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Third Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 1, 2010

Date published:
October 01, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • L’Équipe raises new doubts over Contador

    Alberto Contador during his press conference as he tries to explain how his urine sample became contaminated with clenbuterol
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 12:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French paper suggests there could be evidence of blood doping

    French sports paper L’Équipe has reported that tests undertaken on Alberto Contador’s urine sample from the Tour de France have revealed the presence of a plastic component that is found in blood transfusion bags. According to the paper, this could indicate that the three-time Tour winner underwent a blood transfusion before being undergoing a drug control on July 21 that revealed the presence of Clenbuterol.

    The paper says that investigators working on Contador’s case at the laboratory in Cologne have tested the Spaniard’s urine using a method developed by Dr Jordi Segura at a laboratory in Barcelona. The method enables the detection of a plastic substance that derives from bags used to transport blood.

    According to L’Équipe, this substance, known as di(2-ethylhexyl), has been found in Contador’s urine. This suggests that Contador could have received a transfusion of blood that he gave earlier in the season and which contained traces of Clenbuterol.

    L’Équipe adds that Segura’s method, details of which were published in 2009, has not yet been validated by the anti-doping authorities and will require further testing before it can be ratified.

    The investigators in Cologne are reported to be going through the Astana rider’s blood passport in minute detail in order to assess whether there are any anomalies. L’Équipe says that “the passport of the Spanish cyclist, which is chaotic at times, has provided no reason for suspicion”.

    The UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency have refused to comment on L’Équipe’s story.

  • Voeckler agrees provisional deal with Cofidis

    Thomas Voeckler (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) on the podium
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 12:47 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Transfer will become official if Bbox-Bouygues Telecom fail to attract new sponsor

    Thomas Voeckler has confirmed that he will ride for Cofidis next season if his Bbox-Bouygues Telecom team does not find a new sponsor. A definitive announcement on the team’s future is expected later on Friday but the French champion’s statement would appear to signal the end of the team’s hopes of survival.

    “I’ve decided to sign with Cofidis for two years,” Voeckler told Ouest France. “I was also in contact with Saur-Sojasun, and I’ve explained my choice to Stéphane Heulot. I mulled over it a lot, but Cofidis has the chance to be in the ProTour and to offer me a better calendar.”

    Voeckler has spent his entire career riding for Jean-René Bernaudeau’s teams and has repeatedly stated that he would remain loyal to the squad as long as it retained the possibility of survival, even after Pierrick Fédrigo and Nicolas Vogondy left for FDJ and Cofidis respectively in recent weeks.

    “I woke up at 4 this morning. I slept very little last night and I thought things over a lot, but I’ve taken my decision,” Voeckler explained. “I’m still hoping for a miracle and that my team can continue. Regardless of whether that is the case, it’s correct that I should inform the managers who had made offers to me.”

    Jean-René Bernaudeau is due to issue a formal statement on Friday evening. Voeckler’s move to Cofidis will become official if, as is widely anticipated, Bernaudeau announces that he has failed to find a replacement sponsor for BBox-Bouygues Telecom.

    Earlier on Friday, Bernadeau admitted that the matter is now out of his hands. "I have no regrets and I can't do anything more now," he said. "I’ve given all that I could, I’ve fought with all my strength.”

    It is understood that Bernaudeau was in eleventh-hour talks with a potential sponsor in Paris on Thursday. He...

  • Curtain comes down on Xacobeo team

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 13:05 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Accused Xacobeo rider García insists he’s innocent of doping

    The Fundación Ciclismo Gallego that runs the Xacobeo-Galicia team has announced they won’t be applying for a licence to run a Professional Continental team next season having failed to find a main sponsor. There had been hopes earlier this week that a new backer could still be located. However, none of the companies contacted have followed up on their initial interest.

    A statement from the foundation also said that the team would continue to support Ezequiel Mosquera and David García, who have both been advised by the UCI that hydroxyethyl starch was detected in urine samples taken during the Vuelta a España. The foundation stated they have “zero tolerance towards doping”, but added that they would “defend the presumption of innocence of the affected cyclists."

    García also released a statement in which he said he had not taken any doping products during the Vuelta, where he played a key role in helping Mosquera to finish in second place overall. García said that he had spoken to the head of the ADAMS whereabouts programme, Olivier Bañuls, who had told him that “a substance called hydroxethyl starch had been found in a control that I underwent on September 16."

    García added that Bañuls had “indicated to me that this product is considered a minor substance that does not carry with it the requirement of suspension”.

    In his statement García affirmed: “I am not suspended and should be able to keep competing because no substance that demands an immediate suspension was detected in the control.”

    The Xacobeo rider added: “Before today I had never heard of the substance mentioned. If it did get into my body I’ve got no idea how this happened. What I want to make very clear is that I did not take anything with the intention of improving my sporting performance.”

  • HES positives could be linked to EPO use, doctor says

    Oscar Sevilla (Ind Ant-Idea-Fla-Lot De Medellin).
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 14:39 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Cycling Ireland Medical Officer explains why substance is banned and dangerous

    The positive tests for Ezequiel Mosquera and Oscar Sevilla for Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) could be linked to use of EPO, Dr Conor McGrane, Medical Officer for Cycling Ireland told Cyclingnews. Both Mosquera and Sevilla have maintained their innocence.

    Mosquera, who tested positive for Hydroxyethyl during the Vuelta a España and Sevilla, who was found to have the drug in his body during the Tour of Colombia, could face suspensions if found guilty. While the drug is not part of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) banned substance list, its use is, as the only way to take it is through a transfusion – a procedure that is banned by WADA.

    “It expands your plasma volume,” McGrane told Cyclingnews. “It doesn’t increase or decrease the number of red blood cells you have but it will dilute them so if you have a hematocrit test it will be lowered by taking it.

    “If a cyclist had a blood transfusion or took EPO, that would cause the hematocrit to go up. By using the Hydroxyethyl, it would keep the extra blood cells, but your blood would be diluted so it would look more normal. It’s basically a masking agent. The substance isn’t banned but they only way you can take it is through intravenous transfusion and that is banned.”

    Hydroxyethyl is typically used in hospital emergency rooms but according to McGrane it would be easy for a doctor to source and administer the drug to an athlete, however, side effects could be fatal.

    “If given properly you can get mild flu-like reactions. If you’re allergic you can get bad reactions to it. It can be potentially fatal and can cause your blood to clot. If you’re using it to cover up doping, you’re increasing the risks further.

    “Certainly in the larger races when they’ve searched rooms for intravenous kits for infusions, it’s made it more difficult to use, but presumably...

  • Philippe Gilbert counts on his solid nerves at Worlds

    Stage winner Philippe Gilbert uncorks the bubbly for the second time in the 2010 Vuelta.
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 15:45 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Hot favourite ready to handle the pressure

    Philippe Gilbert has worked out two tactics for the world championship. He reckons he can win in two different ways, either with an attack on the last lap or in the sprint if the race ends in a bunch finish.

    The Belgian appeared very serene in front of the media at his seaside hotel in Torquay. He hid neither his ambitions nor the plan he has has in mind in order to become world champion on Sunday.

    "I’ve based my season on this race,” Gilbert admitted. “That involved some risk but my timing is right, my preparation has been perfect, I have finished the Vuelta in very good shape and I have a great team around me.” He served notice of his fine form by winning two stages at the Vuelta a España.

    “I wanted to come to Australia early but we missed a plane and had to spend a night in Qatar,” Gilbert explained. “It cut the trip in two and it was good for recovery. During the first week here, I had some highs and lows because of the jet lag but my sleep has been stable for the past two days. I’ve adapted to the time zone.”

    In the first week of January, he invited his friend Simon Gerrans for a coffee in Monaco because he wanted a detailed description of the course. In April, he rode a simulation of it on rollers. “When I discovered it for real, it was exactly what I expected,” he said. “We’ll ride the climbs very fast in the last two laps. A perfect course for me would have been the same with the finish at the top of the hill. Now there are two options. If the race is hard and if many riders are at the limit, the right tactic will be to attack on the last climb. If not, I could also win the sprint.”

    Gilbert insisted that his strength is his team. It is noticeable that the Belgians are very united these days. “Six of us are teammates all year at Omega Pharma-Lotto,” he noted. “The other factor is that we are most of us from...

  • Elisa Basso banned from attending sporting events

    Ivan Basso is greeted by his sister, Elisa, at the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 17:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sister of Giro d'Italia winner sanctioned by CONI

    Elisa Basso, the sister of Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso, has been banned from attending sporting events in Italy for the next four years. The National Anti-Doping Tribunal of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) handed down the ruling on Friday afternoon.

    Basso and her husband, former rider Eddy Mazzoleni, had plea-bargained for lighter sentences in the case stemming from Operazione Athena, which began in 2005 and investigated a drug dealing ring in several gyms in the Bergamo and Como area of northern Italy. Mazzoleni was given a waived prison sentence of four months and must pay a fine. He was handed a two-year suspension from cycling in 2008.

    Elisa Basso is not an active athlete. Her brother, Ivan Basso (Liquigas) is not involved in the case.

    According to CONI, Elisa Basso is forbidden “to join or to hold any position within the Italian Olympic Committee, Italian national sporting federations or the associated sporting disciplines; to frequent sporting facilities, spaces designated for athletes and their coaches; or to take part in sporting events that are held in national territory or are organised by the forenamed sporting entities.”


     

  • Chavanel says Contador must prove his innocence

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) jubilant on the podium at the Tour.
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 19:25 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Offredo says that riders are "not unduly surprised"

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) has said that Alberto Contador must prove his innocence and satisfactorily explain his positive test for Clenbuterol during July’s Tour de France. The Frenchman is currently in Geelong ahead of Sunday's world championships road race.

    “[Contador] is falling. The big champions are falling: it’s like that,” Chavanel told RMC.fr. “It’s always disappointing to see things like this, but it’s good that we’ve reached a point where things are being found. The levels [of Clenbuterol] might be low, but there are traces there all the same. It’s up to Contador to prove his innocence.”

    Chavanel took two fine stage victories and enjoyed two spells in yellow at the Tour before going on to finish 31st overall, almost an hour behind Contador.

    Sympathy for Contador's current plight was in short supply in the French camp. Chavanel's countryman Yoann Offredo (FDJ) offered his own candid assessment of the Contador case, saying that he was not surprised by the news.

    “It’s a story that we’ve been expecting,” Offredo said to RMC.fr. “We’re not unduly surprised. A little [surprised] about the Clenbuterol because we’d really have expected something else. It’s like the tree that hides the forest.

    “Right now, amongst the riders, I can tell you that we’re not that shocked.”

  • Freire's form growing ahead of Worlds road race

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) waves to the crowd
    Article published:
    October 01, 2010, 20:20 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Spaniard aiming for record fourth title in Geelong

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has said that his form has been improving in the week leading up to Sunday’s world championships road race. The Spaniard has won the coveted rainbow jersey on three occasions and is aiming for a record fourth title in Geelong.

    “I don’t know if I can win but I’m training well,” Freire told RMC.fr. “I’ve often come to big races without being on top form but every day I’m getting better. I rode the Vuelta without much training but I think I’m going well now.”

    Freire had a fine spring campaign, which included a third victory at Milan-San Remo, but he struggled through the summer months. After a listless Tour de France, he underwent surgery on a sinus problem, but failed to make any significant impact at September’s Vuelta a España.

    Such is Freire’s pedigree in the race, however, he has been touted as the danger man by Italian coach Paolo Bettini and he will lead what is a very strong Spanish team. He is also confident that the Geelong circuit will suit his characteristics.

    “The route is tough but that’s been the case in many of the world championships that I’ve ridden and I’ve always done my bit,” he said. “It rarely comes down to a sprint at the Worlds and when it’s the case, there’s a small group of 20 to 30 riders. I hope to be able to control the race.”

    Indeed, Freire admitted that such a finale would be his ideal race scenario but he is aware that the Italian and Belgian teams in particular will seek to make the race tough enough to eliminate the sprinters.

    “If it comes down to a sprint, the Spanish team will work for me. If not we’ll have to ride differently,” Freire said. “It’s the strongest team we could have.”

    Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse...