September 29, 2004
Rogers earns a rainbow
Rogers, riding on home ground (he lives and trains around Verona), beat Germany's Michael Rich by 1:12 and Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov by 1:25. It was the 3rd 2nd-place finish for Rich at the world's, also second in 2000 and 2002.
U.S. TT champ Dave Zabriskie was 5th overall. Not racing for the U.S. were Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer, or Bobby Julich.
Zabriskie, in VeloNews:
"I tried to go as fast as I could. I wanted to win today," said a disappointed Zabriskie, who stopped at 11 seconds slower than bronze medalist Vinokourov. "I had a good ride. I just went all out."
Ullrich will skip worlds with stomach ailment
Rudy Pevenage told SID Ullrich couldn't compete in Sunday's road race.
"He will not compete," Ullrich's adviser, Rudy Pevenage, told German sports news agency SID. "It's impossible. He is too weak."
Also today, Ullrich was awarded 1.6 million euros in compensation due him from his contract with the Coast team, which collapsed midseason, triggering the sudden creation of Team Bianchi, for whom Ullrich rode in the 2003 Tour.
September 23, 2004
Ullrich wins final pre-World's race
Jan Ullrich won today's Coppa Sabatini, outsprinting Franco Pellizotti and Michael Boogerd after 119 miles.
Ullrich will be one of the biggest names racing in next week's world championships in Verona, Italy. He has two previous rainbow jerseys in the time trial, but has never won the road race championship.
Not exactly a ringing exoneration
Tyler Hamilton will hold on to his individual time trial gold medal. The IOC apparently damaged his 'B' sample and could neither confirm nor deny the presence of foreign red blood cells in Hamilton's blood, as suggested by an initial test in mid-August.
the result of the B, or second, test was "non-conclusive" because the sample had been destroyed by being deep-frozen.
"The disciplinary procedure has had to be stopped because of the non-conclusive result," the statement said.
"The IOC will not be pursuing sanctions regarding this matter."
Apparently, Hamilton wasn't quite so lucky with the UCI's sample from the Vuelta a España, leading Phonak to call for a panel of scientists to reexamine the new blood doping tests.
Hamilton 'B' samples: Positive for Vuelta, negative in Athens
Apparently, Tyler Hamilton's second test from the Vuelta has come back positive, while his second test from the Olympic Games, where he won a gold medal in the ITT, has come back negative.
Phonak said Hamilton will remain on the team "until 'clarity' was achieved."
The team said it planned to set up a "scientific board" to check the reliability of the test method, which was introduced only this year. Neither the IOC or cycling's ruling body (UCI) has made an official announcement on either test.
"...team management has decided to establish a scientific board in order to achieve clarity as to the medical method and reliability of these new blood testing tools. This scientific board will consist of various scientists with outstanding reputations in this field. Those scientists will be teamed up from different sources and will look into the entire method and data and report as to whether the analysis conducted at the lab in Lausanne in connection with the B-testing is reliable."
VeloNews includes a statement from Hamilton (bottom of the page):
I guarantee that I represented the United States of America as an honest, clean and proud athlete. As the Olympic Committee did not promptly inform me of the alleged anti-doping violation until one month after the event on August 18, 2004, it was not possible to defend myself before. Regardless of this I will prove my innocence.
September 22, 2004
Hamilton controversy on NPR
NPR offers a 3.5-minute overview of the Tyler Hamilton case, with quotes from Hamilton himself during Tuesday's news conference.
Heras extends lead at VueltaEurosport.com | Heras extends overall lead
Colombian Felix Cardenas stomped to a bold mountain-summit win in Stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana Wednesday, as Liberty Seguros rider Roberto Heras, third on the stage, pulled further into the overall lead. Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) cracked off the back, finishing the stage 3 min 11 sec adrift."Heras leads Phonak's Santiago Perez by 1:13, while Valverde fell from 2nd to 3rd, now just 1 second ahead of Illes Balears rider Francisco Mancebo, who was 4th on the day. The stage win by Cardenas suggests he'll take the Vuelta's overall climbing jersey into the Madrid finish on Sunday.
Hamilton suspended pending 'B' sample
Headline pretty much says it all; this couldn't have happened at a worse time for Tyler, given the freshly-minted gold medal, the death of Tugboat, and the upcoming (April '05) IMAX film BrainPower, which follows Hamilton through the 2003 Tour de France as a means of teaching about the human mind.
Phonak's suspension is SOP these days in the event of a positive drug test; it's what they did earlier this year when a positive for EPO led world champion Oscar Camenzind to retire rather than serve a 2-year suspension.
Virenque schedules Friday press conference, may retire
Reigning Tour de France King of the Mountains Richard Virenque, 34, is expected to follow Laurent Dufaux's lead, and exit the sport Friday.
Virenque won the polka-dot jersey a record seven times during a 14 year pro career.
Tom Danielson to join Discovery?
VeloNews quotes Fassa Bortolo sources that US rider Tom Danielson, 26, has opted out of the second year of his contract with the Italian team.
Further, they expect Danielson to join Paolo Salvodelli and Yaroslav Popovych as new signings for the Discovery Channel team, the next incarnation of US Postal.
Ullrich will compete in Worlds
T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich confirms that he'll race in next week's world road championships in Verona, Italy.
Ullrich has been racing in Italy, and feels he's still got good legs:
"I feel strong enough and I will give it my best," said the T-Mobile rider.
"The last few races in Italy have proved to me that I am in good shape and that was very important."
Ferrari's case nears end
Prosecutors have presented their final arguments in the case against Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari, suggesting a 14-month sentence and a 1-year suspension from medicine.
Of more interest to American cycling fans:
One interested observer of the Ferrari case, the performance guru’s most famous client, Lance Armstrong, is currently embroiled in a legal battle of an altogether different kind. After the revelation that Armstrong is suing insurance company SCA Promotions for withholding payment of a $5 million bonus, SCA is now vowing to donate all interest generated by the outstanding fee to the American Cycling Federation.
Sources close to procycling have indicated that, under the supervision of SCA Promotions legal representative Chris Copton, private investigators are currently working hard in Europe to compile evidence against Armstrong.
SCA have confirmed that their reluctance to pay Armstrong owes to suspicions that he may have used performance- enhancing drugs. Armstrong has always firmly rejected any such accusations.
It's a hell of a time to be a US cycling fan.
Say it ain't so
Reigning time-trial gold medalist Tyler Hamilton may face a ban and a revocation of his gold medal, after a blood sample turned up evidence of illegal blood boosting through transfusion of someone else's blood.
Hamilton denies the charges, and no sanctions will be enforced before a second sample completes testing.
Tests at the Athens Olympics on Aug. 19 and at the Spanish Vuelta on Sept. 11 showed evidence of blood from another person, cycling's governing body said, according to a spokesman for Hamilton's team, Phonak. Follow-up tests were scheduled for later Tuesday.
Hamilton abandoned the Vuelta a España last Thursday, complaining of stomach problems.
Hamilton would be the first athlete caught by a new test that tests for homologous blood boosting, the practice of transfusing blood from rider A into rider B. Jesus Manzano claimed his Kelme team routinely used homologous boosting in his series for the Spanish newspaper AS earlier this year.
Even the new test can't detect autologous boosting, where a rider's blood is removed and banked, then reintroduced immediately before a key race, boosting red blood cell volume in the body. This is what US cyclists reportedly did in preparation for the the 1984 Olympics.
Interestingly, I couldn't see why riders would risk homologous boosting, when they could easily bank blood for later use, but this paper explains that riders didn't have time to store blood, and so had to turn to relatives and others with their blood type, and as a result, some riders contracted hepatitis.
"I am accused of taking someone else's blood, but anybody who knows me would accept that I would never do such a thing," he said. "I know what I put into my body and what I don't. Cycling is very important for me but not everything. If was to think I had to do something like that I would rather put my bike away."
Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), declared himself satisfied with the news.
"If it stays positive, then it will the first ever case of this form of doping being detected," he said in Montreal where he was attending WADA's executive committee meeting.
McGee re-ups with Fdjeux.com
Bradley McGee will stick with Fdjeux.com through 2006. McGee is 28, and won a team pursuit gold in Athens.
Also signing Tuesday was the son of former Tour winner Stephen Roche, 19-year-old Nicolas Roche, who has a two-year deal with Cofidis.
Klöden will remain with T-Mobile
Tour de France runner-up Andreas Kloeden has extended his contract with T-Mobile by two years and will remain with the German team until the end of 2006.
Kloeden, 29, agreed to stay in a team also featuring fellow German Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour winner, and Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, who came third in this year's Tour.
Klöden's manager is Tony Rominger, who had suggested Klöden might go elsewhere to become a team leader.