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First Edition Cycling News for October 16, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Andreu and Vaughters "gossiped" about US Postal's alleged doping practices

Jon Vaughters
Photo ©: Beth Seliga
(Click for larger image)

L'Equipe, in its Friday, October 13 edition, has published excerpts of an electronic conversation between Jonathan Vaughters, team director of development squad TIAA-Cref, and Frankie Andreu, former US Postal rider. The communication, which reportedly took place on July 26, 2005, was presented by Andreu's wife Betsy during the court case opposing Lance Armstrong and insurance company SCA in February 2006. In it, the two former teammates of the seven-times Tour de France winner, converse about doping within cycling, and, more precisely, within the US Postal team.

In the article, L'Equipe quotes Andreu, who has recently admitted that he used EPO to boost his performances in 1999, the first year Armstrong won the Tour, as writing that he was surprised when Vaughters said that during his time at Crédit Agricole, he did not receive any injections. Vaughters, who had been with the US Postal cycling team from 1998-1999, rode for the French squad from 2000-2002.

"When I was at Crédit Agricole, all the teams were supposed to receive 25 injections per day... Well, at Crédit, there were zero!" said Vaughters according to the article, to which Andreu is reported to have replied: "You're saying that no rider received any injection? That's crazy..." Vaughters: "That's when I realized that Lance was really fooling us when he said that everybody was doing as we did... Believe me, as crazy as it may seem, Moreau didn't take anything, his hematocrit was 39."

The current TIAA-Cref manager is said to have continued by saying that he "could explain how Lance fools everybody. With everything Floyd [Landis?] told me, I know the method exactly. [...] It's very complicated to get around the controls now but there is no new product or miracle thing, it's just a question of money and very precise planning. That explains why they all got dropped. They didn't have their tanks full, and then, during the rest day, boom! 800 millilitres of red blood cells, stored in bags. They took that blood out just after the Dauphiné." According to L'Equipe, Vaughters was alluding to stage seven of the Tour de France that year, when Lance Armstrong was left without teammates in the relatively easy climbs of the Alsace region, one day prior to the race's first rest day.

"But how do they store and hide it during all that time?" Andreu then asked. "I'm sure it's not in the bus fridges." To which Vaughters replied, "It's transported on a motorbike, in frozen cases. Floyd has photos of all of that."

Contacted by Cyclingnews about his statements, Vaughters admitted that the IM conversation had taken place, but said that everything he had said was based on rumours rather than facts. "It was a gossipy conversation between two people," he said. "There's nothing in it that I could prove in court, just stuff I'd heard." The conversation had been printed out by Frankie Andreu's wife and submitted to the SCA arbitration, according to Vaughters.

Vaughters said he could not be sure if Floyd Landis really had photographs of the alleged doping practices. "I regret saying Floyd said anything to me in that IM because it was a friend of Floyd's," he continued. "In fact, everything I wrote in that IM was something I heard from somewhere else."

T-Mobile women shape up for 2007

By Hedwig Kröner

The magenta-clad girls of the T-Mobile women's cycling team will be going into their second year of existence on European racing roads in 2007, and quite a lot of changes have been made for the upcoming season. As has already been reported, the squad's manager Bob Stapleton will be taking over the - much more famous - men's ProTour team next year, which is also in profound reformation. Taking his place within the women's team will be Kristy Scrymgeour, a former cyclist herself, who leaves her position as an advertising manager for Cyclingnews to join the team.

Last season's directeur sportif Andrzej Bek will be replaced by Australian Anna Wilson, a former world ranked number one road rider, and a new coach has been appointed; Petra Rossner, who can look back an extremely successful career as a pro cyclist herself.

The new team gathered for the first time last week on the shores of Lake Lugano, and its roster for next season is - to say the least - a promising one. With three riders staying on for next year (Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Judith Arndt and Kim Anderson), the squad of eleven counts eight newcomers from six nations: Kate Bates, Chantal Beltman, Suzanne de Goede, Emilia Fahlin, Alex Rhodes, Linda Melanie Villumsen, Anke Wichmann and, last but not least, Oenone Wood.

"It has been exciting building the roster into what we think will be a very strong team," Scrymgeour said. "The changes to the roster were only natural as quite a few of the girls from this year were winding up their career. For 2007 we have a really good mixture of experience and young talent."

The team hopes to be able to build on this year's success, where Judith Arndt has won seven, and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg eleven races, with T-Mobile finishing the 2006 season in second place on the World Cup points rankings. The addition of Wood, Villumsen and the two Dutch girls De Goede and Beltman will make the roster more versatile for classic one-day races and small tours. "We will target all the season’s major races, especially the one day races on the World Cup calendar, Scrymgeour continued. "We have strength-in depth and plenty of experience in the roster, so different athletes will be able to concentrate on their peaks to target specific races, where they can count on the support of a strong and motivated team."

In Lugano, the newly-built squad experienced more than just bike fitting and photo sessions: they also went on a team building date in an adventure park, where riders as well as staff could get a first glimpse of each of the T-Mobile members character during physical as well as mental strain.

Watch out for an extensive feature on the magenta girls' day "out in the woods" coming up soon on Cyclingnews.

Luperini to Nobili

Top Girls' Fabiana Luperini will be racing for Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas next season. The 32 year-old climber, who has won four women's Giro d'Italia and three Tour de France féminines, has signed a one-year deal with the team. Luperini this season won six races, amongst which the Italian Championships. She will lead the Nobili team throughout the 2007 season.

No podium ceremonies in Como

An empty podium:
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

After the last ProTour race this season, the Giro di Lombardia won by Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), race organiser RCS saw its podium remain empty. The usual presentation of the three fastest riders wasn't carried out, because the teams had decided to boycott the ceremony before the race had even started. Because 2006 ProTour winner wasn't going to be honoured in Como, all the ProTour teams showed their solidarity with Caisse d'Epargne, and thereby took the side of the UCI in the quarrel which has opposed the governing body of cycling and the organisers of the three Grand Tours for over two years now.

"The peloton is unanimous," World Champion Paolo Bettini said, reading out a teams' statement prior to the start in Mendrisio. "The ProTour exists, so the winner should be honoured. That Alejandro is at the start wearing the jersey doesn't seem to interest anyone. [Valverde and his team had threatened not to start because of the lack of a ProTour ceremony, but then still participated 'out of respect for the public' - ed.] It's right that he is here and that he is honoured. The road is not the place for political fights. If you want to do something for the sport, you have to sit down at a table and talk it over to resolve the problems."

Valverde was finally honoured on Saturday evening in the ProTour Gala, where Vittorio Adorni, President of the Council of the UCI ProTour handed the trophy over to him in the presence of the UCI president Pat McQuaid.

Eleven of the 27 ProTour races are organised by ASO, Unipublic and RCS, who would like to see the events on a separate calendar, which the UCI refused. On October 26, ASO will present the 2007 Tour de France, and probably use the gathered media attention to make known the latest developments of the - somewhat stalled - negotiations with the UCI.

Piil looking forward to magenta

By Susan Westemeyer

"I think that T-Mobile is doing the right thing with its new philosophy," said team newcomer Jakob Piil. In particular, the Dane liked the idea of the new management. "Many teams are led by ex-pros, but T-Mobile has a former top manager in Bob Stapleton. He will bring fresh ideas to the team and to cycling," he said in an interview on the team's website.

The 33 year-old rode for Team CSC for the last seven years and decided to "make the cut and try again in a new team." He has known T-Mobile Directeur Sportif Brian Holm a long time, and at the end of the Tour de France this summer, "mentioned to him that I would consider a change to Bonn. A few days later I had the first contract proposal and didn't have to think about whether I wanted to sign for very long."

Piil looks forward to working with the younger riders, which he also did at CSC. "I looked after the younger riders, not just athletically but also on such things as financial questions. As a younger rider you have to learn a lot and sometimes make mistakes. It's very important in this phase to have someone who supports you, shares their experience and helps you to develop further."

Piil said that his goal at T-Mobile was "to help the team, so that it stays one of the best teams in the world." He wasn't not totally selfless, though, adding, "A stage win in one of the Grand Tours would naturally be great."

Belohvosciks to Saunier Duval

Saunier Duval-Prodir have announced the arrival of a new rider for the 2007 season: Raivis Belohvosciks, who will join the team coming from CB Immobiliare-Universal Caffé. The Latvian pro signed a two-year contract to ride with Pietro Algeri again, since Algeri used to be his sports director when he was a member of the Lampre-Daikin team.

Gord Fraser Cycling Camps announce partnerships

The Gord Fraser Cycling Camps have announced the partnership with Power Tap and Dr. Allen Lim to this winter’s event November 12-19 in Tucson, Arizona. All campers will benefit from the use of the new Power Tap SL 2.4 wireless model on their bikes and have Dr. Allen Lim, one of the world’s foremost authorities on power training, analysing their data.

For more information, visit www.gordfrasercycling.com.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)

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