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News Roundup 13 November 2003
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 11/13/2003
News Roundup 13 November 2003
 

Beloki the Baker!

The long running Joseba Beloki transfer soap is finally over.

The rider has signed a two year deal with Jean René Bernaudeau’s Brioches La Boulangère team. The 30 year old, who has been on the podium of the Tour de France three times in four years, will bring with him his brother, Gorka.

Mikel Pradera is also expected to sign for the team within the next 24 hours, according to Beloki’s lawyer Pablo Arregui, who will be holding an official press conference tomorrow.

The “Baker Boys” were not on most commentators' lists of likely candidates for the signature of the Basque rider, and with his signing the team roster next year will be:

Walter Bénéteau (Fra), Joseba Beloki (Spa), Gorka Beloki (Spa), Franck Bouyer (Fra), Anthony Charteau (Fra), Sébastien Chavanel (Fra), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Anthony Geslin (Fra), Maryan Hary (Fra), Christophe Kern (Fra), Rony Martias (Fra), Franck Renier (Fra), Didier Rous (Fra), Thomas Voeckler (Fra), Jerome Pineau, Laurent Lefèvre (Fra), Mickaël Pichon (Fra), Mathieu Sprick (Fra), Alexandre Naulleau (Fra), Mikel Pradera (Spa).

La Boulangère had a successful season in 2003 starting 27th in the UCI teams rankings and finishing 19th. Although outside the automatically qualifying teams for the Tour de France, it is almost certain that the French team will get an invite to the 2004 Tour de France which is Beloki’s main aim for next season.

Up until today the completely French roster of the team has been a mixture of experienced pros - Walter Bénéteau, Franck Bouyer, Didier Rous - and young guns - Sylvain and Sébastien Chavanel, Maryan Hary and Jerome Pineau.

"Mimo" Sylvain Chavanel is a great prospect who has lived up to his potential so far. He had another great season in 2003, winning the Tour du Haut Var and the time trial stage of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe et Pays de la Loire; a genuine Tour prospect who has the opportunity to learn from a podium placed rider - seems like an ideal combination, or possibly a marriage from hell.

Certainly it is a “baker's dozen” move by the Brioches La Boulangère team, a team renowned for its hard work and determination and refusal to give up. It is certainly a coup for the “Baker Boys” if Beloki gets into yellow - public interest in France will be animated. The prospect of Beloki and Chavanel working together could be the story of 2004.

Team manager Jean René Bernaudeau is most famous for his support of Bernard Hinault during “the Badgers” glory years in the Tour de France. The team has the reputation of being one of the “cleanest” in the sport. See more about Beloki in Tick's Blicks below.

Compulsory Two-Year Ban for Doping May Go by the Athens Olympics

The compulsory two-year ban for a doping offense, which is part of the global anti-doping code of the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, could be replaced by a system where offenses are looked at on a case-by-case basis by the 2004 Olympics.

News of a possible relaxation of the two-year rule came at a conference in Basel yesterday where WADA presented a paper to medical representatives of sports bodies involved in Olympic team events.

The move comes as a surprise as WADA had insisted on the set ban only last March when the global anti-doping code was agreed by over 1000 delegates representing sports organizations and 73 national governments in Copenhagen.

Despite reservations being expressed by the Cycling Federation, UCI, and football’s ruling body, FIFA, the new 53-page code was passed unanimously.

However, since then Graf-Baumann has carried out a study of 184 doping cases that arose between 1998 and 2002 and found that variable penalties, from a verbal warning to a four-year ban, were imposed.

“The conclusion was that individual cases and their punishment by the sporting bodies’ disciplinary committees took place in the same way as a criminal case in a constitutional state,” said the German.

Belgium to name and shame drug stars

123 Belgian sportsmen and women who failed random drugs tests during the first nine months of this year are set to be publicly named and shamed.

Flemish Sports Minister Marino Keulen intends to post the names of all sportsmen and women who tested positive for drugs this year on a ministerial website.

The move comes after a distinct marked upswing in the number of drugs cases discovered this year - over seven percent of drug tests proved positive in 2004, compared to just three percent last year.

Testing authorities are linking the higher figures to an increase in the number of checks and their more targeted nature. Fewer checks are also being leaked beforehand.

Cycling has the worst number of culprits with 13 percent of those tested found to be taking illegal substances.

Jockeys are also on the blacklist with several refusing to be tested at recent race meets at Ostend and Waregem.

Volleyball and canoeing were found to be among the cleanest sports in Belgium.

Kelme in Trouble

The Kelme Cycling team faced another financial set back last week when they received a tax bill for 762,101.80 euros. Kelme Manager Joan Mas explained that is was a complicated tax problem but assured that the “team was not in danger.”

The team does not agree with the tax bill, however, and the teams bank accounts have been frozen. This adds further problems to the team who already are two months in arrears with the riders wages - however the team have a history of pulling themselves out of financial problems.

Javier Pascual Llorente - Suspended

More bad news for Kelme, Pascual Javier Llorente, the only rider to have been found positive for EPO in this years Tour de France, is facing an 18 month suspension according to Kelme manager Joan Mas.

"The rider received the notification of his sanction about 10 days ago and has decided to resort to the Court of Sport Arbitration (TAS). Their lawyer and he will work together to try to demonstrate his innocence. If his sanction is confirmed the team's management will decide whether he will stay or not."

According to the UCI, Llorente tested positive after the 12th stage of the Tour de France, an ITT over 47 kms. between Gaillac and Cap Decouverte, which was won by Jan Ullrich. The second test confirmed the result.

Javier Pascual Llorente has always maintained his innocence. Previously in 2003 he had won the Vuelta a Andalucía and Murcia.

Cycling: Cooke faces Dutch challenge 

Read the original article here. By Andy Howell, The Western Mail

Photo by Scott Schaffrick.
Nicole Cooke is gearing up for one of her biggest challenges yet - a head-to-head with women's cycling's new world hour record-holder.

The one-off 3,000m pursuit challenge between Welsh star Cooke - recent winner of the World Cup - and Leontien Ziljaard van Moorsel will mark the opening of Wales National Velodrome on Friday.

Flying Dutchwoman van Moorsel is one of the sport's greats and set a world best last month, covering a staggering 46.065km (nearly 29 miles) in an hour at the Olympic Velodrome in Mexico City.

The showdown will be Cooke's first appearance on the track since the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and the odds will be stacked against her as van Moorsel has been individual pursuit world champion for the past three years.

All Cooke's efforts this year have been on the road and she will be the rank outsider on the £7m track, which organisers predict is as fast as the Sydney Olympic Velodrome.

"Leontien has been world champion for the last few years so it is going to be very hard," said Cooke, now back in Wales after being based in Italy during the road-race season.

"I am the underdog but will be doing the best I can. It is out of season for both of us so perhaps I can catch her off-guard."

Multi-world and Olympic champion van Moorsel, now 33, prepared for a year for her world record attempt.

She won her first world championship in Stuttgart 12 years ago and is the Olympic road-race and individual pursuit champion.

Van Moorsel is one of a host of world champions competing at Newport in the European Derny championships on Friday and the British Cycling Gala meeting, incorporating the City of Cardiff Grand Prix on Saturday.

Bradley Wiggins, Britain's recently-crowned world individual pursuit champion, bids to become European Derny champion where competitors ride behind a moped at speeds of up to 45mph before the pacer pulls off the track.

Great Britain's Olympic and world sprint medallists Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Rob Hayles and Jamie Staff, Switzerland's Marco Villa and Franco Marvulli and French stars Franck Perque and Jerome Neuville are among those in action.

Welsh-based Swede Magnus Backstedt, a stage winner in the Tour de France, and Wales' former British road-race champion Julian Winn will also compete.

The Newport International Pursuit Challenge is one of the highlights of the opening meeting at the Velodrome, which starts at 6.45pm.

Tick's Blick

By Tick of Cycling4Fans.com

14 Nov. 2003--Well, Joseba Beloki sure pulled off THE surprise of the off-season! After the Stayer deal fell through, I was ready to put my money on his return to Manny Saiz. Then with the announcement that he had signed with a foreign team, I thought I had to be CSC -- Riis still had slots open and could used such a viable TdF podium candidate. But then, the surprise announcement -- Brioches les Boulangeries! First I had to figure out how to pronounce it, then how to write it! Are they even GS1? Yes, they finished the year as 19th. Well, they can rest assured of their wild-card invitation to the TdF next year! A French team with such a contender? No problem!

There could be just one little problem -- Beloki's horrible crash in the Tour, which we can probably all still envision. He was seriously injured, with many bones broken. Can he come back to the same form he was in? Can all the physical damage be healed sufficiently to propel him back to the top? And is there not the possibility that there will always be that little voice in his head saying "Watch out! Slow down!" Will that little bit of fear remain with him and handicap him? No one knows at this point.

It is still hard to figure out why he wanted to leave Manny Saiz even after knowing that the team had secured a new sponsor and would continue in 2004. No doubt it was the old "personality conflicts" problem, or perhaps the equally old "I needed a change of scenery".......But why does a rider who has the potential to do so well take such a gamble? Why not stick with a sure thing? Why risk everything on finding a new team, especially so late in the season, when most teams have their rosters full and their plans already made for the coming season?

Presumably Stayer will now disappear from the cycling scene, before it even really got started. It was great to see another firm expressing interest in sponsoring a cycling team -- God knows there are few enough of them around -- but it would have been a lot better if it had been a financially stable offer.

Speaking of financially unstable teams who can't find sponsors, Team Bianchi has found a way back into the headlines. After the Bild newspaper reported that poor Jan hadn't been paid since August, Bianchi came back to say it was all his own fault. If he had been a good boy and stayed with dear sweet Bianchi, he would have gotten paid and all his teammates would have had jobs for next year and the team would have survived......of course, they're not saying where all this money would have come from!

Sure, it's possible that if Ullrich had stayed with the team, they might have finally come up with a new sponsor, but, please, let's be realistic! Bianchi said they would take him to court for breaking his contract and finally Ullrich put it all in the hands of his attorneys. Almost instantly Bianchi starts talking about a quick out-of-court settlement. (Can it be that they haven't paid him because they didn't have the money to do it?) And now Rudy Pevenage admits he has left the team, too, and doesn't expect it to continue .... I wonder when he last got paid!

Still speaking of Bianchi -- some riders have found new teams and will keep on riding. At least one has found a new team, but won't keep on riding. Raphael Schweda, at the tender age of 27, has announced his retirement as a rider but will continue in the sport: as manager of the German GSIII Team Winfix-Techem.

When I think of how many athletes concentrate solely on their sport and how long they can keep on "playing", I find it great that Schweda is willing to take this step and secure himself a life after sport. And it is all the more remarkable when one learns that he is just finishing up his college degree in Sports Management. Combining studying and working is one of the more difficult things to do.

Sure his fans are sad that he will no longer be riding, but that is short-sighted. Raphael Schweda is to be congratulated for knowing what is important and acting on it, and Winfix-Techem is to be congratulated for giving him this chance. Since the team plans to turn GS II in 2005, this will only increase the possibilities for Schweda.

Radio Station Chain CEO Addresses Anti-Cyclist messages

The radio station corporation Clear Channel has been having to deal with outrage, disappearing local sponsors and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) inquiries over four of their radio stations' disc jockeys discussing methods for harming cyclists on their radio programs. There are various places on Internet that have information on the specific incidents, one is the North Carolina Raleigh Area Triathletes. The CEO of Clear Channel met last week with cycling organization representatives and issued a letter to the Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, which you can read by clicking their link above.

US Senate Passes School Cycling Route Legislation

Courtesy America Bikes--Moving closer to a new federal transportation bill, the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed their TEA-3 bill on November 12. During deliberations, an amendment raised funding for Safe Routes to School from $50 million to $70 million a year. While in the opinion of America Bikes the funding is too low (they prefer the House proposal of $250 million a year), it's a step in the right direction. The bill also keeps the Transportation Enhancements program intact, with no new categories. The landslide vote of confidence for Enhancements in the House in September surely helped to dissuade any attacks on the program. Other programs important to bicycling, including CMAQ, Scenic Byways and Rec Trails are also continued in the Senate bill.

The bigger proposal asking from the bicycle community, including $250 million a year for Safe Routes to School and language requiring that all new road projects adequately accommodate bicycling and walking, did not gain adequate support. Nearly 300 amendments were drafted, but only those that had strong bi-partisan support stood a chance of passing, so many amendments including several of America Bikes were not presented.

In addition to raising funding by $20 million a year, the successful Safe Routes amendment also solved other problems in the language. The Senate bill now allows projects on any public road, secondary schools are eligible and the project area was broadened from one to two miles. America Bikes thanks advocates from key states who helped us quietly move this amendment forward.

While the Senate bill passed through committee quickly, the bill did not include formulas on how money will be divided between states, and it sidestepped several environmental questions. These issues promise to be very contentious when the bill comes up before the full Senate. Chairman Inhofe (R-OK) said today the bill will be one of the first orders of business when Congress reconvenes in January. The bill calls for spending $255 billion over six years, but the Finance Committee must still decide how to raise that money. The Banking Committee has yet to draft the transit portion of the bill, so today's Environment and Public Works Committee language is only one piece of a complicated puzzle.

A draft bill from the House of Representatives is expected within the next week, and hopes are it will contain a higher level of funding for Safe Routes to School, since ranking member James Oberstar (D-MN) is the program's strongest champion.

Members of Congress will head home for the Christmas break sometime soon, so if this is an issue you would like to support, plan on talking to them over the next couple of months.

In other good news today, Interbike (the bicycle industry trade show) announced that a new badge fee instituted at the October event in Las Vegas raised $50,000 to help continue the America Bikes campaign. Together, the bike industry, advocates and the bicycling community are making real progress in Congress. For more information on these issues, visit http://americabikes.org.

 
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