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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, February 5, 2012

Date published:
February 05, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • WADA head expects sharing of Armstrong evidence

    blank
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 0:06 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Anti-doping agencies could take action

    Despite the US Attorney closing an investigation into the US Postal Service team and Lance Armstrong, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) head still expects that evidence gathered in the case will be shared with anti-doping authorities.

    The agency today issued a statement from its president, John Fahey, who noted that the federal government's interest in the case centered around allegations of fraud - that sponsor money coming from the government agency was used for doping - but that any evidence of anti-doping rule violations by the team and its riders would be the domain of the anti-doping agency.

    "...A large amount of the evidence gathered is likely to be highly pertinent to doping and WADA expects that this evidence will be shared with relevant anti-doping authorities for them to determine whether any breaches of the anti-doping rules have occurred," Fahey said.

    Now that the federal government's investigation has concluded, Fahey said that WADA anticipates any evidence "can be handed over quickly for the anti-doping agencies to take appropriate action".

    While doping for performance gain is not against the law in the US, Fahey noted that the country is a signatory to the WADA code, and it has also ratified a UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.

    Because the WADA code is a non-government document which only applies to members of sports organisations, the UNESCO convention was created to give governments a legal framework to address doping in sport, presumably paving the way for such cooperation between the federal investigators and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

    USADA CEO Travis Tygart indicated yesterday that his agency is prepared to obtain evidence from the government toward its own investigation "of doping in cycling".

     

  • Cavendish starts in Tour of Qatar

    Mark Cavendish (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 9:44 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    World champion recovered from illness

    Mark  Cavendish has recovered from his illness and was scheduled to be at the start of the first stage of the Tour of Qatar on Sunday. He is making his debut for Team Sky in the race.

    Cavendish fell ill on the flight from London to Doha, Qatar, on Friday evening and skipped training on Saturday, remaining under the supervision of the team's medical staff.

    “We’re all delighted that Mark has been able to battle back from the bug he picked up coming out here and it will be a real boost to the rest of the guys to know that he’ll be starting today,” said sport directors Steven de Jongh.

    “Our medical team have done a fantastic job in looking after him and Mark has followed their advice to the letter. Clearly, he’s not going to be at his best in the next few days but we’re hoping he’ll get stronger with every passing stage.

    “We’ll continue to keep a very close eye on him but hopefully he’s over the worst of it now.”

  • Armstrong investigation was a complicated PR case, says Roberts

    It's still about the bike: Lance Armstrong back in the saddle
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 10:21 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Former Sports Illustrated writer on difficulty of proving federal fraud

    In 2011 Selena Roberts co-wrote a number of the most important articles on the US Federal investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. Roberts left Sports Illustrated at the end of 2011, but she believes that a number of reasons may have led to the closing of the federal investigation into the seven-time Tour de France winner last Friday.

    "It was always going to be a very difficult road for the feds for several reasons. This wasn't going to be just a doping case, this was going to be about fraud against the United States government. So it's not about whether he did or didn't [dope], it's did he commit fraud against the government? That's a high threshold," Roberts told Cyclingnews.

    "Number two, it's not easy for the feds to take on Lance Armstrong because he's a very powerful force. He has many resources and he's a hero to a lot of people. It was a complicated legal case but it was also a very complicated PR case."

    While public reaction from a number of parties that gave evidence in the case has been muted, Cyclingnews understands that the United States Attorney Andre Birotte's announcement came as a huge shock to many of those involved. Roberts, who worked on a number of controversial and high-profile stories during her time at Sports Illustrated, was taken aback by the timing and scenario in which the ruling was made.

    "I was more surprised about the way the US attorney handled it by delivering his decision so late on the East Coast on the Friday before the Super Bowl. It's a pretty easy way, and perhaps not the gutsiest way to deliver the news," she said.

    "This is a very different case than the one with Barry Bonds, I think a lot of people realised that when...

  • Fränk Schleck begins season in Mallorca

    Luxembourg champion Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 11:13 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Luxembourg brothers building towards Paris-Nice

    Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) gets his 2012 season underway in Mallorca on Sunday, as he lines up in the Trofeo Palma alongside his brother Andy. The Luxembourg brothers already trained in Mallorca in January, and Fränk believes the Balearic event provides a perfect transition from training to racing.

    “It’s a criterium, so it’s ideal for turning the legs,” Schleck told Le Quotidien. “We’re going there calmly, because it’s time to start again. All the team is happy to be there, it’s a good work out. Of course we won’t be looking for results here. For us, the first test will be Paris-Nice.”

    After competing in Mallorca, the Schleck brothers will not together ride again in February, as Andy will race the Tour of Oman, while Fränk lines up at the Ruta del Sol. The pair will be reunited as part of a strong RadioShack-Nissan line-up at Paris-Nice in March, a race in which Schleck expects teammate Andreas Klöden to shine.

    “I’ve often done well in this race,” Schleck said. “[This year] the route goes through Mende, and in general it will be hard. Ok, Mende doesn’t really suit us, as the climb there is short and steep, it suits the puncheurs. The last day there’s the time trial up the Col d’Eze, a climb we know well.

    “I think it’s going to suit Andreas Klöden perfectly. He won the race twelve years ago on that exact final stage. But with Andy, we’ll definitely be in good form.”

    Now 31 years of age, the elder of the Schleck brothers is aware that, at least in theory, he has...

  • Milano-Torino confirmed for 2012

    Di Luca wins Milano-Torino in 2005
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 12:26 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Classic returns to calendar on September 26

    Milano-Torino returns to the cycling calendar in 2012 after a five-year hiatus, with this year’s event confirmed for Wednesday, September 26. The race is owned by RCS Sport, and the Giro d’Italia organiser has reached an agreement which allows the Associazione Ciclistica Arona to organise it for the next three seasons.

    Italian cycling’s oldest classic, the first Milano-Torino took place in 1876, and until 1987, the race traditionally took place the week before Milan-San Remo in March. It was subsequently switched to an October date, and along with the Giro del Piemonte and the Tour of Lombardy, it formed part of the “Trittico di Autunno” sequence of season ending races.

    RCS returned Milano-Torino to its March slot in 2005, but the experiment lasted for just three years. Although officially Milano-Torino swapped its place on the calendar with the Strade Bianche (then Eroica) in 2008, the race ultimately did not take place that October, and has not been held since. Danilo Di Luca remains the last winner of Milano-Torino, when he outsprinted Juan Mauricio Soler in 2007.

    The 2012 edition takes place the day before Gran Piemonte, in the week between the world championships and the Tour of Lombardy.

    “Milano-Torino is the oldest race in Italy, its first edition took place in 1876 and we’re delighted to organise it,” AC Arona president Giorgio Sinigaglia told Gazzetta dello Sport. “That first race was won by Paolo Magretti, an engineering student who took part along with seven other riders. They left at 4 in the morning, and Magretti was the first to reach the finish on Via Giulio Cesare in Turin, greeted by a crowd of over 10,000 people.”

    The...

  • Contador flying home to await CAS decision

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 13:26 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final ruling on Clenbuterol doping case expected midday Monday

    Alberto Contador rode the Trofeo Palma on Sunday before returning to Madrid to learn his fate. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to issue its ruling Monday on the Saxo Bank rider's Clenbuterol doping case.

    Sunday's race cold conceivably be his final racing day of the season, as rumours furiously circulated that he would receive a six-month to one-year ban. Other rumours say that the Spaniard already has been told that he will be cleared.

    Contador arrived on Mallorca Saturday night, and according to AS.com, went to the island and today's race because a contract between Saxo Bank and race organizers stipulated his mandatory participation.

    The Spanish website said that Contador will fly to Madrid and be with his family in Pinto to hear the news from the court in Switzerland, set to be announced at noon on Monday.

    The case stems from a positive doping control for Clenbuterol on the second rest day of the 2010 Tour de France. Contador has claimed that it came from contaminated meat, and the Spanish cycling federation acquitted him, saying he ingested it through no fault of his own.  The UCI and the WADA appealed that decision to the CAS.

  • USADA may struggle to study all evidence in Lance Armstrong investigation

    Super domestique Lance Armstrong prior to the start.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 16:52 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    United States Attorney's Office legally bound on what they can share

    USADA may find themselves unable to study all of the documentation and evidence gathered by the FDA in the investigation surrounding Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. The criminal investigation was closed on Friday when the United States Attorney's Office declared that no charges relating to Armstrong and other individuals would follow.

    It brought an end to a two year investigation but the news was quickly followed by USADA issuing a statement in which they said that they "looked forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation."

    However that information may not be readily available. Thom Mrozek, the Public Affairs Office at the United States Attorney's Office has told Cyclingnews that certain legalities relating to the types of evidence involved may be a factor.

    "What we announced was that a criminal investigation had been closed and that no charges had been brought. So in terms of this criminal investigation that we were undertaking, it has been concluded," Mrozek told Cyclingnews.

    "There may be other things, like the US Anti-Doping Agency put out a statement saying they were continuing to investigate something or another, but that would not be a criminal investigation. They can't put someone in prison or get a fine out of them like a criminal court could," he said. However, USADA could hand Armstrong a retroactive sporting ban and strip him of his racing results if it concludes an anti-doping rule violation occurred based upon the evidence obtained.

    On whether the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles would provide all evidence gathered, Mrozek added: "No, not necessarily. This comes down to certain rules, and laws and policies at the United States...

  • Video: Boonen happy with Qatar win

    Tom Boonen dons the leader's jersey in Qatar
    Article published:
    February 05, 2012, 20:56 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Race footage and interviews from Tour of Qatar

    The sprinter's fest that is the Tour of Qatar got underway on Sunday, with Belgian Tom Boonen claiming the opening stage for his Omega Pharma-Quickstep team. The former world champion beat youngster Adam Blythe (BMC) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the sprint.

    "This is a race that really suits me because most of the time you arrive at the finish with everyone having done a lot of work, and all the sprinters are tired at the finish, and I'm probably one of the best in the world when everyyone's tired. Today was a real sprint with everyone really fresh. I'm really happy with this win, it shows me that I've been working OK," Boonen said.

    World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) was not a factor in the sprint, but the fact that he was even on the start line was encouraging. Cavendish fell ill after his flight to Qatar, but said before the start that he's on the mend.