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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 18, 2012

Date published:
October 18, 2012, 16:00
  • Spain's Attorney General to launch criminal proceedings against Armstrong?

    George Hincapie (US Postal) leads team captain Lance Armstrong during the 2002 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 02:57
    Cycling News

    Spanish anti-doping agency examining USADA documents

    Spanish prosecutors are currently weighing up whether to open criminal proceedings against Lance Armstrong and his associates after explicit details of the group's activities were revealed in the USADA Reasoned Decision documentation.

    El Pais reports that the Spanish anti-doping agency (AEA) is currently examining USADA's extensive report into "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen," with many of the illicit activities taking place in Spain.

    The Spanish government did not pass anti-doping law until 2006 and so given the timing of the activities within the U.S. Postal case, the Attorney General will need to decide if there were any crimes committed against public health.

    Armstrong moved from Nice, France to Girona, Spain in 2000 joining a number of his teammates including George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton who had been there since 1997.

    Two of the doctors implicated in the case, Pedro Celaya and Luis Garcia del Moral are Spanish nationals with the latter hit with a lifetime ban. Celaya chose to fight his case in arbitration. Team trainer Jose 'Pepe' Marti, another Spanish national is also contesting the charges. U.S Postal team director also lived in Valencia.


  • Former Langkawi winner Monsalve joins Farnese Vini - Selle Italia

    Overall Tour de Langkawi winner Jonathan Monsalve (Androni Giocattoli)
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 04:19
    Cycling News

    Venezuelan signs two-year deal with Scinto’s team

    Former Le Tour de Langkawi winner Jonanthan Monsalve, currently riding for Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela, has signed a two-year deal to ride for the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team. The 23-year-old entered the professional ranks in 2010 when he signed for Gianni Savio's squad and will move to another primarily Italian team for next season.

    Monsalve wasn’t able to repeat his stage win and overall victory at Langkawi this year and has had little in the way of personal results however, at this year’s edition he dedicated his efforts to assisting his teammate Jose Serpa to a second overall victory. Another one of the Venezuelan’s teammates Jose Rujano - who won the Malaysian race in 2010 - finished second overall in the general classification.

    Team manager of the Farnese Vini team, Luca Scinto was happy to offer the young rider a two-year contract to give him time to develop his climbing potential. He is expected to ride next year’s Giro d’Italia, assuming the team is offered an invitation for the 2013 edition.

    "Jonathan is a young rider with great potential, ready to grow into a good team that is going to pay attention to their performance, Scinto said on Biciciclismo.

    "He is a very strong climber and good rider on medium mountain stages. To do this we decided to sign a two-year contract with him, so he can take the time to grow. I am sure that with him in the Giro d'Italia, if we receive the invitation, we could do something special in the mountain stages," said Scinto.

    Monsalve is expected to join Francesco Chicchi who is reportedly leaving Omega Pharma-Quickstep at the end of 2012. The UK-registered team is also expected to change their name to Vini Fantini - Selle Italia for the coming year.


  • Peiper joins BMC as performance director

    Allan Peiper
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 08:48
    Cycling News

    New role for Australian after year at Garmin-Sharp

    BMC Racing have confirmed that Allan Peiper is to join the squad as performance director. Peiper spent the 2012 season as directeur sportif at Garmin-Sharp but revealed on Wednesday that he would be leaving the team at the end of this month.

    Peiper’s responsibilities at BMC will include overseeing “altitude/training camps” as well as equipment testing, race reconnaissance, rider nutritional needs and velodrome testing.

    "Teams have gotten so big in the last few years – with nearly 30 riders, a lot of staff, and many races on many continents," Peiper said. "Getting things like wind tunnel testing, training camps, data analysis and feedback to riders and coaches to make sure everyone is on the same page is a big job. I think that will be the big challenge for me in the first year."

    Peiper has already worked with Cadel Evans during his two years as a directeur sportif at Davitamon-Lotto (2006-2007). The Australian then moved on to Team Highroad, which included current BMC riders Marco Pinotti and Tejay van Garderen.

    "I'm familiar with a few of the guys," Peiper said. "I feel I can really enhance the work of the entire team, which will give the riders a more coordinated service."

    The role of performance director is a new one, and BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue said that Peiper would keep an eye to “the latest innovations” and serve as a link between the riders and the management staff.

    “That way, the directors can concentrate solely on the riders, the selection of riders for races, and race strategy,” Lelangue said. “Basically, he'll be involved in all the things that make the difference between being second or third or being first."




  • Verbruggen denies Kathy LeMond's story of cover-up payment

    Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen is at the Tour of Oman.
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 09:28
    Cycling News

    Ex-UCI chief says “no evidence” of positive doping control at 1999 Tour de France

    Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has denied stories that he was paid $500,000 to cover up a positive doping test for Lance Armstrong in 1999. “Armstrong has never tested positive,” he said in a text message to De Telegraaf.  “There is no trace of evidence.”

    “There are many, many stories and insinuations,” according to the 71-year-old. “But anyone who knows the control knows that there is nothing to regulate.”

    Verbruggen was president of the UCI from 1991 to 2005, a time period which which includes all of Armstrong's Tour de France wins.

    Earlier this week Cyclingnews reported on Kathy LeMond's deposition from the 2006 SCA case. She testified under oath that former US Postal mechanic Devries had told her and others that Nike and a part-owner of the team had transferred the money to a private Swiss account belonging to Verbruggen.

    The money was allegedly sent to cover up a 1999 positive drug test for corticosteroids, which Armstrong claimed to have used to treat saddle sores.

    “Mrs. LeMond's story is so absurd that it is not worth an official statement,” he said.

    Verbruggen subsequently issed a “vehement protest” against De Telegraaf's story. “While giving the impression that it is about a complete interview, I simply sent some sms to these two gentlemen [De Telegraaf's reporters - ed.] giving a reaction on Ms Lemond's statement that a sum of money had been paid in order to cover up a positive test of Lance Armstrong,” he said in a statement issued by the UCI on Thursday morning.

    “My reaction was strictly limited to the fact that Lance Armstrong was never found positive by the anti-doping laboratories, that there was no positive test and that there was nothing to be covered up.

    "That article wrongly suggests that I would have stated that notwithstanding the USADA file there is no evidence against Lance Armstrong. I made no statement at all on this subject."

    De Telegraaf has since published the full sms exchange between its reporter Hans Ruggenberg and Verbruggen, which contradicts Verbruggen's assertion.

    Hein Verbruggen: Who is this? Hein
    Hans Ruggenberg [De Telegraaf]: Hi Hein. Hans Ruggenberg of De Telegraaf. Called you for an opinion on the latest developments.
    Hein Verbruggen: Hello Hans, given the madness and nonsense, I decided not to give interviews or statements until it’s quieter. But if you want off the record information then please call. I’m in China. H.
    Hans Ruggenberg: Ok Hein. Understandable. I would like a reaction for the newspaper. Off the record information is difficult in this case, as you can imagine. Let me know if you want to give a statement. Hans.
    Hein Verbruggen: All I can say is that there are many, many stories and suspicions, but no trace of PROOF. There is none. LA never tested positive, not even by USADA. And those who know control procedures know that there is nothing to arrange etc etc.
    Hans Ruggenberg: Pity that tomorrow’s newspaper is already gone. It will be in the next day. Best of luck with everything and thanks for your comment. Greetings, Hans.

  • Bruyneel vows to continue fight against USADA charges

    Team manager Johan Bruyneel has finalized Radioshack's 2010 roster.
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 09:40
    Cycling News

    Belgian federaton starts proceedings

    Johan Bruyneel has said that he will continue his fight against USADA's charges, although he is “stunned” at the agency's breach of confidentiality in the case. He is also facing the first round of questioning on the matter before the Belgian cycling federation.

    Bruyneel was named as a "key player" in doping practices at the US Postal team in USADA's Reasoned Decision. Last week RadioShack-Nissan announced that it was ending its association with him.

    In a statement published on his personal website, he said, “in deference to the on-going legal proceedings, I will only be able to share my account of events once legal proceedings are over. While I am still stunned that USADA chose to breach the confidentiality of the proceedings it initiated against me, I shall nevertheless not allow myself to be reduced to such tactics.

    "In response to recent speculation, I will continue to be involved in legal proceedings relating to USADA’s proposed charges as long as I believe that I am still able to receive a fair hearing and that my defence has not been permanently prejudiced by USADA’s act. However, rest assured that the time will come when I will share with you a balanced account of events.”

    Proceedings in Belgium

    The Belgian cycling federation has taken the first step in its investigation of Bruyneel, as prosecutor Jaak Fransen said that he has sent  a request to appear for the questioning of Bruyneel, who faces the possibility of a life-time ban.

    Fransen previously interviewed the former RadioShack-Nissan manager in 2010, following statements made by Floyd Landis. Bruyneel denied all allegations and claimed that Landis was acing out of revenge.

    "We wait on how Bruyneel responds to the recent revelations," Fransen told Het Nieuwsblad. "His lawyer has not said no to my invitation, but first wanted to consult with his client. We will find a time that suits everyone and when we are all three in the same country."

    "There is no real hurry," he said. The UCI still “must themselves decide what to do with the USADA report. They have time for that until the end of this month.”

    Nor has USADA issued any final ruling against Bruyneel, Fransen said. "Moreover, the USADA itself has issued no sanctions,  but only prepared and forwarded the report with the disclosures. Possibly the Americans themselves will try to prosecute Bruyneel, although it is usual to do in Belgium because Bruyneel has a Belgian license.”

  • Gazzetta reveals scale of doping and money laundering under Dr. Ferrari

    Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 10:45
    Stephen Farrand

    Report lifts lid on 'treasure chest' of doping network

    Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport has lifted the lid on the financial aspects of the Padua doping investigation, suggesting that Italian and Swiss police have uncovered a huge system of money laundering and fraud linked to a doping ring involving 20 professional riders and athletes from triathlon and biathlon.

    The two-page report by experienced journalist Luigi Perna claims that the two-year Padua investigation is the biggest anti-doping investigation in the history of sport, much bigger than Operacion Puerto.

    It reveals how Padua public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti carefully followed the money and discovered a series of contracts and secret payments totaling a reported 30 million Euro. It seems that riders avoided paying tax by recycling money via Gibraltar, Monte Carlo, Switzerland and South America.

    Gazzetta dello Sport quote from investigation documents that claim Dr. Ferrari was behind the brains behind the plot.

    "Along with his son Stefano and the agent Raimondo Scimone, they promoted and created the network," Gazzetta quotes from official documents.

    Gazzetta write that bank managers in Switzerland and Monte Carlo were also involved in a scheme that offered a complete package of services, that went from drawing up contracts, coaching and drugs, legal assistance and even the help of doping experts if they tested positive.

    As well as phone taps and bank records, Gazzetta says the investigation is apparently backed up by "the searching of riders who worked with Dr. Ferrari: in every occasion doping products (hormones) were discovered, with some of them illegally taken to Switzerland during trips to St. Moritz."

    Money laundering

    The Italian newspaper suggests that Dr. Ferrari used his training website as a front for his business. He is allegedly under investigation for criminal association, smuggling, the sale, administering and use of doping products, tax avoidance and money laundering. He and Scimone have always denied the accusations, claiming they have never formally been contacted by police in Padua.

    "In reality almost all of the money was collected in cash in Italy and Switzerland to avoid paying tax in both countries," Gazzetta writes, quoting from the police documents.

    Riders implicated include Michele Scarponi, Denis Menchov, Alexandre Kolobnev, Vladimir Gusev, Vladimir Karpets, Mikhail Ignatiev, Evgeni Petrov and Alberto Ongarato. 

    Scarponi is cited as an example of the suspicious money movements. He was searched by police before the 2011 Giro d'Italia white training at altitude in Sicily. In 2009 Scarponi was a resident in Italy but had a contract with Gianni Savio's Androni Giocattoli – which at the time was registered in Colombia.

    "He managed to deposit and avoid tax on almost his entire earnings by moving the payment via Monte Carlo and then Switzerland, paying just 6% tax," Gazzetta wrote, quoting police documents.

    Scarponi has always denied any wrongdoing.

    Many riders and team use a tax avoidance scheme on their image rights contracts to limit their exposure to tax. Gazzetta claim that Scimone and the riders worked with a company called T&F Sport Management in Monte Carlo to register image right contracts and avoid tax.

    The contracts are apparently not registered with the UCI and the riders pay just six percent tax and then are able to transfer the cash to Switzerland and use it for various activities, including paying Dr. Ferrari for his services. The Italian police have investigated if this has lead to money laundering.

    Police have targeted 20 teams from a four-year period and have obtained riders contracts from some of the biggest teams in the sport to compare them to those registered with the UCI. The teams named by Gazzetta are: Liquigas, Lampre, Colnago, Geox, Androni, Katusha, Quick Step, CSF-Inox, Farnese Vini, Acqua & Sapone, Astana, RadioShack, Vacansoleil, Isd, CSF, LPR, Diquigiovanni, Tinkoff, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner and Milram.

    Both Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti - who returned to racing this summer with Androni Giocattoli after serving a ban after being caught out by his biological passport data, and Yaroslav Popovych are named as using the system.

    Gazzetta dello Sport call the investigation and complex system of suspicious payments a black hole.

  • UCI request doping procedure against Carlos Barredo

    Carlos Barredo
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 12:35
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider snared by the biological passport

    The UCI has formally requested a disciplinary proceedings to be opened against Carlos Barredo of the Rabobank team for apparent violations of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profile in his biological passport. The team has suspended him.

    The UCI issued a statement saying it has informed all the parties concerned: Barredo, Spain's Consejo Superior de Deportes, the Rabobank Cycling Team and the World Anti-Doping Agency. The UCI reiterated Barredo’s right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter and said they would not provide any additional information.

    Barredo tweeted, "In this unbelivible and surrealist moment I want to say THANKS to Rabobank Cycling Team, for suppor me from the first moent! GRACIAS AMIGOS".

    In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, Rabobank said that Barredo has consistently denied to them that he had any involvement in doping. "If it appears that this statement is not true, then that is unacceptable to the team. Pending the judgment of the Spanish Federation and the outcome (of the proceedings), Carlos Barredo is suspended. His contract expires the end 2012. The Rabo Cycling Teams will follow all the steps of the procedure of the Spanish cycling federation.

    "The Rabobank team stands behind the blood passport, the team stands for a clean sport. The Rabobank team is co-initiator of the blood passport and helps to improve the blood passport."

    The 31-year-old Spaniard has not competed since the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, with Robabank announcing he would not race while he and team tried to explain unusual variations in his biological passport data. That process has apparently ended, with the UCI believing that Barredo has a case to answer.

    Along with Yaroslav Popovych, Barredo topped a UCI list which ranked competitors at the 2010 Tour de France according to suspicions of blood doping based on biological passport data, a document leaked by L’Equipe in May of last year. The two scored 10 out 10 on the UCI's "index of suspicion."

    Barredo was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the 2010 Tour de France when he started a fight with Rui Costa. Seconds after crossing the line at the end of stage 6, he took out his front wheel and began to hit the Portuguese rider. The two were separated by other soigneurs at the finish.

    Rabobank has continued to support Barredo as he awaited a final outcome. He will now have to try to prove that his blood value variations highlighted by the biological passport are normal or face a two-year ban for doping.

    In a tweet message published on October 7, Barredo said: "I continue training and waiting. Only I can say thanks to Rabobank Cycling Team, my family and the people who are supporting and helping me.

  • Cavendish confirmed for Omega Pharma-Quickstep

    Mark Cavendish speaks to the media at a pre-Tour of Britain press conference.
    Article published:
    October 18, 2012, 13:55
    Cycling News

    British sprinter agrees to three-year contract

    Following weeks of speculation and secret negotiations, it has been confirmed that Mark Cavendish will move from Team Sky to Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

    The news was first announced by Sky Sports News and confirmed by Team Sky on their website. Sky's Dave Brailsford said, "Mark has been a true champion for Team Sky this year. It’s been an honour having the rainbow jersey in this team and great to work so closely with a rider I’ve known since he was a junior. He has been a real team player, making history in a Tour de France winning team."

    Although just one season into a three-year contract with Team Sky, Cavendish admitted before the Tour of Britain that he was considering leaving the British team. Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford had hinted Cavendish could leave after the Tour de France.

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep has made little secret of its desire to add Cavendish to their roster, with support from bike sponsor Specialized. On Tuesday the Belgian team sacked Levi Leipheimer following his doping confession to USADA.

    Cavendish was responsible for 15 of Team Sky’s 50 victories in 2012 but felt overshadowed by the team’s focus on overall victory at the Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins. He will join-up with many of his former HTC teammates and staff at Omega Pharma-Quickstep in 2013 and share team leadership with Tom Boonen and Tony Martin.