TOP STORY: Tour ’98 Fall Out
Last week the French Senate announced the positive tests from the 1998 Tour de France naming Andrea Tafi, Erik Zabel, Bo Hamburger, Laurent Jalabert, Marcos Serrano, Jens Heppner, Jeroen Blijlevens, Nicola Minali, Mario Cipollini, Fabio Sacchi, Eddy Mazzoleni, Jacky Durand, Abraham Olano, Laurent Desbiens, Marco Pantani, Manuel Beltran, Jan Ullrich and Kevin Livingston as having traces of EPO. And a list of suspicious riders: Ermanno Brignoli, Alain Turicchia, Pascal Chanteur, Frederic Moncassin, Bobby Julich, Roland Meier, Giuseppe Calcaterra, Stefano Zanini, Eddy Mazzoleni, Stephane Barthe, Stuart O’Grady and Axel Merckx. Since then there has been a backlash on some of the riders.
Lauren Jalabert had removed himself from his Tour TV pundit’s job before this year race as he had been warned his name would become public. Since then he has never admitted his EPO use, but has also not denied it either. Jalabert has made a statement through his lawyer saying that he regrets: “that through the excesses of a past period, the image of contemporary cycling and that of the Tour de France have again been besmirched when he has always worked to promote them.”
Stuart O’Grady was listed as “suspicious” and at the end of this year’s Tour he announced his retirement and admitted using EPO only once during 1998. The Australian Olympic Committee asked him to resign from the Athletes’ Commission and terminated his membership.
Vuelta a España technical director Abraham Olano has been dismissed by the organisers Unipublic. In a statement from the company they said: “Unipublic has seen the inescapable necessity of ending the working relationship maintained over the years with the technical director of the Vuelta, Mr. Abraham Olano Manzano.” They added; “this decision does not prejudice the actions or responsibilities of Mr. Abraham Olano as to the allegations made against him, but is based solely on the information that has been revealed.”
Erik Zabel admitted in 2007 that he used EPO for the 1996 Tour de France, but that was it, never again. In Today’s (Monday) Süddeutsche Zeitung he admits that he doped from 1996 to 2003. “EPO, cortisone, then even blood doping. It was a whole lot, in 2003 I got a re-infusion before the Tour de France,” he told the newspaper. He has resigned his position as Sport Director of the Vattenfalls Cyclassics.
Joroen Blijlevens is at present a DS with the Belkin team and won a stage in the 1998 Tour de France before leaving the race. Along with all other riders and staff of the three Dutch ProTour teams, Blijlevens signed a document declaring he had never used doping products. In light of his possible deception he and the team have agreed to separate. He commented “Just like many riders of my time, I would have liked to be a pro bike rider in this era. We are on the right way. Things have really changed.”
On the other side of the coin, Tom Steels was amongst the “suspicious” list, but his Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team has said his job as a DS and a trainer is safe and team manager Patrick Lefevere suggested that France has bigger problems at the moment than a 15 year old doping case.
In the end that’s what it comes down to, was it worth it? There weren’t any surprises in the list and as it was 15 years ago there will not be any legal action, but to lose your job I think is enough retribution, along with the loss of respect.
Here is how the 1998 Tour was reported at the time on Australian TV:
Clásica San Sebastián-Donostia Klasikoa 2013
Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard) made it into the successful move of the day when Nairo Quintana dragged his Movistar team leader Alejandro Valverde past the early break and into the lead with the top men of the day on the second and last climb of the Jaizbikel. In the end there was a group of Roman Kreuziger & Nico Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), Moreno Moser (Cannondale), Yannick Eijssen (BMC), Mikel Landa (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ), Valverde and Tony Gallopin. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chased across to join them with three more joining later (Nieve, Jungles & Nocentini).
As Kreuziger and Valverde watched each other on the climb of the Arkale, Gallopin made his move and powered to the finish in San Sebastián for his big win. There was a bit of incision in the split chase group, but even so they could not get near the young Frenchman. Valverde won the sprint for second from Kreuziger and Nieve and Roche who were the remainder of the chase group.
Race winner Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard Trek): “I was so tired after the Tour de France and even disappointed because I couldn’t win a stage. But this morning I immediately knew that I had super good legs. I like the one-day races but this is the first time I’ve done this race so it was really new for me. But I’m so happy. To be here on the podium with Valverde and Kreuziger means a lot to me. I already felt good on the Jaizkibel and then on the Arcale I could feel I was still good. As I knew Bob Jungels was coming back I didn’t dare attack but Alain gave me the green light.”
Gallopin added: “I gave everything with the plan to see where I would be on the top of the Arcale. I was alone, so I decided to go for it alone till the end. This is nice for me after a season with illness or mechanical problems at bad moments. This is a nice start of something new. Not that I will ask to be a leader now. I will not change. The team can continue to count on me.”
Echoing Gallopin’s enthusiasm was teammate Bob Jungels who offered his congratulations to Tony: “Le grand Tony! It’s awesome to again be part of such a big victory. I fell in love with this race today and I’m looking forward to the next years.”
Tony concluded: “Last night at dinner my teammate Markel Irizar explained in detail to all of us about Basque habits and how to put the txapela on our head in case of victory. We were prepared!”
Team director ‘Uncle’ Alain Gallopin: “Tony told me he had good legs on the Arcale so I told him to go. Cycling is not complicated. I think the victory is well deserved. We didn’t start with one leader as we had many, many riders in good shape, like Bakie, Haimar, Tiago, Stijn and Bob. The fact that we’ve also won the Teams GC here illustrates the teamwork involved. Tony was probably the smartest guy as he didn’t waste his forces on the first climb of the Jaizkibel. Yesterday when we arrived from the airport we did a recon of that climb with Tony behind my car and he liked it. It was at that point he already showed his motivation.”
Second placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “We have to be happy with this result, because we did the best we could to win, as well myself as the rest of the team. We knew we were the favourites – though it’s even more difficult to show it when everyone is looking at you – and took charge of the pace into the bunch from the beginning. My team-mates were phenomenal today. The strategy was making the race hard with Nairo into the second Jaizkibel climb to split the group and make it easy to control, and we succeeded. Kreuziger attacked in the final slopes, and even though I waited a bit to see how he went, I had to move with 1k remaining because he was too dangerous. I caught him into the downhill, but after that, it was impossible to go after every single wheel, and Gallopin was gone. I was hopeful we could chase him down, because we were getting closer and closer and even saw him into the final small climb in the city, but it was impossible. I was there with two Euskaltel’s and two Saxo’s and couldn’t simply push more than them and burning myself. Now it’s time to take some days of rest, but not too much – I didn’t really train hard this week. It’s time to think about the Vuelta.”
Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger finished third behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) while Nicholas Roche finished fifth: “Finishing third and fifth in a race like San Sebastian is a good result for the team, of course and it surely demonstrates the superb form both Roman and Nicholas are carrying along from the Tour. Maybe we opened the attack too early on Jaizkibel as Roman was brought back on the following descent but he went for it and showed a lot of guts out there. In the finale, the front group riders were playing cat and mouse, which was to Gallopin’s advantage. In the sprint, Valverde was the strongest and Roman hit the bottom spot of the podium after the lead out from Nicholas,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Philippe Mauduit.
Clásica San Sebastián-Donostia Klasikoa Result:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard in 5:39:03
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff
4. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:29
6. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:36
7. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 0:51
8. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.
Clásica San Sebastián-Donostia Klasikoa:
Tour de Pologne 2013
Stage 1 of the Tour of Poland was launched in Italy with a 184.5 kilometre long mountain stage going from Rovereto to the uphill finish on Madonna di Campiglio where the first GC battle took place. As a twist and a UCI experiment in the race, the teams are only allowed six riders each to make it harder to control the pack and the breakaways.
Even though several breakaways were established in the start of the stage, Serge Pauwels (Omaga Pharma – Quick-Step) was alone entering the uphill finish to Campaglio before the field with Cannondale as the main engine pulled the solo rider back in with 9 kilometres to go.
From then on, random attacks were launched from everywhere and both Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Chris Anker Sørensen and Rafal Majka were very active in the finale. The Dane was in a very promising break towards the end of the stage but was brought back. He still had the stamina to lead out teammate, Rafal Majka who finished third in the sprint.
Because of bonus seconds during the stage, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Chris Anker Sørensen is second overall and Majka is fourth: “The entire team did a fantastic job throughout the stage and Rafa and I were well-protected at all times until the finale where we knew things would get tactical as the slope weren’t that steep. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but I’m confident that the form is good enough to make it. Tomorrow’s the next long mountain stage and I think that the peloton could be split with 60 kilometres to go so we have to pay attention and be ready at the front of the pack,” said Saxo-Tinkoff Dane, Chris Anker Sørensen.
The Tour de Pologne could not have started better for Lampre-Merida with the stage win and the overall standings by Diego Ulissi. He waited for the final and with the long sprint train from Lampre-Merida, he fought off Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) and Rafa Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff).
Stage winner Diego Ulissi: “I’m really happy to have centred the victory today, for me and for the whole Team. I thank my team mates because they have really shown that we are a united group and that’s when everything runs perfectly including the bad luck, we are there to fight with the best riders out there. Now the first step is done so we must continue on this path and try to bring home more wins until the end.”
Tour de Pologne Stage 1:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:59:32
2. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff
4. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
10. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge.
Tour de Pologne Overall After Stage 1:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:59:22
2. Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff
3. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 0:04
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:06
5. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 0:10
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard.
As expected, it was a chaotic and demanding day in Stage 2 of the Tour of Poland, where a total of 5000 climbing meters on a mountainous course over 206 kilometres really tested the riders from Marilleva Val di Sole to the uphill finish of Passo Pordoi Val di Fassa. It was also the final day in Italy before the race takes the peloton back to Poland after tomorrow’s rest day.
A handful of riders including this year’s Giro d’Italia winner; Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) were working relentlessly in the breakaway to keep the chasing peloton at a distance. With 8 kilometres to go, Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Moniale) launched a fierce attack from the front group and soloed his way up the mountain just like he did in this year’s Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez. However, this time he didn’t just chase the stage win but also the leader’s jersey.
Behind, Saxo-Tinkoff’s Chris Anker Sørensen and Rafal Majka were now chasing. Riblon took the stage win but Majka finished in 5th position, which was good enough to secure him the overall lead of the race. Sky’s Sergio Henao was 4th moving into 2nd overall, with his ride Riblon was now 3rd.
Cramp stopped the yellow jersey defending his lead on the stage; Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi had his problem at the approach of Passo Costalunga (40 km to go) and then could not recover to join the top men at the front. He finished in 62nd position, at 27:26 to the winner Riblon. “I aimed to repeat yesterday great performance, in order to try to remain in the upper part of the overall classification,” Ulissi explained. “Unluckily, I had a bad day on such a difficult course. I’m sorry, especially because my team mates had supported me in the best way, balancing the energies in the control of the race.”
Tour de Pologne Stage 2 Result:
1. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale in 6:03:40
2. Thomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack Leopard at 1:02
3. Georg Preidler (Aut) Argos-Shimano at 1:18
4. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 1:35
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff
6. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:38
7. Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:40
8. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:44
10. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar.
Tour de Pologne Overall After Stage 2:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff in 11:04:43
2. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:04
3. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:06
4. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:07
5. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:09
6. Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 0:13
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 0:16
10. Thomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack Leopard at 0:18.
Post stage interviews with stage winner Christophe Riblon and overall leader Rafal Majka:
Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika 2013
Daniel Teklehaimanot soloed to victory at Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika. The Eritrean left his eight former break companions behind in the closing three kilometres of the one day Spanish classic in Basque Country. It is the first professional victory for Teklehaimanot in Europe.
“I’m really happy,” said Teklehaimanot. “I’m so happy to get this victory for the team. Everybody worked really hard. We did a lot of work in the peloton and we always had a rider in the break. It was with the team that I get this win.”
“Daniel and Wes [Wesley Sulzberger] were in the front together,” Sport Director Neil Stephens added. “They played off each other. Eventually toward the finish, the boys talked amongst themselves. They worked the tactics out. Daniel hit them first. The rest of the group had to chase him down. Wes was ready to take care of the small group sprint if it came back together.”
Before Teklehaimanot and Sulzberger escaped the stranglehold of the bunch, Jens Keukeleire flew the flag for ORICA-GreenEDGE in the early break. The Belgian was part of an early move of 18 riders that animated the field as it was whittled down to 13 riders, then 8 and finally three. The peloton overtake Keukeleire and his two breakmates around the 20 kilometre mark.
“This is a hard race,” said Stephens. “There’s a lot of climbing and it’s always raced aggressively. On the start, I knew we had a few different options, but I wasn’t sure how the race would pan out. I also wasn’t sure about anybody’s form. I knew they had all done their best in training, but after such a long break from racing, I wasn’t sure how they’d come off today.”
“We had Jens in the early break,” Stephens continued. “Cannondale tried to control. We were happy to have Jens out there, but we also knew we had options in the finish.”
Shortly after Keukeleire’s escape attempt came to a close, Haritz Orbe (Euskadi-Euskaltel) and Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) slipped down the road. The duo gained only a small advantage before ORICA-GreenEDGE set a tempo that bridged the gap. The peloton split after the penultimate climb. Angel Madrazo (Movistar) launched an attack that would inspire the winning move. Ten kilometres from the finish, Teklehaimanot and Sulzberger were part of a nine rider escape.
“I did my attack at 2.5km,” said Teklehaimanot. “I opened up about 10” and I continued like that to the finish.”
Teklehaimanot soloed to his monumental victory 2” ahead of Madrazo. David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) narrowly edged out Sulzberger in the small group sprint for the final spot on the podium. The peloton finished the race nearly a minute behind the winner.
“This race is generally won by a rider coming off the Tour de France or a hard man with a punch,” said Stephens. “We had a few Tour riders on the start line, but a hard man won today. It’s a big win for Daniel. I’m not surprised, but I’m certainly happy for him and the team.”
Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika Result:
1. Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Orica Greenedge in 3:55:18
2. Ángel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar at 0:02
3. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:08
4. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica Greenedge
5. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar
6. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale
7. Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
9. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:15
10. Egoitz García (Spa) Cofidis at 0:53.
Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika:
Women’s Tour of Britain?
British Cycling president and UCI presidential candidate; Brian cookson has announced that the organisers of the 2014 Tour of Britain will also organise a 5-day international stage race for women.
Cookson said in a statement: “There’s been a lot of attention recently on the need to develop women’s cycling at all levels of the sport and it is a key part of my election manifesto for the Presidency of the UCI. People are passionate about the issue and are rightly frustrated that not enough is being done.”
“At British Cycling we’ve got hold of the issue and are coming to the end of tendering for the organiser who will be responsible for our biggest international event, the Tour of Britain, for the next five years. It was really important to me that we used that process to secure a transformation in elite women’s racing so I’m pleased to be able to confirm that there will now be a five-day international stage race for women in Britain in 2014. The event will be separate from the men’s race, but it will be promoted to a high standard.”
“Having an international field competing in a stage race in my home country provides a template for the kind of changes I will develop on the international stage if I’m successful in my bid to become UCI President in September. We need to work closely with organisers, sponsors, teams and broadcasters to create new events on the professional calendar. A women’s equivalent of the Tour de France is one potential solution and the focus of attention of a really successful petition which now has over 77,000 signatures.”
“Undoubtedly having a female equivalent of the biggest bike race in the world is an objective we should need to explore. This is why I am currently setting up a meeting involving Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and other key representatives behind the petition with the right people, including Tour de France owners ASO and UCI Management Committee member Tracey Gaudry.”
“Cycling has a long way to go to ensure women’s cycling is given an equal stage to the men’s events. We won’t get there tomorrow, nor next week, but what riders like Marianne and Emma have achieved shows us the potential there is given the right focus, investment and, crucially, leadership by the UCI.”
No Women’s Tour de France?
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has dismissed the idea of a Woman’s Tour de France to run in parallel with the men’s edition. During a visit to Yorkshire to inspect the roads to be used for the English stages he pointed out that it would be too difficult to run a woman’s event due to the size of the Tour. He was also scathing towards the 70,000 signature petition, saying; “it would have been much easier to talk to us directly instead of a petition and opening your mailbox one morning and you don’t know what has happened.” Prudhomme and ASO are not totally against the idea of a woman’s Tour de France, but think it impossible to run at the same time as the men’s race.
The woman’s Tour de France…a long time ago:
Possible new Sponsors for Vacansoleil-DCM?
With the announcement that both named sponsors would end their support of the team after the end of the year, the team started the uphill battle to replace them. Press relations and sponsor manager Frank Kwanten has said there are three possible companies considering a deal with the team. He also suggested that the team might drop down a level to Pro Continental with the hope of returning in 2015. The riders have been told to look out for any opportunities with a new team.
The Riis/Tinkov Marriage Over
The discussions between team owner Bjarne Riis and Tinkoff Bank owner Oleg Tinkov have ended without an agreement and both parties have parted ways. It was only a few weeks ago that Tinkov suggested that he was so happy with the arrangement that the team would be called Tinkoff-Saxo for the coming season. Tinkov has been quite scathing towards the performance and wages of Alberto Contador on Twitter and made his leaving announcement via the same way. For his part Bjarne Riis released a statement to the press saying that “it has become clear that we are unable to settle on common views and the ideas that are necessary for our partnership to grow and be successful for both parties beyond 2013.” He also suggests that the problem might be more due to sporting considerations not financial as he said; ”most importantly, we disagree on how the team should be run.” Tinkov has also said he will start his own team in 2014, with a 5 year commitment. This will be his second attempt at having his own team as he had a Continental team in 2006 which raced as ProContinental in 2007 and 2008.
End of the Road for Eskaltel-Euskadi?
It’s looking more likely that there will be no Basque team next season as the riders and staff has been advised to look for new teams for the coming year. A report in the Basque newspaper Deia said that the riders at the Clasico San Sebastián were given the bad news before the race. The team was founded in 1994 and is the longest running team on the Pro circuit. Many of the top Spanish riders have come through the Euskadi system and its loss will be felt no only in the Basque country but throughout Spain.
Euskaltel-Euskadi: More than a team:
On the bus with Team Saxo-Tinkoff
Press Release: After crowdsourcing questions from its followers on social media, Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, joined winners of the Tour de France Team Competition on their bus for a chat.
Saxo Bank met the riders of Team Saxo-Tinkoff and recorded an intimate video session on the bus just before the race officially began and the bunch rode around the gardens of the palace of Versailles showcasing yet another popular tourist attraction of the host nation.
Saxo Bank had invited its followers on social media to ask questions of anything but cycling and the questions went from favourite TV shows over who’s the funniest guy to childhood dreams.
Michael Rogers, Roman Kreuziger, Nicolas Roche, Matteo Tosatto, Daniele Bennati, Sergio Paulinho, Alberto Contador, Jesus Hernandez and Benjamin Noval willingly answered the questions on the day the 100th anniversary edition of the Tour de France came to an end.
The full video is now available here: www.saxocycling.com.
Saxo Bank’s SaxoCycling.com project presents an unprecedented video portrait of Team Saxo-Tinkoff in ten masterful short films: on the road, in training, preparing to win. On top of that, Saxo Bank added two additional films during the Tour de France featuring Saxo Bank’s co-CEOs and founders. The two extra films were added to the project after Saxo Bank secured two prizes at the 34th Annual Telly Awards.
Vuelta a España promo for 2013
The Vuelta a España starts in Galicia on the 24th of August, so we don’t have long to wait. Here is this year’s promo video featuring piper Carlos Núñez:
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
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