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EuroTrash Monday
As the Tour de France rages in, er, Belgium, let’s break ourselves from the tight confines of Tour reportage and look around a bit more at the wonderful world of cycling outside of the TdF.

Criterium d’Abruzzo
This news supplied by Pez’s very own in-tune Italian roving reporter, Michele Tomasi… Supposedly a sprinter’s frolic, the field in this important Italian race split on the last time up the course’s sole hill, and the only main sprinter to make the split was Team Barloworld’s Enrico Degano who subsequently took the sprint for the victory – Matteo Carrara and Paolo Bossoni (both of Lampre), followed in second and third respectively.

Enrico Degano (Barloworld): It’s since the start of this season, in Malaysia, that I have been trying to get a victory, but I never placed well, but a victory is a victory. Now finally I got it, and thanks go fully to my team. When we saw that I was the only sprinter who was able to stay ahead, we pushed it hard to go for the win!”

Trofeo Matteotti
A revenge story doesn’t get much better this side of a pie in ol Jean Marie’s face if you’re Danilo Di Luca. After being, literally, turned away at the start of the Tour de France in Liege on Saturday, Danilo Di Luca promptly returned home and took a huge win in the UCI 1.2 ranked event. It is now evident that the Tour organizers turned away a true stage contender and not just any old domestique, an unfortunate mistake from a race that seems entirely too concerned about appearances. Perhaps the ASO will soon recognize that there isn’t much of an image to tarnish anymore.

The Saeco team’s report on the Trofeo Matteotti:

Danilo Di Luca has won the Trofeo Matteotti race in central Italy on Sunday, beating Oskar Camenzind and Paolo Bossoni. It was personal revenge for Di Luca ¬back in Italy after his undeserved exclusion from the Tour de France and after just missing out in the Italian national championships.

The successful day for Team Saeco was completed with the return to racing of Eddy Mazzoleni. He was brought back into the team yesterday after the end of his temporary suspension that followed the start of investigations that also include Danilo Di Luca.

“It’s a huge satisfaction for me and for the team,” Di Luca said with a smile. “After the disappointment of the Tour winning the Trofeo Matteotti on my home roads is doubly pleasing. It’s obvious it doesn’t pay me back for the damage I’ve suffered in France but it boosts my morale for the second part of the season which I hope will be more fortunate and more satisfying. I want to thank my team mates and the team that supported me so much in the last few days”.

Now Di Luca will ride the Uniqa Classic in Austria from July7-10 and then the Brixia Tour in Italy from July 23-25.

First Batch Of Pro Tour Teams Announced
Eleven teams are currently secure in their selection for next year’s UCI Pro Tour. Suddenly, that twinkle in the UCI’s eye is becoming distinct reality, and ready or not, it really is going to happen. There are seven more available spots, so look for a number of teams to really make pushes for the the leftovers. 24 teams submitted applications, 11 teams have been selected, so six teams will definitely be shivering outside, but hey, don’t worry, there’s always those non-Pro Tour events!

The eleven teams:

1. Abarca Sports S.L. (Illes Balears-Banesto)
2. Active Bay S.L. (Liberty Seguros)
3. ARcycling AG (Phonak Hearing Systems)
4. Cofidis Competition Eusrl (Cofidis, Le Crйdit par tйlйphone)
5. Esperanza B.V.B.A. (Quick Step – Davitamon)
6. H-S-M Holczer Radsport-Marketing GmbH (Gerolsteiner)
7. Professional Cycling Promotion B.V. (Rabobank)
8. Sociйtй de Gestion de L’Echappйe (FDJeux.com)
9. Tailwind Sports Corporation (US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor / Discovery Channel)
10. Vйlo Club de Paris Eursl (Crйdit Agricole)
11. Walter Godefroot GmbH (T-Mobile Team)

Hey, wait a second, hold the applause, stop the music, where’s Kelme?

Some Australia Love
The Australian Olympic men’s road team has been announced, and take a wild guess who isn’t riding – perennial non-selected, Cadel Evans. The Australian selectors were forced to leave Cadel Evans off of the team after Walter Godefroot of T-Mobile warned them repeatedly that the race might be too dangerous, and Evans could possibly hurt himself. Under Godefroot’s orders, Evans is reportedly riding a wind trainer into oblivion. Poor ol Cadel Evans. Can someone give the guy a bone? Maybe? Just a little one? If no one else will select Cadel Evans for important teams and events, I will. I hereby select Cadel Evans to be my training partner for the winter, I’ll even let him ride his mountain bike and ride downhill really fast.

The Australian Team (which is by no means weak)
Baden Cooke
Robbie McEwen
Stuart O’Grady
Michael Rogers
Matthew White

Hey, look at that, the Australian National Champion doesn’t go to the Olympics for Australia either. Freddie Rodriguez can at least take solace in that.

In Other Olympic Games News
Will Lance Armstrong give up his spot on the Olympic Team? Reports are showing up that indicate that Armstrong is not exactly slobbering over the chance to represent the USA at the Olympic Games.

“I know for sure, that I will fly back to Texas immediately after the Tour to see my kids. What that means for my start in the Olympics, I can only say that it isn’t at the top of my Priority List…I have respect for the Games, but haven’t decided whether to take part yet.”

Hmmmm. I can think of at LEAST five riders who failed to take a win in the Selection Race who would probably pay for that spot, hell, they might give up a finger or two for that once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country in the Olympic Games. Give it to someone who really really wants it, there’s a good chance they’ll do good with it. If we’re really lucky maybe USA Cycling will do ANOTHER Selection Race! What fun.

It’s Official
David Millar will definitely not be representing the UK in this year’s Olympic Games, and he’ll be lucky if he ever gets the shot as a lifetime ban looms as an imminent possibility. I’m not siding with dopers in any way, but a lifetime ban? Maybe I’m a softie that believes in the fallibility of humans, but a lifetime ban? That’s intense. Same goes for the JUNIOR trackie, Mark French, I definitely never made any ill-advised decisions as a teenager, and you didn’t either, right? Ha, look at me talking like a crusty, white-haired sage at 21.

Do You Want Some Dope?
Closing today is Cycling Australia’s attempt at addressing doping in the sport, with a nifty little acronym to put LASER to shame. This article supplied by another Pez sleuth, Paul Aubrey…

Cycling Australia introduces P.E.D.A.L. in the wake of the OAnderson Inquiry№

July 3, 2004

Cycling Australia today welcomed the findings of the OAnderson Inquiry№ which has found no present evidence to support allegations by Mark French against five unnamed cyclists.

іMr Anderson has conducted a thorough and detailed investigation and we fully accept his findings and recommendations,І said Graham Fredericks,
Chief Executive Officer, Cycling Australia. іOur sport has been under intense scrutiny during recent days and we welcome the resolution of this crisis.

іOur athletes have also been under immense pressure and they are now looking forward to putting this behind them an concentrating solely on their goal of representing Australia at the Athens Olympic Games.І

In the wake of the OAnderson Inquiry№ Cycling Australia today announced a five point action plan (P.E.D.A.L.).

Whilst the OAnderson Inquiry№ has found no case to answer by any cyclists Cycling Australia has recognised that in light of the suspension of Mark French for doping offences changes to the current system are warranted.

іThe suspension of Mark French and his allegations have put our sport in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons,І said Mr Fredericks, Chief Executive Office, Cycling Australia. іThe Board of Cycling Australia, it№s coaches and the athletes have been saddened by the image of cycling that has been portrayed but recognise that it is our responsibility to regain the loss of public confidence in our sport.І

іRather than delay we have, for the past ten days, been discussing a range of issues, identifying possible weak areas in our programs and developing this initiative.І

The result of this consultative process is P.E.D.A.L., a five point plan, which Cycling Australia and the riders believe is a positive step forward.

іFor the most part P.E.D.A.L. is already in place in other areas of our National Program, most notably the U23 road program based in Italy where Head Coach, Shayne Bannan, has achieved great success,І said Mr Fredericks. іBut we now recognise that we should also have operated the same system for our Australian based cyclists.І

The Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport have been consulted and fully support the initiative.

P.E.D.A.L.

a) Progressive Introduction

Cycling Australia has confirmed a policy direction whereby talented young cyclists, once identified, will be progressively introduced into full time sport. CA will actively encourage young cyclists to either finish school or
learn a trade or job skill before beginning full time participation in the National Program. They will be introduced into the program in stages to enable them to make an easier transition into the world of a full time cyclist.

b) Encourage Communication

CA coaches, staff and athletes agree to an Open Communication policy in relation to the use of vitamins and supplements. Coaches and staff agree to give all athletes a fair hearing, invite discussion and, if necessary,
research whether a legal substance an athlete believes may assist them in training will in fact do so. In return all athletes agree to participate and to willingly seek the advice of staff and coaches.

c) Dob in a Drug Cheat

CA will actively encourage all athletes and members to raise any legitimate issues or concerns they have about possible doping offences within the sport with either the Athlete Advocate or another person appointed for the purpose. These concerns will be dealt with in confidence. Every member of
the sport bears some responsibility for the future of the sport and this is a chance for all members to exercise that responsibility.

Cycling Australia has a zero-tolerance policy for drug cheats and our members deserve to compete in a fair and safe environment.

d) Athlete Advocate.

CA will introduce Athlete Advocates. These appointees will be people who are respected by both the athletes and the staff and who can act as mentors and counsellors for our elite cyclists.

Their primary role will be to look after the mental welfare of our athletes in confidence. This is already in place on an informal basis in the track program and with our overseas road programs but CA intends to formalise this and will seek candidates as soon as possible.

New members of the National Program will meet the Athlete Advocates as part of orientation and the Advocates will then be available either in person, by phone or through email for the athels.

These nominated Advocates will also sit down with each and every new recruit and explain the Athlete Agreement, Code of Conduct, Disciplinary Procedures and Anti-Doping Policy and answer any questions the athlete may have about
these.

e) Life Skills and Personal Responsibility

Life Skills and Personal Responsibility will form an integral part of National Program. This system is already in place in the U23 program in Italy whereby athletes are given a place to live and an allowance (allowance?!? count me IN) and are responsible for their own budgets, cooking, cleaning, washing etc. This will be a compulsory component of the Program and will be introduced as a natural progression post the Athens Olympics.

Educational opportunities and activities will also be available to assist our athletes to learn skils and gain experience for later life. The athletes will be actively involved in developing this scheme.

іCycling Australia recognises that our role is not only to produce champions,І said Mr Fredericks. іWe also have a responsibility to help our cyclists become champion citizens.І

Cycling Australia will also look into adopting a broader range of testing options than are currently available through the Australian Sports Drug Agency and the World Anti Doping Authority.

іI can№t elaborate at this early stage but we will be looking into a variety of options,І said Mr Fredericks.

Visit the Cycling Australia website
www.cycling.org.au Below is the statement read by Shane Kelly on behalf of the sprint group at the start of the Rockhampton Media Conference also staged today.

іFirstly I№d like to say on behalf of everyone here how proud and honoured we are to have been nominated to the Athens Olympic Games team. This will be my fourth Olympics and Sean№s second but for the youngsters up here it will
be their first experience of Olympic competition.

We№ve all been upset by what has gone on in the past couple of weeks because we love cycling and the accusations and allegations have been very hard to deal with.

But they№ve also brought us closer together. We№ve used the crisis as a motivator in our training and as a group have supported each other through this.

We№d also like to say thanks to the Australian Sports Commission, Australian Institute of Sport and Cycling Australia for their support of us through this crisis.

We are obviously relieved that the issue is now resolved, as we knew it would be, and we look forward to putting our full focus and energy into training so that when we get to Athens we can make our families, friends and all Australians proud of their Olympic Cyclists.

We№re also looking forward to working with Cycling Australia to implement the P.E.D.A.L. plan in our program.І

(www.jeredgruber.com)

 

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