I fell into temptation.
“I deluded myself that a substance would have given me something more, and instead I ruined everything. It was stupid: I would have been capable of getting excellent results anyway and of featuring in the maglia azzurra.”
Although he turns 30 in May, Biondo is nonetheless confident that he can find a team when his suspension comes to an end towards the end of the season, in spite of his past.
“I have contacts and I want to start again from where I left off,” he said. “I hope to deserve the trust of whoever wants to believe in me.
Oman has confirmed it will make a formal bid to host the 2015 road world championships.
The second edition of the Tour of Oman ends on Sunday, and race organiser Eddy Merckx confirmed that the Arabian country wants to host the world championships. He offered his support and could possibly have a key role in the organisation of the championships.
"Professional cycling is gaining ground fast in the Middle East countries thanks to the strong will of local authorities, and the successes of the Tour of Oman and the Tour of Qatar," said Merckx in a statement.
"I am very confident that Oman will have enough experience by 2015 to flawlessly organise and host the World Championships. Add to that the enthusiasm of the Omani people for professional sporting events and a state-of-the-art local infrastructure, and the event will be a hit."
Other candidates for the 2015 world championships include Quebec in Canada and Richmond, Virginia in the United States. The UCI has indicated that it would like to hold a world championships outside of Europe every five years. In 2010, the world championships were held in Geelong, Australia.
In the statement issued by ASO, the technical organisers of the Tour of Oman on behalf of Merckx's management company, said the UCI will start the evaluation process to select to 2015 world championships host on March 1, 2011.
A decision is likely to be made at this year's world road race championships in Copenhagen in early October.
Former UCI President denies Floyd Landis' accusations of corruption
Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen criticised the media again for spending too much time writing about doping and called on journalists to question the validity of Floyd Landis' accusations.
Verbruggen made the comments to Cyclingnews in Oman on Saturday as he watched the time trial stage of the Tour of Oman. He admitted it was his first visit to a cycling race in five years, but he knew of Oman's bid to host the road world championships in 2015.
A decade ago Verbruggen, went on the offensive against the media for the detailed coverage of doping in cycling after the sport was rocked by the Festina scandal and a series of high-profile doping investigations.
Despite several other police investigations, detailed confessions from Floyd Landis and big-name doping cases since then, Verbruggen is still adamant that the media focuses far too much on doping.
"I think it's the mistake in communication that is made," Verbruggen told Cyclingnews.
"We have to accept that unfortunately in normal life you have crime, and in sport, that crime is doping. There are always people who will try to cheat."
When Cyclingnews pointed out that it is not the media that is involved in doping the riders, Verbruggen said, "It's not the media that dope (the riders) but it's the media that make the perception, they determine what the perception is."
"If you had another kind problem in the sport of one or two percent, you would talk about it that much, you wouldn't give it give it 50 percent of the space. That's thee problem. I don't blame the media. They have to do what they think they have to do. If they think they can sell you magazines best by talking about doping, then do that. It's a business decision in the end."
In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews the two riders talk about their initial falling out and how they made up and bonded over their love of eh... watches, laying the blame for most of the problem at the feet of the media
The two then discuss their hopes for the coming season with both riders picking Milan San Remo as their first major spring target. Both men have won the race and know what it takes to cross the line first in the Italian classic.
From there the Italian will take aim at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, while Cavendish could also ride both races in aid of his teammates.
Pozzato, no mean sprinter himself, acknowledges that Cavendish is the finest sprinter of his generation and has the time and ability to become the best of all time, while Cavendish praises the Italian’s class on the bike.