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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 25, 2013

Date published:
July 25, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Australian Olympic Athletes' Commission request O'Grady's resignation

    Gerrans and O'Grady both competed in the Beijing Games in 2008
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 3:51 BST
    Cycling News

    AOC President disappointed by EPO admission

    Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates has called for Stuart O'Grady to resign from his position on the Athletes' Commission.

    O'Grady, along with track gold medallist Anna Meares, were elected by their peers at the London Olympic Games last August for a four-year term. The elected athletes act in an advisory capacity to the AOC Executive.

    "Members of our London Olympic Team who elected Stuart to the Athletes' Commission are entitled to be angry knowing they had supported an athlete who had cheated" AOC President John Coates said in a media release.

    "Athletes' Commission members are chosen for their qualities of integrity and leadership and by his admission Stuart does not deserve to be a member of that group."

    Thirty-nine-year-old O'Grady admitted to using EPO before the 1998 Tour de France overnight following the release of the French Senate report which alleged that the Paris-Roubaix winner had returned a suspicious sample for EPO. O'Grady represented Australia at six Olympic Games both on the track and on the road. He won a gold medal with Graeme Brown in the madison at the Athens Games 

    AOC Secretary-General, Craig Phillips, has contacted O'Grady by email asking for his immediate resignation.

    Coates was supporting of the report, which covered other sports as well as cycling.

    "This was a shameful period for the sport of cycling which has been well documented, that is no excuse for the decision taken by Stuart O'Grady, and one can only hope that cycling and especially the Tour de France is cleaner as a...

  • Belkin sports director Jeroen Blijlevens implicated in French Senate's report

    Jeroen Blijlevens wins a stage of the 1998 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 5:08 BST
    José Been

    Had denied doping in Dutch federation disclosure

    Former Dutch sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens is the only rider from the Netherlands named on the list of EPO positives from re-tested 1998 Tour de France samples issued by the French Senate on Wednesday. Blijlevens is currently Belkin's sports director.

    Blijlevens was part of the 1998 TVM team and won the fourth stage of the Tour de France from Plouay to Cholet. The team left the Tour de France after soigneur Willy Voet was caught with banned substances in his car and team director Cees Priem was arrested by the French police.

    Forty-one-year old Blijlevens signed a declaration earlier this year where he stated to have never used doping. All riders and staff of the three Dutch cycling teams Blanco (now Belkin), Argos-Shimano and Vacansoleil-DCM plus the Dutch cycling union KNWU asked their staff four questions related to the use of banned substances. "We want to know the truth in order to provide closure to the past. Therefore we have held formal meetings to address this," Richard Plugge, manager of the then Blanco team stated on the team's website.

    Staff members and (former) riders of the three teams and the KNWU could confess before the 1st of April. The consequences of answering one of the four questions with a ‘yes' was a six-month suspension and loss of three months wages. Only Argos-Shimano sports director Rudi Kemna and KNWU talent coach and former Rabobank rider Grischa Niermann confessed and were suspended accordingly. The other questionnaires came back with four no's.

    When the results were published in April of this year Richard Plugge stated: "Everyone has participated and answered the questions we asked them. There were no doping confessions at Blanco."

    Today, the French Senate's list reveals Blijlevens did use EPO...

  • Vance: I was not aware of any doping by Stuart O'Grady

    Home town hero Stuart O'Grady
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 6:41 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Anti-doping consultant says riders are paying for the UCI's inaction

    Former World Anti-Doping Agency director and author of Orica GreenEdge's review of the team's anti-doping policies and procedures, Nicki Vance, says that Stuart O'Grady did not disclose his EPO use during her investigation. Vance has also told Cyclingnews that the fallout from the French Senate report is more evidence that cycling's governing body the UCI, has failed to adequately deal with the past in the wake of the investigation into Lance Armstrong and US Postal.

    On Wednesday, O'Grady revealed that he used EPO in the lead-up to the 1998 Tour de France.

    "I sourced it [EPO] myself. There was no one else involved. It didn't involve the team in any way," he told The Herald Sun.

    "I just had to drive over the border and buy it at any pharmacy. The hardest part of all this is I did it for two weeks before the Tour de France. I used extremely cautious amounts because I'd heard a lot of horror stories and did the absolute minimum of what I hoped would get me through. When the Festina Affair happened, I smashed it, got rid of it and that was the last I ever touched it."

    Following a record 17th Tour de France, O'Grady had announced his retirement from the sport on Monday, having months earlier signed on for a final season in 2014 with Orica GreenEdge.

    Vance told Cyclingnews that she was left with mixed feelings following the revelations of the past 24 hours.

    "I was not aware of any doping by Stuart O'Grady.

    "I'm disappointed for him that his career is now going to...

  • Riis ends association with Tinkoff Bank

    Contador hands over the new Saxo-Tinkoff jersey
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 10:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Seeks new co-sponsor for 2014

    Tinkoff Bank will no longer be a co-sponsor of Saxo-Tinkoff after this season, the team has announced. Team owner Bjarne Riis cited a lack of “common views” and disagreements as to how the team should be run. He will now start looking for a new co-sponsor for the coming season.

    "During the course of our extensive negotiations with Tinkoff Bank it has become clear that we are unable to settle on common views and the ideas that are necessary for our partnership to grow and be successful for both parties beyond 2013. Most importantly, we disagree on how the team should be run,” Riis said in team press release.

    “For all of these reasons, I have decided to explore other possibilities and end the negotiations with Tinkoff Bank. I would like to thank Oleg Tinkov personally and Tinkoff Bank for their great contribution to the team. I look forward to working with Tinkoff Bank for the rest of 2013, and will also take this opportunity to wish them all the best for the future.”

    Saxo Bank had already announced that it would stay with the team through 2014, “to help ensure the future of the team.” It has been with the team since 2008. Earlier this week, the bank admitted that there were difficulties with their negotiations with Oleg Tinkov for the coming year.

    "We already have a strong portfolio of partners onboard, and our key partner Saxo Bank have told us that they are ready to continue their sponsorship in 2014 and are willing to help us find a solution that benefit all parties involved. So I'm confident we will be able to continue to field a strong and competitive team in the years to come," Bjarne Riis added.

    Oleg Tinkov had in fact indicated on...

  • Jalabert acknowledges 1998 EPO positive but does not confess to doping

    Christophe Moreau and Laurent Jalabert in 1998
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 11:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman repeats claim that he followed team's medical advice

    Laurent Jalabert has issued a statement acknowledging his positive test for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France but has reiterated his previous claims that he had simply followed the instructions of the medical staff at his ONCE team.

    Jalabert was one of 18 riders named by the French Senate Commission report on doping on Wednesday as having returned a urine sample positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour. A further 12 samples were reported as suspicious. No test for EPO existed in 1998 but the samples were frozen and retrospectively tested for research purposes in 2004.

    That information was passed on to the French Senate Commission this year and the news that Jalabert’s name featured on the list of positive tests from the 1998 Tour was broken by L’Équipe last month.

    Jalabert had been called to give evidence before the commission in May, where he denied knowingly using banned substances but also said, “I can’t firmly say that I’ve never taken anything illegal.”

    In a statement released on Thursday, Jalabert’s lawyer said that his client acknowledged that his name had been listed in the French Senate Commission’s report.

    “His name is cited. He acknowledges this state of fact,” read the statement. “In keeping with his declarations before the senatorial commission of inquiry, he reiterates that he followed the prescriptions of the medical staff at his successive teams.

    “Although no element of law has been officially notified to him, Laurent...

  • Vuelta a Espana organizer ends contract with Olano

    1998 Vuelta winner Abraham Olano made an appearance during stage five.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 12:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard had served as technical director for 10 years

    Unipublic and Abraham Olano have mutually agreed to end his contract with the Vuelta a Espana. The Spaniard was one of those named as having a positive doping control for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France.

     Olano had served as the Vuelta's technical director since 2004, helping to plan the course. He had ridden professionally from 1992 to 2001, and in 1998 was with the Banesto team. He won both world championship titles in his career, on the road in 1995 and in the time trial in 1998. Olano won one Grand Tour during his career, the 1998 Vuelta a España. reported that Unipublic, which organises the Vuelta, held a meeting with Olano on Thursday morning in which they mutually agreed to terminate his contract, as a result of the doping disclosure.

    On Wednesday afternoon, Olano had issued a statement in which he said he was “surprised by being on a list of names when I have not tested positive. I don't understand how it can go now. They have to prove it.”

    "I was always under the control and custody of the team and its medical service. I absolutely do not consider myself guilty. I never had the feeling that I was doing anything illegal.”

  • Zabel not yet prepared to comment on 1998 EPO positive

    Erik Zabel won an incredible six consecutive green jerseys at the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 13:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Sprinter had earlier confessed to one-time EPO use in 1996

    Erik Zabel's name appeared on the list of those who tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France. The German sprinter had already confessed to using EPO – one time only, in 1996, as he tearfully told a press conference in 2007. He is not yet ready to explain the positive test from two years later.

    “First I have to wait for the official report and do some soul-searching,” he told the German tabloid BILD.  “I don't know what sample was analysed. We have to know that and then there will be a statement.”

    In May 2007, Zabel appeared at a press conference together with Rolf Aldag and he admitted to having used EPO during the first week of the Tour de France 1996. The side-effects were so great, however, that he stopped with it immediately.

    The tears came when he spoke of his son Rick, who will ride for BMC Racing Team next year. "My son rides, too, and I don't want him to go through what I went through," he said.

    German anti-doping crusader Werner Franke was not impressed. “In cycling you don't get anywhere if you don't cheat. Being a cheating gangster, you usually need talent as an actor. Zabel does that with his tears.”

    Zabel, 43, rode professionally from 1993 to 2008. He won the green jersey at the Tour de France six times, including 1996 and 1998. Since 2012 he has been a coach at Team Katusha, which has not yet commented on the situation.

    Zabel is also Sport Director for the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany's only WorldTour race. It is not yet known whether he will continue in that role for the race, which will be held on August 25.

    “We will sit down with Erik Zabel and our biggest sponsor Vattenfall and talk about it,” Upsolut Sports spokesman...

  • Tinkov to start new team in 2014

    Tinkoff team owner Oleg Tinkov at the race.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 15:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian says poor results made him leave Saxo-Tinkoff

    Oleg Tinkov has said that he will “stop sponsoring Riis Cycling” after the end of this season, indicating that it was his decision. Earlier today Bjarne Riis said that he was ending his association with Tinkoff Bank, saying that he had decided to stop the negotiations.

    On his Facebook page, Tinkov said that he was stopping with the Danish team for two reasons, the first of which was “poor sporting merits in 2013 season”.  On his Twitter account, the Russian had criticised Alberto Contador for his performance in the recent Tour de France.

    The second reason was the creation of a new project. “From January 2014, we will start to build our own cycling team 'Tinkoff Credit Systems. This will be BIG project with 5 years commitment,” Tinkov wrote.

    He previously ran the Tinkoff Restaurants Continental-ranked team in 2006, before transforming it to the Tinkoff Credit Systems team (Professional Continental) for the 2007-2008 seasons.

    Tinkov, 45, praised his now-former partner. “I respect Bjarne Riis as a sport manager, I still disagree with him as a team manager. I wish the best to Bjarne and Riis cycling to find a new sponsor, even in today's challenging economics. And hope we could cooperate in some point of time."