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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Date published:
February 02, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Pereiro says Contador innocent but it can't be proved

    Oscar Pereiro won the Tour in 2006 but retired at the end of this season. He's now a soccer player
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 10:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Will be another unfairly sanctioned rider

    Alberto Contador willl be “another rider who will be unfairly sanctioned,” according to Oscar Pereiro.  Contador, who faces a one-year suspension for testing positive for Clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France claims the results came from having eaten contaminated meat. Pereiro won the 2006 Tour de France after Floyd Landis' disqualification and was only recently cleared of his involvement in the Spanish doping scandal Opercion Puerto.

    Pereiro attended the team presentation Monday for Movistar, which last year rode under the name Caisse d'Epargne.

    Contador's case “is a complicated issue. Things have been bad for a long time. No one understands it, there are very strange things,” he told the EFE news agency.

    "You are either guilty or you are not guilty, there's no halfway. I say he is innocent, but you cannot prove it. It will be another case of a rider who will be unfairly sanctioned.”

    Pereiro, who rode for Caisse d'Epargne from 2006 to 2009, was happy to see the team continue under a new sponsor.

    "Today is a beautiful day. The arrival of a large company (as a sponsor) is a thread of hope for the beginning of a way for other large companies to deal with cycling. I am very happy and I see that my former teammates are very happy," he said.

    Having retired from cycling, Pereiro, 33, has turned to another sport. He signed with the third-league football team Coruxo, but doesn't see much playing...

  • Simeoni welcomes Landis account of 2004 Tour de France

    Lance Armstrong and Filippo Simeoni at the 2004 Tour de France
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 12:54 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    Italian says that the truth about Armstrong is now emerging

    Filippo Simeoni has applauded Floyd Landis for “finally setting the record straight” about the Italian’s infamous clash with Lance Armstrong in the 2004 Tour de France.

    In an interview with Paul Kimmage of the Sunday Times, Landis spoke of his disgust at his then team-mate Armstrong chasing Simeoni in stage 18 of that 2004 Tour from Annemasse to Lons-le-Saunier. Two years earlier, Simeoni had testified in court against Michele Ferrari – the same Italian doctor who, Landis claims, masterminded his and Armstrong’s doping programme at US Postal.

    Armstrong has rejected Landis’s allegations and denied that he doped under Ferrari’s or anyone else’s supervision on numerous occasions.

    Landis told Kimmage that he was “extremely upset” by Armstrong’s victimization of Simeoni. He also claimed he had told US Postal Service directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel during that 18th stage that Armstrong looked “like an idiot”.

    Simeoni said on Wednesday that “the truth about that Tour, Armstrong and what kind of person he is, is slowly coming out”.

    “I was happy to read what Landis said,” Simeoni told Cyclingnews on Wednesday. “It merely confirms that I told the truth all along about that incident, and that Armstrong was in the wrong. The truth about him is slowly coming out. I have faith in the federal agents investigating him in the United States, and I’m curious to see what else they find out over the coming months.”

     Simeoni also praised Landis for belatedly...

  • Redant still looking for employment

    Chief Commissaire Peter Stuppacher (right) and Radio Tour Officer Hendrick Redant enjoy some waffles for brunch prior to the start of stage three in Tiaping.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 14:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    DS left with nothing after Pegasus project folded

    Hendrik Redant is looking for work, but said he realizes it will be tough, now that the season has started. The Belgian was to have been a sport director with the Pegasus team, which has failed to come into existence.

    Redant, 48, left his job as sport director for Omega Pharma-Lotto to join the new Australian project. However, the team lost out on first a ProTeam licence, then a Professional Continental licence, and last week was notified that it would not get any licence at all.

    "Now it is all over and done,” he told Sportwereld.

    He found temporary employment doing Tour Radio at the Tour de Langkawi. “A great challenge, which I enjoy. It's good to have a little something come in, but obviously it's not a livelihood. Just a pleasant interlude. After a few months without a paycheck, however, life begins to be expensive.”

    Redant had hoped to postpone the inevitable. “I shifted my deadline with that of Pegasus. After New Year, I wanted to wait only 10 days, then until the end of the month. I was hoping we could still pull it off, if only something to build on for next year. So I don't have a scenario outlined as to how to approach it.”

    He knows that it will be difficult at this point to find another job in cycling. “I think over the years I have made my name as a team leader,” Redant pointed out. Other teams “are free to call me, but I realize tat it is now difficult to find a place in a team which has already started the season".

  • Bassons won’t judge Landis and Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 16:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Tour outcast says he was “lucky” not “courageous” to refuse doping

    Former French rider and proponent of cycling “à l'eau claire”, Christophe Bassons, told Cyclingnews on Wednesday that he “hopes Lance Armstrong can live with the consequences” of the ongoing federal investigation into the seven-time Tour winner and his erstwhile US Postal team.

    Bassons, who clashed with Armstrong during the 1999 Tour over the Frenchman’s outspoken views on doping, was reacting to comments by Floyd Landis in an interview with the Sunday Times’s Paul Kimmage published earlier this week. In the article, Kimmage cited Bassons as someone who rejected the drug-taking that Landis saw as a necessary evil to fulfil his ambitions in the Tour de France.

    Landis wasn’t familiar with Bassons’s story, but seemed impressed by what Kimmage told him.

    “It seems to me like he tried to do what I considered as option C as I was thinking this stuff through and figured it was not worth my time, especially in the United States where Lance was now a big superstar and nobody knew who I was,” Landis said.

    “I’m impressed. I don’t know how many guys would [have the strength of character not to dope] but there’s not a lot… I don’t know [Bassons]. I would like to know him though.”

    Now working for the Agence française de lutte antidopage (AFLD) in the Aquitaine region of south-west France, Bassons said today that Landis’s admiration was “kind but misplaced”.

    “I don’t think I was courageous not to take drugs,” the former Festina, Française des Jeux and Jean Delatour rider told Cyclingnews.

    “To me, courage is all about overcoming fear, and I...

  • USADA to run Amgen Tour of California anti-doping controls

    The Amgen Tour of California peloton takes in stunning scenery along the coast.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 18:46 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Independent testing program trumps UCI control

    The organizer of the Amgen Tour of California, AEG, partnered with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and title sponsor Amgen to implement what it describes as "the most comprehensive anti-doping program in the history of the race". On Wednesday, AEG announced an independent anti-doping program run by USADA leading up to and during the 2011 edition of the race, which is scheduled for May 15 to 22.

    The UCI is normally in charge of in-competition testing during its sanctioned events, but USADA CEO Travis Tygart clarified that the UCI was prepared to grant his agency the authority to decide who will be tested, when and for which substances.

    "At this point, it's frankly difficult to both promote and police your own sport," Tygart said in today's press conference. "You've heard the expression 'the fox guarding the henhouse' over the years. There's this natural tension when the sport attempts to police itself of enforcing firmly and fairly the rules versus the other interest which is to promote and raise revenue for the sport."

    The UCI confirmed to Cyclingnews the discussions with USADA, but spokesman Enrico Carpani clarified that "even if controls were conducted by them [USADA], UCI would keep the full responsibility of results management".

    Tygart said the independent testing program would level the playing field for the Amgen Tour of California by greatly reducing the chance that any riders could cheat to win.

    "By bringing in an independent agency, the USADA, Amgen and AEG have put a stake in the ground to say that independence is critical for the ultimate success of our anti-doping program for this year's event."

    USADA will be in charge of both the out-of-competition testing leading up to the event as well as the controls taken during the race. All of the 15 invited teams are required to submit provisional rosters, and each athlete on the roster will be required to provide whereabouts information for the...

  • Return of knee problems knocks Phinney out of Qatar

    Taylor Phinney talks to Cyclingnews at the BMC training camp in Denia.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 19:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    European debut with BMC delayed, as Qatar squad announced

    Taylor Phinney continues to be plagued by knee problems and will miss the Tour of Qatar. The 20-year-old doesn't yet know when he will be able to make his European debut with BMC Racing Team.

    Phinney suffered from various knee problems all last season, but still won the World U23 time trial title and won his second U23 Paris-Roubaix.

    Writing on his personal blog, he said that he enjoyed his off-season but when he came back, “I did too much, too soon. The pain came back in November, and I was diagnosed as tendinitis." It responded well to treatment and he had no problems in December.

    Only two days before flying from Los Angeles to Spain for the BMC training camp, “I felt a small nagging at the back of my knee,” but “I thought nothing of it.”

    On his first ride with the team's Classics squad on the camp's first full day he said “the twinge” came back. It continued, and he was unable to train fully.

    “Two days into camp and I was already missing training rides with my brand new team, I was very seriously disappointed and made sure to do everything in my power to take care of it," he said. “Sitting in the hotel room nursing an injury while all of the other guys on the team were out training and bonding for the season ahead was very depressing I can tell you that much.”

    The team was fully behind him, providing him with treatment and companionship. “Only by the 29th, the last day of camp, I had ridden easy two days straight with no pain or twinge prior and was ready to start with the main group again. So in my first training camp, in my first year with BMC,...

  • Astana's Martinelli says Contador should accept suspension

    Giuseppe Martinelli is part of the Astana's new management team for 2010.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 20:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team director believes in Spaniard's innocence

    Alberto Contador should accept his suspension and start looking again to the future, said Giuseppe Martinelli, who directed the Spaniard to the win of the Tour de France 2010 for Team Astana. He emphasized however, that Contador, who tested positive for Clenbuterol on the race's second rest day, was innocent of the charges.

    Contador has said that he will appeal a one-year ban handed down by the Spanish cycling federation.

    Contador “must accept the disqualification and start thinking of when he will ride again,” Martinelli said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He is the strongest and he will show that.”

    "I want to clarify, to avoid misunderstanding, that I think Alberto is clean. Knowing all the work we did to win the Tour de France, you can imagine how much it costs me to lose. "

    He echoed what others have said. “I'm sure he has done anything illegal, but the conditions are not easy to prove.”

    At this point, though, the rider must decide on his future. "There are times when you must choose. Either you hit the wall and fall down, or you find the courage to start again."

    "Alberto should do only what his head tells him to do, without being influenced by the many people around him and he should not make the same mistake that Marco Pantani in 1999," he said.

    In 1999, Pantani was removed from the Giro d'Italia on the next-to-last day whilst wearing the leader's jersey, for a too-high haematocrit. He did not race again the entire year, apparently falling into depression. His career fluctuated until his retirement, after which he died from an overdose of cocaine in 2004.

  • Amgen Tour of California scraps open investigation rule

    Lance Armstrong signs autographs before the start.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 21:04 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Armstrong free to compete, but his participation is not yet confirmed

    In contrast to its policy in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, organizer AEG announced today that it will not exclude riders, teams or staff who are under open anti-doping rule violations from the 2011 race.

    US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart explained that such an approach goes against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code and that all riders should be considered innocent until proven guilty. He said USADA had never agreed with the policy of excluding riders until they have gone through a fair and impartial proceeding.

    Had it been continued, the rule could have prohibited Lance Armstrong from competing in the event, as he is reportedly under investigation by the federal government over alleged doping in his former US Postal team.

    "Until an athlete through our process has been shown and proven to have committed an anti-doping rule violation, they are free to compete: whether pending indictment, pending investigation, whether some blogger thinks they cheated," said Tygart.

    "[It was] USADA's recommendation to us that we remove that rule," said AEG president Andrew Messick. "It is not consistent with the WADA code, and USADA believes that it is not consistent with due process and the rights of athletes, either. The UCI (International Cycling Union) is no longer enforcing that rule is what we've been told. We feel it is inappropriate for us to be out of compliance with both USADA and the UCI with regard to issues relating to the eligibility of athletes."

    The change was in stark contrast to the 2008 event, when AEG steadfastly barred Rock Racing's riders Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Botero from being included in the team's roster for the Tour of California. The trio protested by following the race route in advance of the field.

    Messick defended their past decision, saying, "We followed our rule in 2008 and, based on the landscape at the time, we felt - and continue to feel - that we...