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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 11, 2010

Date published:
November 11, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Cyclist first to be tried under Austrian anti-doping law

    The peloton takes in some Austrian scenery.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 10:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rider charged with dealing in EPO and testosterone

    A former pro cyclist is the first athlete to be tried under Austria's new anti-doping laws, which carry criminal sanctions. The cyclist, whose name has not been officially released, will face the court on charges of dealing in forbidden substances starting November 17 in Vienna.

    It is the first such case under the country's anti-doping law, which took effect in August 28.

    In Austria, the full names of persons under arrest and on trial are not released. When he was arrested, K was identified as a moderately successful rider at national level, who apparently rode on a Continental-ranked team.

    K, 34, was arrested in the autumn of 2009 and was suspended by the national federation. He admitted to the “Soko Doping” (special doping investigators) that he had bought EPO, testosterone and other products for doping from a Viennese pharmacy from 2004 until the end of 2006. He then found a new source and from 2007 until his arrest in 2009 purchased products not only for himself, but also for at least five other athletes, whose identities have not yet been released.

    He is being charged with violating the anti-doping law by dealing in prohibited products after the law went into effect in August 2008.

  • WADA chief clarifies night time controls recommendation

    Director General of the WADA, David Howman
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 11:41 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Howman responds to UNCP criticism

    World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general David Howman has clarified that the night time controls recommended by independent observers of the Tour de France’s anti-doping programme would not take place in the middle of the night.

    He also issued a reminder that WADA is an organisation that supervises anti-doping in sport, but ultimately is not responsible for conducting tests at the Tour.

    Howman’s statement came in response to comments from Pascal Chanteur, the head of the French professional cyclists’ union (UNCP). Chanteur yesterday stated that night time controls would mean that riders were treated like “guinea pigs.”

    “The remarks attributed to the UNCP are unfortunately founded on erroneous information,” Howman said in L’Équipe. “WADA is not an agency charged with carrying out anti-doping tests. WADA is an independent international organisation responsible for supervising the fight against doping in sport.”

    Howman went on to explain that the report on drug testing at the 2010 Tour was made by independent observers and not by WADA itself. He also underlined that the observers’ recommendations had been misinterpreted in some quarters.

    “It was the independent observers invited to the Tour by the UCI, and not WADA itself, who made a certain number of recommendations in relation to the anti-doping programme at the 2010 Tour,” he said.

    “These observers published their report two weeks ago. One of their recommendations was to test the riders more often with controls early in the morning or late at night, at less predictable times, and not in the middle of the night as the UNCP claims."

    “WADA always encourages and welcomes all comments and propositions that can improve the fight against doping," Howman continued. "We particularly welcome suggestions that come from sportspeople, as long as these...

  • ASO and UCI agree that Rasmussen is clear to ride the Tour de France

    Embattled Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 12:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Both organizations deny any obstacle to Dane's return, provided he finds a team

    Michael Rasmussen would be allowed to ride the Tour de France again, according to both the Tour organizer and the International Cycling Union (UCI), even if both organizations seem to think that the other might not want to allow it.

    There has been much discussion lately in the Danish media lately about the possibility of Bjarne Riis signing Rasmussen for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard for the coming year, with the team manager not making a definite statement on his plans.

    Rasmussen was removed from the 2007 Tour de France while leading the race, and subsequently suspended for two years for lying about his whereabouts in the lead-up to the Tour. Since returning to racing in 2009, he has continued to look for a team with which he can again ride the Grand Tours.

    One of the potential drawbacks of signing the Dane is the question of whether the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) would allow him to enter the Tour again, and so Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet posed that very question.

    “There is no formality that would prevent Michael Rasmussen from participating in the Tour de France. He has served his sentence, and if there is a perception that he is not welcome, you must ask the UCI about the cause," said ASO spokesman Mathieu Desplats.

    The newspaper thus called UCI president Pat McQuaid, who, it said, sighed audibly when Rasmussen's name was mentioned. He reiterated that the Dane is free to ride again.

    “Rasmussen can ride races. He has served his sentence and if Riis signs him, it's purely a matter between him and Rasmussen.” said McQuaid.

    When asked if he thought that the ASO had blacklisted Rasmussen, he replied, “You must ask the ASO about that. There are no formalities which obstruct Michael Rasmussen's eventual return to the Tour de France.”

    Desplats was surprised at the suggestion that the ASO would block Rasmussen's participation. “He said that? Well,...

  • Nibali says wind a threat during Giro's Etna stage

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) was looking to cap a dream season with a win at Lombardy.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 13:16 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Vuelta winner reconnoitres Sicilian stage

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) has warned that the wind atop Mount Etna could wreak havoc on the 2011 Giro d’Italia when the race visits Sicily. The Vuelta a España winner returned to the island this week to reconnoitre the stage from his birthplace Messina to the summit of the volcano.

    “I had a taste of what we might meet the day of the stage,” Nibali told Gazzetta del Sud afterwards. “When I started off it was warm, but as I climbed the temperature dropped and by the time I got to the summit it was only 5 degrees Celsius.

    “But what struck me most and caused me most problems was the wind: it’s crazy, both in terms of the force of the gusts and the cold. We’ll see how the weather is in May, but we’ll have to take account of it.”

    Nibali is hugely motivated at the prospect of racing on home roads in a Giro where he will start as one of the favourites for overall victory, but for now he is simply pleased to have had the opportunity to tackle a climb he hadn’t faced since he was a child.

    “It was just a gentle spin, a first approach to discover both sides of Mount Etna, seeing as I had only been up there once before as boy,” Nibali said.

    On that occasion, the ten-year-old Nibali needed some assistance from his mother’s car to conquer the summit but he is planning to train again on the climb before May 15: “I’ll certainly have the chance to come back and study it in depth and then prepare this stage as best as possible.”

    “Every time that you climb this volcano it’s a special experience,” Nibali continued. “To arrive at the summit is a most beautiful feeling, pedalling through the snow and at the same time being able to look down towards the sea. It’s a beautiful, unique landscape and it’s...

  • Kelly: Tour points changes will boost battle for green

    Sean Kelly in Morzine at the 1988 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 14:34 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Hilly final weeks likely to suit World Champion Hushovd

    Four-time Tour de France green jersey winner Sean Kelly believes significant changes to the points classification at the 2011 Tour will encourage sprinters like Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd to adopt more aggressive tactics in their expected battle for the green jersey.

    At last month's 2011 Tour de France route presentation in Paris, race organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) announced a plan that will see more points awarded at stage finishes and the number of intermediate sprints reduced from two to just one per stage. In addition, rather than the first three riders collecting six, four and two points, respectively at intermediate sprints, the new format will see 15 riders collect points, with 20 points on offer for the first rider over the line. Kelly told Cyclingnews that the renewed format will see the major sprinters show more interest in the intermediate prime than at present.

    "If you have a stage with a climb at the beginning then it's going to be suited more towards a rider like Thor Hushovd because he's going
    to make his team ride hard to get rid of the sprinters. But on the flatter stages there will be a situation where Cavendish puts his team on the front to control the race and he's going to go for the intermediate sprint the same way as the finish," he said. "It's going to work both ways; it's going to be a varied situation."

    While the final layout of the Tour stages will not be revealed until next June, just four of the 12 stages that make up the final two weeks of the race have been classified as flat by organisers. During his own career Kelly demonstrated the advantage of climbing ability in the chase for green, with his final points classification win in 1989 coming off the back of a ninth place finish overall.

    "I started out at that Tour going for a place in the general classification, thinking about a place on the podium. But I always had the green jersey in my mind. Just in...

  • Porte happy to see out Saxo Bank contract

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) enjoys racing in Italy.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 17:48 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian aiming to ride two grand tours in 2011

    Richie Porte has said that he is happy to honour his contract at Saxo Bank, in spite of rumours towards the end of the season linking him with a move away from the team. The Australian also said that he believes he can ride two grand tours in 2011.

    “The thing about that was that people forgot I had a contract, and it’s not easy to break a contract,” Porte told Cyclingnews from Monaco. “I’m very happy at Saxo Bank. Last year it was such a big deal to sign for the team. Bjarne [Riis] showed a lot of faith in putting me on the team, so I owe it to him to finish out my contract with him.”

    Porte was the subject of intense transfer speculation in September, with Team Sky reportedly poised to snap him up. Given that Saxo Bank were already facing an exodus of talent due to the formation of the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, team manager Riis was understandably keen to hold on to his charge.

    However, if Porte continues to develop as he did during his remarkable 2010 season, he will have no shortage of suitors when his contract at Saxo Bank expires at the end of 2011.

    “I’m just thinking about next season for now, but when the time comes it will be interesting,” he explained. “Having said that, I’d love to stay with Bjarne for a while.”

    While the departures of marquee-name riders such as the Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara have dominated the headlines, Porte pointed out that the loss of so many members of the team’s backroom staff would have no less significant an impact on the dynamic of the squad.

    “A lot of the staff will be gone too and I think that’s the sort of thing that’s been overlooked,” Ported said. “Bobby Julich’s gone to Sky and we’ve lost some other good staff as well, so it’s totally different.”

    One man who may be going in the opposite direction is Michael...

  • Raisin Hope Auction offers Hushovd's Tour de France green jersey

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) attacked ahead of the Col du Tourmalet and made the main peloton, regaining the green jersey through points at the finish.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 17:50 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Auction raises funds for Traumatic Brain Injury survivors

    Saul Raisin continues to support survivors of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) through his fourth annual Raisin Hope Auction to be held from November 21-28 on eBay. The former Credit Agricole rider and head trauma survivor will auction off four pieces of cycling memorabilia including Thor Hushovd's green jersey won at the 2009 Tour de France, signed by the Norwegian sprinter himself.

    "Thor is a good friend of mine and a really good guy," Raisin told Cyclingnews of his former teammate. "This auction has been really successful and we have raised tens of thousands of dollars from conducting this auction. It is a great opportunity to give back to others. Each year all the proceeds go directly to our foundation and then we give away 100 percent to other organizations that are fighting traumatic brain injuries."

    Other items to be auctioned off include a signed poster of the famed-Belgian cyclist Eddie Merckx, a sign former Giro d'Italia winner Andy Hampsten poster and a 10-foot tall banner of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

    Raisin is the founder of the Raisin Hope Foundation that provides support and awareness for survivors of brain injuries and their families. The foundation outlines three main goals, to support brain injury research, offer information about medical, physical and emotional recovery and promote public awareness and understanding of people with disability as a result of brain injury.

    "When you look at how life changing and devastating a brain injury is, there is a risk that there is very little out there for those people," Raisin said. "The people who donate to Raisin Hope touch me because my family and I visit hospitals call the friends and families of people with brain injuries just to be there for them. I like to think that we have touched the lives of thousands of people, if not more."

    Raisin was involved in a devastating crash on April 4 in 2006 while racing at the Circuit de la...

  • Pantani yellow jersey stolen from Milan exhibition

    Marco Pantani rides to victory at the 1998 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 19:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Museo del Ghisallo appeals for information

    A yellow jersey worn by Marco Pantani has been stolen from a special display at the Milan Bicycle and Motorcycle Exhibition. The jersey was taken from a glass cabinet at FieraMilano complex in Rho, on the outskirts of Milan. The theft occurred on the night of Saturday, November 6.

    The jersey was donated by Pantani’s family to the Madonna del Ghisallo cycling museum in 2006. It was at the Milan exhibition as part of a special display honouring the achievements of three-time Giro d’Italia winner Fiorenzo Magni.

    The late Pantani wore the jersey en route to victory in the 1998 Tour de France. That year he became the seventh man to complete the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double.

    The Museo del Ghisallo has launched an appeal for information that might aid in the return of the jersey. The curators may be contacted by email at