Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chris Lieto Checks In From Mt. Hood Stage # 3

WOW!  Cycling is a whole different pain than triathlon.  Todays Stage was another 90 degree day.  87 miles with five climbs that were each 30 minutes totaling over 9,000 ft.  The day started with a climb right from the gun and there were a couple of attacks and I was one of those.  It seems like I am always antsy and want to get out in front.  I went first by myself and I thought well if they let me go this is going to be a very long lonely day.  They brought me back and as soon as they did I attacked again and this time 4 guys came across to me and we rode the climb together only putting about 30 seconds into the Pelaton. 

This was the hardest out of the five times up the mountain, close to max effort.  Going over the top of the climb 3 guys attacked for the KOM, which I wanted no part in, the pain was enough with the pace we were going.  They kept going and I sat up and waited for the group.  I am glad I did because that break stayed away most of the day, and they suffered quit a bit.  Being in the pelaton the next 4 times up the climb was not much easier though.  Every time up the group got smaller and smaller.  The last time up to the finish the pace was tempo and there was 2 guys up the rode just a little way so I thought I would go off on my own again and see if I could get across or just time trial myself to the finish in front of the pelaton.  It seems I don't learn very quickly. 

I expended energy I didn't need to and should have just been patient and stayed with the pelaton to the finish.  Of course they brought me back, and I hung on.  This was very painful with the last 20 minutes of the climb in the 400 watt range with many 500 plus watt efforts along the way.  The group was down to about 24 guys and it was a straight line up the hill. Once we got close there were a couple of attacks I stuck with, but with 200 meters to go they unleashed and I couldn't jump again.  With it all stung out I finished 14 seconds down from the days winner, and I moved up to 14th in the GC less than a minute from the lead.  

Doing those kind of efforts up those climbs are like nothing you experience in a triathlon or Ironman.  In an Ironman you go to a painful place that you can deal with for a long period of time.  This is going to a place you have never been before and a place you never want to go back to. 

I am hoping that these efforts will raise my fitness in cycling and running for Ironman this year.  It is something I could never do on my own training.  Five by 30 minute climbs all out, now that is a good work out.  Of course I had to get my transition run in after.  That actually made my legs feel better.

Well, tomorrow is a little more my style with a 19 mile Time Trial with 2 good climbs in it.  It is still shorter than I am used to, but I am excited to see how I come out.  

Simoni goes 1850 metres/hour

Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) conquered the 10.1-kilometre Monte Zoncolan in 1850 metres per hour according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The speed, 39 minutes over the 1203 metres, 1850 VAM (Velocity Ascended, Metres per hour Vm/h), was faster than that of Ivan Basso on the Maielletta Passo Lanciano in 2006, 1805 VAM. Marco Pantani blasted up the Alpe d'Huez with a 1791 VAM and Danilo Di Luca did the final four kilometres of Tre Cime di Lavaredo with a 1750 VAM.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chris Lieto Checks In From Mt. Hood....

Yesterday was a hard prologue.  doing 3 miles as hard as you can really hurts.  I have no experience in how to dose my effort.  It started out up a small climb, in which I went to hard and payed for it the rest of the time.  I am still very happy finishing in just under 6 min and 30 sec.  20th overall.  Painful though.  

Today was a 112 mile road race in 90 degree weather.  One of my team mates was in an early break so We just got to sit in most of the day.  Sitting in was still a good amount of work.  We caught the break with 8 miles to go and the attacks started hard and frequent.  the last 45 minutes was hard going over the climbs and through the winding country roads.  The finish was flat to a slight down hill so the pace was fast.  There was about 50 guys left out of 140 or so.  I tried a couple times to launch off the front on my own and bring a couple guys, with no luck.  We came into the finish with a speed just over 47 mph and I finished with the group in 23rd. 

Todays finished moved me up in the overall GC to 16th, 34 seconds down from the lead.  Tomorrow will be the true test, with a long road race of 87 miles.  Each lap is 18.7 miles with a 1700 foot climb each lap.  Hopefully I will stay towards the front and have a good day.  What ever happens I know I will get a great training day in.

I'm just a big hairy American winnin' machine" - Dave Z Checks In...

Recently, we caught up with the sometimes enigmatic Dave Zabriskie at the Giro d'Italia. Currently sitting just outside the top fifty in the general classification, CSC's Zabriskie has had a quiet Giro with some exceptions and has earned the praise of RAI-TV's Davide Cassani. The Italian commentator has remarked on the noticeable improvement the Z-man has made in his climbing at the Giro and his picture perfect time trial position, calling it "the best in the peloton."

The 28 year-old from Salt Lake City had a superb year in 2006, with a podium (third) in the Tour of California, the prologue and time trial stage win at the Dauphine Libéré and another US TT Championship. Zabriskie, in the last year of his contract with CSC, has always ridden well in Italy.

His first big international win came with a TT victory at the Giro delle Regione as an espoir rider. In 2004, Zabriskie was fifth in the World TT Champs in Verona and the following year, came back to Italy for the Giro, where he rocked to a stage 8 TT win and then was third in the Giro's final TT in Torino. Zabriskie finished 104th on GC in that Giro and looks set to be much further up the overall classification ranking when this Giro wraps Sunday in Milano.

When asked how his Giro was going Zabriskie didn't give the usual boring bike rider answer. "You know, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. I'm just a big hairy American winnin' machine," said Zabriskie. Inspired by his hero Ricky Bobby of film Talladega Nights, Zabriskie was brimming with confidence as the final week of the Giro d'Italia unfolded.

We told the CSC man about the RAI-TV comments and he explained "I've lost a little weight, moved my seat up and back a little", which has helped overall. But on the "tappone" to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Zabriskie had worked so much for his teammate Andy Schleck he ended up in 92nd, over 36'00" down on stage winner Riccò. Previously, on stage 13's uphill TT, Zabriskie was fourth, beating many top climbers like Pellizotti, Cunego and his teammate Schleck in the 12.6-kilometre climbing test to the Santuario di Oropa.

Z-Man told us that his role at the Giro is "To help out Andy Schleck, to stay with him as long as possible on the mountain stages." Zabriskie must be doing a good job, as Schleck, a 21 year-old phenomena is currently sitting third on GC and has the Maglia Bianca of best young rider at the Giro. As for his personal ambitions at this years Giro, US TT champ Zabriskie would love to win the upcoming stage 20 TT next Saturday, a 43-kilometre race over many of the same roads of the 2004 World Championship.

"Yeah, I would like to do well there," Zabriskie said in his usual understated manner, but his small smile belied his number one objective for this year's Giro d'Italia; another Grand Tour TT stage win in his palmarès.

Zabriskie's best friend in the peloton is Floyd Landis, even if the 2006 Tour de France winner hasn't raced since last year's Tour. We asked Zabriskie if he has been following Floyd's case and he explained "you know how it is when you're racing; you're in the race bubble so I haven't really had a chance to follow it. I hope it all turns out well for him."

Part of the legend of Z-Man is his website, and his wacky fun interviews in the "Z's Point" section. We asked Zabriskie if he was doing interviews at the Giro and he explained. "I no longer travel with my computer. I find now that when racing I just want to concentrate on that and not waste time trying to find connections to the internet. But I have some ideas about how we can get some new content on there."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ironman Champion Chris Lieto Takes On Cycling's Best At The Mt. Hood Classic

The Stages

Stage 1 - May 29: Panorama Point Prologue, 3 miles
Stage 2 - May 30: Columbia Hills Road Race, 112/84 miles
Stage 3 - May 31: Cooper Spur Circuit Race, 87/66 miles
Stage 4 - June 1: Scenic Gorge Time Trial, 18.5 miles
Stage 5 - June 2: Wy'East Road Race, 87 miles
Stage 6 - June 3: Downtown Hood River Criterium, 1 hour
Fifth Mt. Hood Classic promises epic racing

The 2007 edition of the Mt. Hood Classic starts Tuesday in Hood River, Oregon. Over the course of 6 days, the racers will climb 35,000 feet over 400 miles.

This year's race serves up a new crowning stage that covers nearly 10,000 feet of vertical over 92 miles and finishes on the flanks of Mt. Hood at the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area.

To add to the challenge, the organizers have reformatted the already epic time trial to make it a point-to-point adventure through the Columbia River Gorge that measures 18.5 miles, during which the riders will face 1950 feet of climbing. Factor in headwinds, diversity of terrain, the strongest pro field in its history, and the scenic splendor of the Gorge and Mt. Hood, and this race is without question an epic one.

In just four years, the organizers have transformed the Mt. Hood Classic from the dream of a few avid racers in the area into an established pro sanctioned race that has been selected as one of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) stops in 2007. Backed by sponsor and community support, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic attracts some of the strongest riders in North America and abroad.

The event was won is 2006 by Nathan O'Neil (Health Net/Maxxis). O'Neil returns in 2006 with a slightly different squad; he will be facing Mt. Hood stage winner Scott Moninger instead of riding beside him. Besides Health Net, expect strong domestic efforts from Navigators Insurance, California Giant Strawberries, Fordifruitta along with regional teams and even Team Rwanda (a development team of African riders sponsored in part by cycling legend Tom Ritchey who have been competing throughout the United States in 2007).

In addition to the pro/elite racing the event also hosts several different amateur categories. Over 500 riders showed up to race in 2006 making it the largest competitive road or mountain biking event in the Northwest.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fernanda Keller - fourth at Ironman Brazil

Fernanda Keller has come fourth in her home countries Ironman. The ever popular Brazilian remained steady throughout the day and methodically worked her way into the top five of a tough women’s field.

Top 10 Women

NINA KRAFT (#55) AT 9:12:39
DEDE GRIRSBAUER (#53) AT 9:18:18
BELLA COMERFORD (#51) AT 9:20:09
FERNANDA KELLER (#44) AT 9:24:28
SARA GROSS (#56) AT 9:33:08
HILLARY BISCAY (#43) AT 9:44:12
SILVANA CALCAGNO (#50) AT 10:14:29

Friday, May 25, 2007

Former Tour de France winner Riis admits doping

"I have doped. I have taken EPO."

1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis, who is now the owner and manager of Team CSC, admitted doping in a Friday press conference at CSC headquarters in Lyngby, just outside Copenhagen. The Dane, who was then riding for Team Telekom, said he took EPO in 1996, the year that he ended Miguel Indurain's five-year Tour de France winning streak.

"The time has come to put the cards on the table," said Riis. "I have done things which I now regret and which I wouldn't do again. I have doped. I have taken EPO. For awhile it was part if my life."

When a journalist questioned Riis about what else he took besides EPO, he responded that he also took hormones and cortisone.

Besides winning the Tour de France, Riis also won the 1997 Amstel Gold Race, several stages in the Giro d'Italia and multiple Danish national championships.

Riis accepted responsibility for doping, saying he bought the drugs himself. He said he lied to himself and others and wants to apologize.

"My yellow jersey is in box at home, you can come and collect it," said Riis of his 1996 Tour performance. "What matters to me are my memories."

Riis' doping was never a secret among his family. He said his wife and kids always knew. Riis offerered no new information regarding allegations of doping by former teammate Jan Ullrich. "I do not know whether he doped or not, and Jan should do what is best for him."

Riis released the following prepared statement in conjunction with the press conference:

"After the long run of confessions concerning the Telekom team in the 1990s, I have decided to give a statement about my involvement.

"I have decided this for two reasons.

"First of all, I'm doing this to keep the focus on the work we are doing today that keeps cycling in the right perspective. The massive steps we have taken to fight doping and the ways in which we have secured that the team rests on the right and proper foundations.

"I think if we are to talk about doping, we should talk about what to do now and not about the mistakes in the past. The recent developments in Germany have taken the balance out of this and therefore I want to set the record straight. And I want to do this, because the future of cycling needs the right focus.

"Second of all, I'm doing this to get rid of the endless discussions about things that are truly in the past and that I personally have put behind a long time ago. I don't want my personal past to overshadow that work and brilliant effort that Team CSC is doing today. We are the number one team in the world for the second year running and I want my riders and sponsors to be proud of that. They work, within the rules, with passion, professionalism and commitment and I want them to keep on doing that. When I was a rider in the 1990s, I worked extremely hard to get my results. I worked extremely hard, day in day out and I sacrificed a lot just even to be part of the best. In that time, the perspective on doping and preparation was wrong and misguided.

"That also means that I did things that I shouldn't have and I have regretted that ever since. Those were mistakes that I take the full responsibility for and I don't have anyone to blame but myself. We all make mistakes and I think my biggest mistake was to let my ambition get the better of me. That I have had to deal with a long time ago and I am glad to say that I am a lot wiser now. Both in my personal and in my professional life.

"I don't want the mistakes of my personal past to stand in the way of the work we are doing today. I did what it took to compete at the highest level back then, and it's a deep satisfaction for me that those days are long gone and the sport has moved in the right direction. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be here today.

"I have learned from my past - for better and for worse. The experience and wisdom I have gained informed my decision to come back to cycling and has energized me to create the best team in the world."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Olaf Sabatschus's Comeback Race

What was originally billed and hyped as Olaf Sabatschus’s attempt to secure his third championship tile at the 2007 edition of Telecom Ironman Brazil has now changed to “a come back race” the resident of Trosdorf, Germany, professed yesterday.

Late last fall the two-time winner of Ironman Brazil Olaf was delivered a message by his doctor, the kind that floors you. “Olaf, you have cancer,” the doctor informed him. Testicular cancer, to be specific, the mild mannered veteran revealed casually yesterday when asked how his Ironman Brazil preparation had gone. Sabtschus’s frankness about this period of his life left one to think of the similarities of how another well-known athlete dealt with the same diagnosis. However, Sabatschus went about his treatment and recovery in relative privacy. No announcement, press release, not a word.

Like many think immediately after being diagnosed with cancer, his initial reaction was “I am going to die.” His first thoughts were of his young family, his future … and what the eventual outcome was going be. After discussions with his doctor he found out as much out about this form of cancer as he could. He tackled his treatment and recovery like he races Ironman, hard and fast. He quickly determined that “I am going to survive.” He endured the required surgery and the subsequent two weeks of radiation and got on with his recovery. He was relieved to get reported back to him by his doctor that there were no lesions located within his body; the cancer had not spread.

Sabatschus experienced immediate results from his treatment. Now he requires less sleep and noticed an increase in energy. He must have. He has plans to race often this year. His tentative schedule has him slated to race Ironman Brazil, the Quelle Challenge in July, Ironman Korea in August and the long distance race in Woodlands Texas in November. In addition he is planning on introducing a new sports drink in July to the public. He’s also actively promoting his coaching services for all levels of triathletes. He claims facing death has mellowed him a bit: “I don’t get as intense about things.” But those competing against him this weekend had better not believe this new attitude will mean he’ll be gentler and less competitive on the race course. He wants a third Ironman Brazil title badly.

On a lighter side, he has a surprise for the professional press conference on Friday. Oscar Galindez and Sabatschus are both shooting for their third titles at Ironman Brazil. He is going issue a challenge for a tie-breaker if neither wins on Sunday in Florianopolis. He is recommending that the winner be crowned on Monday after the two have a soccer shootout from 11 meters out on the Jurere International Beach.

Karen Smyers Checks In.....

Hi all,

I just got back from racing the Florida 70.3 race (held on Disney property tantalizingly close to lots of leg-zapping amusement parks which I managed to avoid this year since I didn't bring the family).

I had a pretty good swim, coming out just over a minute behind the two leaders, Heather Gollnick and Karen Holloway. Katja Schumacher and Natasha Filliol were with me and Katja charged out of transition a few seconds ahead of me. I felt really good on the bike and took the lead by mile 5 or so and led the rest of the bike. I couldn't shake Katja or Karen so I was hoping my run legs would somehow come out from hiding; they have been shy lately for some reason :-).

I was psyched when I felt really good the first lap of the 3-lap course, running pretty much side-by-side with Katja for much of it, but had a really bad spell during the second lap. I actually thought I had gotten passed while I was running like Goofy but it turns out the pro woman that passed me was a lap behind. So it was a nice surprise to find out at the finish line that I had actually finished 2nd!

I won't be racing again until the Philadelphia (olympic-distance) Triathlon as I will primarily be hunkering down to do training for IM Lake Placid over the next 9 weeks. (Sympathy cards are appreciated.) All for now!

Karen Smyers

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Paolo Bettini Checks In.......

Hello all my friends! Ciao a tutti!

Once again I'm here with a new diary, this time at the Giro d'Italia. It's been really special for me to get to ride my national tour as World Champion and my tifosi have been really simpatico.

Up until now, the race has been really enjoyable and we've had some special experiences. First of all, the start of the Giro was incredible in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Archipelago of Maddalena. On the other hand, the transfers have not been at all easy in this Giro.

To go on a boat is always something out of the ordinary, and this time it could have gone better. These are the magnificent places we have gone and I'm happy that being part of the Giro, we've shown all over the world via the TV broadcasts these great parts of Italy and also the really large crowds who have some out to see us race past.

The stages have been spectacular, even if my teammate Andrea Tonti crashed on the first stage and broke his nose. It was a mess! Andrea was getting ready for the Giro for a long time and he was really disappointed he had to abandon. He was going to be an important part of the Quickstep team. So there are still eight of us here at the Giro d'Italia and we really want to stir things up!

In fact, that's how our Giro started; we were always on the attack. We tried something every day. I was really close to a stage win on the stage to Fiorano. But at the end of the long breakaway, I was beaten by Arvesen. A lot of hurting that day for nothing! But at least I was beaten by a real racer. Congratulations to him. For my sake, I'll try again to win a stage for sure. But not on a climb.

This is the Giro of dei Santuari; Montevergine, Nostra signora della Guardia, Oropa. I know that it would really be a miracle for me to win on one of those climbs! But there are still other good stages for me and I hope I can break the ice. I have never fallen more in a race than this year at the Giro. That's the way it goes.

Some say it's the curse of the World Champions jersey. You know what I say? I hope I'm cursed this way next year! It seems like I'm always racing through a corridor of friends. The Italian fans have been fantastic! At this Giro, I've been racing in a special Worlds Champions jersey with accents of the tricolore flag of our beautiful Italy, as a dedication to the tifosi who are there along the roads to support me.

Only 10 of these special jerseys were made by our team race wear supplier Vermarc in a special fabric. Plus our eyewear supplier BBB has donated five pairs of special airbrushed glasses; they are beautiful. And so we have decided to put these items up for a benefit auction on to benefit the European Oncological Institute in Milano. The first auction ended Sunday and the jersey went for 1290 euro and the eyewear for 255 euro! Incredible! And there are still two auctions left to go during this Giro, my friends, forza! Why not place a bid yourself'


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Big George Has A Great Day!

The stage went to Leonardo Piepoli, and the Maglia Rosa went to Andrea Noé, while the overall battle seems to be going Danilo Di Luca’s way. But how hard George Hincapie tried to set things up for his teamate, Jose Luis Rubiera! As soon as the brutal hills started after La Spezia, Hincapie was on the attack, working harder and harder to get an escape away which would put pressure on the Liquigas team and Noé. The American champion eventually succeeded, and led a six-man escape for the following four-and-a-half hours before succumbing to the pressure with just six-kilometres to go. Hincapie didn’t just climb with the climbers, he even managed to out-climb them at times…

Today, Hincapie rode the best stage of his career since winning at Pla d’Adet in the 2005 Tour de France – and he appears to have got even better as a climber! But in the end it was not enough, for the pace up the final ascent killed off Rubiera’s chances of taking the Maglia Rosa. Di Luca’s attacks for the overall victory began on that last climb, and Rubiera could not find the extra zip in his legs to stay with the men that mattered.

It was always going to be an ambitious plan by Discovery Channel, but nothing is ever gained without at least trying. But what Discovery Channel has done is given Hincapie a huge boost in morale after missing the April classics with his damaged wrist. One can only imagine what Hincapie is capable of when he is really race-fit. If George can ride like this in July, another Tour stage-win in the mountains could come his way. Yet once again, just as he did in 2005, Hincapie has produced his best ride while in the service of his team leader

Sunday, May 20, 2007

George Hincapie is enjoying his first crack at the Giro d'Italia.

"I am really enjoying the Giro," Hincapie told VeloNews. "The racing is good but it's a lot more relaxed here than the Tour. This is just what I needed."

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a complete surprise that Hincapie's never raced the Giro during his long 14-year career as a professional.

The New Yorker's focus has always been on the spring classics followed by the Tour de France. With his schedule fixed on those major goals, May was typically a recovery month and the Giro just didn't fit in.

This year wasn't supposed to be any different, but his crash at the Tour of California changed everything. Hincapie broke his wrist and was sidelined for his traditional charge through the spring classics.

"It was hard to miss the classics. I trained hard to be ready but I wasn't able to go because of my injury," Hincapie said. "I decided to come here to put in some racing miles. You can't get training like this at home. It will get me in shape for the Tour."


ALEXANDER has just won the 2007 Ford Ironman 70.3 Florida with a time of 03:50:27! Lessing and Bell round out the top 3.

Karen Smyers Gets 2nd Overall At Florida Half Ironman!

With a time of 04:34:06 KAREN SMYERS has held off the challenger TINE DECKERS to become the second woman across the finish line at today's Florida Half Ironman. Congratulations, Karen!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ale-Jet flies over Hushovd and Bettini, Pinotti keeps Rosa

Alessandro Petacchi revved his big engine to success on the Mugello race track in Tuscany. Team Milram had its cylinders pumping hard in the finale with Lancaster and then Ongarato to deliver the 33 year-old Italian to the win over Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Danilo Napolitano (Lampre-Fondital). Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile) enjoyed his first full day in pink and arrived safely to keep the leader's Maglia Rosa.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Giro d'Italia - 2007

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6


1, LAVERDE JIMENEZ Luis Felipe, COL, PAN, 4:58:23 (35,993 Km/h)
2, PINOTTI Marco, ITA, TMO, 0:00
3, KERN Christophe, FRA, C.A, 1:30
4, SCHWAB Hubert, SUI, QSI, 1:34
5, CONTRINI Daniele, ITA, TCS, 3:45
6, BALIANI Fortunato, ITA, PAN, 6:55
7, PETACCHI Alessandro, ITA, MRM, 7:09
8, USAU Aliaksandr, BLR, A2R, 7:09
9, PALUMBO Giuseppe, ITA, ASA, 7:09
10, KRIVTSOV Yuriy, UKR, A2R, 7:09

Geoghegan apologises for phone call, now absent from hearing

The now former business manager for Floyd Landis, Will Geoghegan, publicly apologised for his actions through a statement issued by his attorney.

"I apologize to Greg LeMond and his family for the distress I caused by my call," the statement began. "I also apologize to the arbitration panel and to Floyd Landis and his legal team for the distraction. I have been very angry about how unfair this whole proceeding is to Floyd, a great friend and a greater champion, and stupidly tried to take out my anger on Greg."

Geoghegan's statement went on to say that his actions were influenced partly by alcohol consumption. "I acted on my own, impulsively, after a beer or two. I never thought about keeping Greg from testifying. If I had, I would have concluded that since Greg is such a fierce competitor my stunt would likely make him more resolved to testify. What I did was wrong and very unfair to Greg. I am very sorry about and embarrassed by my conduct."

It is not clear if the statement was released as a result of any contact between the lawyers for Geoghegan or LeMond. Calls to Geoghegan were not returned. No ruling had been made by the three-person arbitration panel

At the end of the morning session, one of USADA's lawyers, Mr. Barnett, asked the panel if Mr. Geoghegan would be indeed returning to testify, as he was about to take the stand when Mr. Suh asked for a break so that Mr. Geoghegan could consult legal counsel. Mr. Barnett implied that the absence of Mr. Geoghegan from the proceedings today indicated that the Landis side was "trying to hide Mr. Geoghegan."

The panel responded that they have no authority to compel Mr. Geoghegan to appear and testify, as would be the case in a civil or criminal court. Mr. Suh responded to this, saying, "As the panel well knows, there were issues brought up my Mr. LeMond which made it entirely appropriate for him to have legal counsel. We took a break yesterday so that Mr. Geoghegan could consult legal counsel."

Following this Mr. Barnett seemed resolved to rely on Mr. Geoghegan's public statement in lieu of his testimony.

In a letter to Cyclingnews, Michael Henson, Executive Director of the Floyd Fairness Fund, clarified the position. "In light of the news coverage of yesterday’s testimony at the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing, we are writing to clarify that Will Geoghegan, who served as Floyd’s business manager until being fired yesterday, had no formal role with the FFF."

Henson, and likely the Landis side, believe that this situation will not have any effect on the actual case. "As the focus of the hearings returns to disproving WADA/USADA’s allegations against Floyd, we are confident that the facts and science will continue to bear public proof of his innocence. Your continued support is greatly appreciated."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LeMond drops bomb on Landis hearing

By Mark Zalewski in Malibu

The continuation of the Floyd Landis arbitration took a turn into the surreal Wednesday afternoon when Greg LeMond, the first American to ever win the Tour de France, took the stand as a witness for the USADA. While the questions started out cursory regarding his involement with Mr. Landis, USADA's lawyer Mr. Barnett moved the questioning into the territory of the exchanges between Mr. Landis and Mr. LeMond following LeMond's public comments for Mr. Landis to come clean following the 2006 Tour.

In those conversations Mr. LeMond admitted to Landis a very personal story in what he said was "to encourage him to help the sport and to help himself." That story, which LeMond divulged publicly for the first time today, was that he was sexually abused as a child before he began cycling. "I shared it with him to show him what keeping a secret would do," said LeMond.

The reason why this story was brought into the testimony is because of events that seem to have transpired last night while LeMond was preparing to testify today. As he was returning to his hotel with his wife he said he received a phone call from a man claiming to be his uncle. Mr. LeMond said the caller said many things including, "I am your uncle and if you want me to finish this... We can talk about how we used to hide your weenie."

The USADA lawyer linked this to earlier statements made by Mr. Landis on an internet message board in which Mr. Landis implied that this story, which Mr. LeMond told him in private, would be divulged as apparent retribution for Mr. LeMond's public "slander." On the message board in questions Mr. Landis had allegedly posted a message saying, "If he ever opens up his mouth again and the word Floyd comes out I will tell you all some things you wish you didn't know and I will have entered the race to the bottom and is now in progress."

LeMond said that he called the local police last night and filed a police report. When he called the number back the voice mail referred to the name, "Will." LeMond believed that it was possibly Will Geoghegan, a close friend of Mr. Landis that is always at his side during official events.

Upon investigation by the police, the number that was used to call Mr. LeMond was identified as that of Mr. Geoghegan, and he was asked to stand and identify himself in the hearing room. Mr. Geoghegan stood from his chair behind Landis.

The hearing continued with Howard Jacobs cross-examining Mr. LeMond, and beginning to ask him about his earlier law suit against Lance Armstrong. At this point the USADA side objected and Mr. LeMond said he would not answer any questions involving Mr. Armstrong under advice from his personal counsel present in the room.

To this Mr. Jacobs responded that this would go towards motivation for Mr. LeMond - and that if he would not be allowed to ask questions along this line that all of Mr. LeMond's testimony be stricken from the record. At this point the panel adjourned to confer about the disputed testimony.

Floyd speaks on his decision to open the case to the public

“Since the first day of this case, I have been concerned about my ability to get a fair hearing. When I learned that I could request that a hearing in my case be opened to the public, my immediate response was that it is something that I have to do. Let the public decide for themselves. They will see that I won the Tour de France fair and square. Now, thanks to the public nature of these proceedings, the sports world will be watching, the taxpayers and legislators that fund USADA will be watching, and the Panel’s colleagues in the legal and arbitration profession will be looking to see their commitment to handing down a fair decision based on the facts and on the science as provided by both sides, all of which demonstrates that I won the Tour fairly and cleanly. In doing so, they will make a decision that stands the test of time and history by helping change the system for the good of all athletes who have to go through this in the future."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Basso in Germany prior to 2006 Giro

Ettore Torri has received evidence from the Bergamo anti-doping investigating attorneys, in association with the German officials, that Ivan Basso was in Germany on the eve of the 2006 Giro d'Italia. The parties are working on a drug trafficking case and, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, there is evidence to support that Basso was together with Jan Ullrich and Eufemiano Fuentes in a Freiburg hotel before the departure of the three week race which the Italian won.

It is expected that this morning, or tomorrow, that Paolo Ferraro of the Rome Justice department will include Basso's name with Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Kalc for the violation of anti-doping law 376/2000. This action appears to be in response to Basso's non-cooperation in his last visit with Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) Ettore Torri.

Yesterday, Torri noted to AP, "During the second questioning, he seemed willing to cooperate. ... Then, he was clearly approached not only by his defence lawyers, but sponsors and technical directors who have pushed him to backtrack."

Ferraro is expected to summons a number of foreign riders from Operación Puerto, including José Enrique Gutierrez, second in the 2006 Giro, Santiago Botero, Marcos Serrano, Alberto Contador, Dariusz Baranowski, Sergio Paulinho and Sergio Ribeiro. Fuentes' sister, Yolanda, could also be summons regarding a possible role in transporting blood from Madrid to riders in Italy. Their summons is based on 'crimes committed on Italian soil' related to anti-doping law 376/2000.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Alessandro Petacchi wins stage two into Cagliari - the Italian sprint-star is back!

Landis' hearing into 'holy mess' begins

The arbitration hearing for embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis began on Monday in Malibu, California at Pepperdine University's school of law. Landis' attorney Maurice Suh began the hearing with an opening statement that continued the blasting of United States Anti-Doping Agency, World Anti-Doping Authority and the French LNDD (Laboratoire National de Dépistage du Dopage/National Anti-doping Laboratory) lab that the Landis side has done publicly for months, calling the handling of Landis' testing "an embarrassment" and that USADA had turned the case to prove Landis' guilt into "a holy mess".

The hearing will be decided by a three person panel made up of legal experts in the area of arbitration. Suh framed the entire case for the panel in terms of a question they should ask themselves at the conclusion of the ten day hearing. "Did Floyd, knowing he would be tested, take testosterone which he knew would not have a beneficial effect?"

He then stressed the obvious point that the outcome of this hearing, either way, will have a ripple effect throughout cycling, and likely all of sport. "Never in the history of the Tour de France has the winner been accused of doping. This is a historic case that has to be done right."

In response to Suh's opening statements, USADA's lawyer Richard Young said that "Landis bet the house" referring to the second round of tests ordered by Landis. "He lost the bet. The respondent [Landis] went eight for eight positive."

The USADA witnesses and legal council spent much of the day laying the groundwork for a defense against the appeal, preempting the expected case of procedural errors by the Landis team - much of which was first made public by them late in 2006 and revealed in more detail in the months since.

The majority of the testimony today was by USADA's expert witness, Dr. Tom Brenner, most of which centered around the procedural aspects of the case. There were numerous questions regarding things such as calibration, quality control and maintenance of the testing equipment and the actions of the people operating it at the LNDD lab, to which Dr. Brenner unilaterally declared that all equipment and personnel performed up to par. In his own words, the quality control of the LNDD lab was, "very impressive."

Dr. Brenner went on to describe the actual testing procedures in minute detail, but following a noticeably rehearsed plan with USADA's council, Richard Young. Though there were many lines of questions/answers that were expressed in extremely scientific terms, the USADA team made an effort to decipher the terminology for the panel. The testimony boiled down to affirmation that the process was performed correctly and that there was no possibility for error. However, the true test of the hearing, for both sides, might be the ability for either side to explain their interpretation of the data without confusing the panel.

The cross-examination of Dr. Brenner began with less than an hour in the proceedings, and consisted of essentially splitting hairs - with Dr. Brenner qualifying his responses to the Landis team in the realm of theory and hypothesis. After 40 minutes of cross-examination, the panel adjourned the hearing until tomorrow. Richard Young did provide a long list of witnesses for tomorrow's schedule, with many more experts to come.

Landis himself remained attentive throughout the testimony of the witnesses, occasionally looking back to the numerous family and friends, including his mother, sitting behind him in the gallery. A few lighter moments of the day produced an occasional smile and chuckle from Landis, such as the moments of juggling the variety of visual aid equipment, but otherwise everything was all business. Following the hearing, Landis left the building with no comment for the assembled press corps.

The rare open-to-the-public hearing was attended by some press and other members of the public, but not to the extreme numbers that were expected. About half of the gallery was occupied, with many of the seats filled by Landis' entourage. However, Landis is expected to take the witness stand in the next few days which should increase the size of the audience.

Macca checks in......

Well it has been 9 years since i spent any solid time here in Boulder and wow has this place changed. I have been here for a little over 1 week now and i am absolutely loving the training here. The last 7 days have been brutal with the Altitude but I am slowly adapting and getting ready to base my season out of here. The weather has been incredible and I have really enjoyed the hospitality of the people around town.

I am racing in Memphis next weekend in a solid olympic distance race before returning here to Boulder to keep the adaption process going. I am actually moving my entire family to the USA now. We have sold our interests in Australia and will be living in the USA for the next 3 years of my career. It is just the easiest option now for us. It is just so difficult to be away from my children and my wife that this is the best option. We have put our house in Australia up for rent and as of mid July this year my entire family will be USA residents. We are all really looking forward to it. We have a really big announcement to make in a couple of weeks which has enabled us to do this and will play out the rest of my career. I am thinking of living in Boulder for the entire 3 years but need to get my wifes approval on the lace when she gets here. We are really looking forward to it, and my duaghter Tahlia is extremely excited about coming to the USA.

Anyway we are settling into Boulder now and the training has been going great. I have some solid work to do but am not getting carried away with the workloads this early in the season. I am really focused on building a huge aerobic engine over the next couple of months and want to focus on my run and really try and post a solid run time in Hawaii this year. I would like to get down below Tim De Booms run course record (on the new course) in Hawaii which is 2:45 and I think if I put together a smart, well executed race this could win me the title. I am sure guys like Norman, Faris, Rutger and Cameron have thier eyes focused on the prize and this will be really good fun this season. I am really looking forward to the races we should have this season. Anyway stay tuned and will keep you all posted. My next race is in Memphis and then onto Honu Half in Hawaii. It sould be fun.



Floyd's day in court approaches - salvation, or damnation?

He's been waiting for this almost as much as a tough mountain stage. This week, the American cyclist Floyd Landis faces his toughest battle yet - not just to save a race, but to save his career.

When Floyd Landis walks into the Darling Trial Courtroom at Pepperdine University’s School of Law in Malibu (whose Dean is none other than Kenneth W. Starr), the cyclist enters into a process that could lead to salvation or damnation.

Or more likely, it will lead to more legal costs and hearings. But whatever the outcome, the cycling world hopes this sad, damaging case will be resolved once and for all.

Ever since he allegedly tested positive for synthetic testosterone during his 2006 Tour de France victory, the cyclist has been scathing of the process and the parties involved in that anti-doping process. While he's not attacked the sport of cycling, it's certainly been damaged as he's gone on a PR offensive in an effort to supposedly educate the public, but also garner support for his cause.

The hearings are just the next step in a very public do-or-die battle. Should Landis lose, he will become the first Tour winner to be stripped of his title for doping. The sport of cycling will suffer yet another body-blow to its credibility. Should he win, the anti-doping establishment will fall under suspicion.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bettini auctions jerseys and glasses for cancer research

Paolo Bettini will be playing the main part in a fund raising event at the Giro d’Italia. During the three weeks of the race, the World Champion will be auctioning on ebay ( three rainbow jerseys and three pairs of glasses that have been specially made for La Corsa Rosa.Monies raised from the auction will be going to the European Oncological Institute of Milan that is directed by Professor Veronesi.

The three rainbow jerseys made by Vermarc are part of a limited series of just ten, and will have a picture of Italy and Paolo Bettini’s autograph on the front of them. Paolo chose the picture of Italy as a thank you to all of his Italian fans that have supported him both during the Giro and other races.

The glasses, produced by Quick Step - Innergetic Team’s official supplier BBB, are also a limited, numbered edition of just five pairs. The frames of the glasses will be all of the colours of the rainbow and the arms will be gold colour to represent his Olympic victory of 2004.

The fund raising auction will take place three times during the Giro d’Italia. Each week from 12.00 on Monday until 12.00 on Sunday (CET) people will have the chance to bid on the jersey worn by the World Champion during that weeks race along with a limited edition and numbered pair of glasses.

“I’d like to thank everyone that has helped make this event possible," Bettini said. "First of all the UCI who immediately allowed me to make a slight change to my jersey in light of the extremely good cause. I have already collaborated with the Oncological Institute a few times - back in 2004 and again in 2005 at the Giro d’Italia thanks to the help of Manager Flavio Nascè.

"I’d also like to show my appreciation to BBB and Vermarc who are official suppliers to the Quick Step – Innergetic Team and to the Gazzetta dello Sport that is also supporting the event. Thanks to everyone involved and in particular those fans that take part in the auction, we’ll be able to do our little bit towards cancer research”.

The first auction will start at 12.00 o’clock on Monday, 14th May with a starting price of just 1 Euro. You can take part in the auction by visiting: or via the following websites:,,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bjorn Andersson Checks In.....

The Wildflower triathlon holds a special place for me. It was the first race I did in the US and also my first pro race in the USA in 2001. It was one of the races that always caught my attention reading about it in the triathlon magazines so I thought it would be a pretty cool to get over here and try it out. Back then I had yet to make many of the mistakes I’ve made since then and decided that since I was in a good training climate might as well get some good workouts in during race week. Not surprisingly I didn’t have a very good race then and every year I’ve been back there has always been something that kept me from having a good race with everything from a broken stem to injuries.

This year I wasn’t completely sure how I’d do either since the training previously this season had been less than stellar. But I finally did get 3 weeks of good training at altitude up in Xantusia in preparation for the race so if everything went my way I still thought I could have a good race.

The swim was not one of the best I’ve had as I got caught up in the start and had to go around the main group to try and catch the leaders. I did get up to the lead group but once I got there the last two guys in the group dropped off and I didn’t have enough energy to bridge the gap once again. It wasn’t a big deal though since we only lost about 20s on the swim leaders. Out on the bike I took it really easy and carefully the first 2miles because of the bad road conditions. I was also pacing carefully up the first steep climb lost some time to the guys ahead there actually. Once out of the park and on to the more rolling terrain I got into the lead and opened up a bit of a gap using my Ergomo to pace myself. And then finally approaching the main climb on the course with about 20km to go I increased the effort a bit and opened up my lead more and got in to the run with about a 5min gap to 2nd place.

Running is obviously not my strong point as most people who have seen me run knows and this is a pretty tough run course as well. Lost a lot of time on the downhill sections on the trails during the first part of the run and by mile 9 Australian Chris Legh caught me. He’s one of the best at this distance and a great runner so I’d say in probably 9999 times out of 10000 he’d beat me in a situation like this and at this stage I just hoped to hang on to 2nd place. But much to my surprise I caught up and got a slight gap on him on the next hill though he caught back up to me again soon after on the downhill/flat part. With one mile to go there is another short uphill and I once again got a gap and from there on there is a big downhill section before the finish and I was running scared the whole way to the line but got away with very narrow win. So a good race for me on a tough day with strong winds on the bike and run which slowed things down a bit.

Big thanks to my sponsors Cervélo, R&A Cycles, Hed, FitMultisports, Ergomo, Blue Seventy, Fuel Belt, Infinit, Spiuk and Recovox.

Basso reflects on turbulent week

"I would have liked to avoid the confrontation, I would have liked to oppose everything and continue to race but I was not able to do it any longer. I needed to liberate myself of the weight," explained Basso to La Gazzetta dello Sport of his 10-page signed confession. Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) prosecutor Ettore Torri put the 29 year-old rider's back to the wall and enabled him to do what he could not due since last June.

"For me, it's out of my hair. I only have to think of being a racer. ... In my head, this is completely closed. I'm just thinking about being a racer," he said to Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney in an interview this last January after having signed for Discovery Channel. Now, four months later, he is forced to negotiate with CONI and serve a likely two-year ban.

"I would have liked to do it all earlier. I would have liked to tell all in June of last year," he continued to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

If the 10-page signed document was a form of confession then the next day, Tuesday, was a step backwards. Basso seemed to loosely connect himself to Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes by saying that he extracted blood but never transfused it.

"I never used the blood in Madrid. The famous [Alessandro] Kalc, the presumed carrier of blood bags, I know nothing of him. I said what I know to the prosecutor but certain names I have never heard mentioned." He commented on his blood extraction. "... It is only now that I understand that I made a mistake. It is right that I pay the price of my error. I am not searching for a reduction."

If Ivan Basso is ever to return to racing it might be hard for fans to believe his talent. "I want to excuse myself to everyone that had trust in me. I know that it will not be easy to rebuild [the trust] but I want to try. ... My wins were true, and I conquered them by suffering every second of my life. I have won and won again since I was six years-old and my results were not due to doping." Basso could have his 2006 Giro victory stripped.

After dealing with CONI Basso will take a vacation with his family "I will take a long vacation with my family. My wife and my children are my life. I will try to refind serenity and to return to riding, because this is also my life."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

CSC wants to move on from Basso

Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis has given his reaction to the Basso situation, saying that while he's disappointed in his former protege, it's best for both parties to put the matter behind them. "Both Ivan Basso and I have moved on," Riis told Danish news agency B.T.. "I felt let down and sad that I had to fire him. But in the course of a long life, I have also learnt that you are let down sometimes."

At the time of Basso's implication in the Operación Puerto affair, many asked how Riis could be unaware of the Italian's dealings with Dr Fuentes, given the well-publicised close relationship between the Team CSC leader and his boss. "If it happened, it happened," said Riis. "I didn't have a chance in the world to control Ivan more than we did back then."

Team CSC press officer Brian Nygaard admitted the news was hard for the team to accept. "First of all it's a good thing," Nygaard told ritzau, "but it is also a bitter pill to swallow that the team apparently has been fooled. But it is necessary to swallow that pill in order to be able to go on.

"One can say that there have been indications for a long while, and there has never been any good explanation of all the circumstantial evidence. It is very unfortunate, but one has to draw a line under it and make sure that it won't happen again. This we have done with the anti-doping programme we are working on."

Basso: "It was only attempted doping"

"It was only attempted doping," said 29 year-old Ivan Basso to a conference room full of journalists and photographers in Milan's Hotel Michelangelo. The 2006 Giro d'Italia winner called the press conference following his admission of involvement in the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal.

Yesterday, after months of denial, the former Discovery Channel rider admitted that the bags of blood labeled 'Birillo', which were seized in the raid on Fuentes' clinic, belonged to him. After agreeing to cooperate with Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping prosecutors, Basso denied having ever actually used the blood.

"In my career I have never used doping products or resorted to blood transfusions," Basso claimed, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Basso, dressed in a light blue dress shirt and jeans, calmly denied using any doping products, although he refused to deny his involvement with Fuentes and the subsequent Operación Puerto.

While admitting that his actions deserved punishment, Basso claimed that all of his victories were achieved without doping, and insisted that he will return to the peloton. "I will serve my suspension and then return to race. I know that returning will make me feel better; I think that the group will accept me," said Basso. "I am fully aware that an attempt at doping is tantamount to doping, but I am asking to be excused for this and that should be enough," he stated.

While Basso's dominant performance in the 2006 Giro d'Italia, where he won by more than nine minutes over José Gutierrez, led third-place finisher Gilberto Simoni to describe him as an 'extra-terrestrial', Basso insisted that he won the race without resorting to using any illegal methods. "All my victories were obtained in an honest manner and nobody can contest what I achieved in the 2006 Giro d'Italia no more than the other results I achieved during my career."

Basso refused to be drawn into listing other names but instead wanted to speak for himself. "I can't vouch for the honour of my colleagues, who wins honestly, like I have always done.

"There is talk about how I am a repenter, or a collaborator. I want to clarify that I was not asked about the other people involved, further, I don't know of riders or other people involved."

He reflected on his decision to involve himself with Fuentes. "It was a weak moment, but I am aware that attempting to dope is the same as doping. I will serve my sentence and return to the work I love."

He finished by commenting on his family. "I will assume my responsibilities, confronting my family, who has stood beside me in my decision."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Andersson, Lavelle Claim Wildflower Titles

LAKE SAN ANTONIO RESORT, California - Under sunny and cooler than usual skies, two new champions were crowned at the Wildflower half-Ironman on Saturday. Both winners, Bjorn Andersson and Becky Lavelle, used killer bike splits en route to their first victories at the North American classic.

Andersson took full advantage of the absence of Bozzone and other perennial favorites including Simon Lessing, Chris McCormack, and Craig Walton, to ride away from 2006 runner-up Chris Legh. The Swede, whose name means "Bear" in his native Swedish tongue, broke the 56-mile bike course record set in 2003 by former professional cyclist and Ironman Lake Placid winner Steve Larsen, riding a blistering 2:15:05 split to better the old mark by 33-seconds.

It is not unusual to see Andersson arrive into T2 with an advantage on his competition, but it always remains to be seen which of his bipolar run-styles will surface over the final leg. According to Jason Goldberg, Andersson's coach and owner of FIT Multisports, Andersson spent the early spring months cycling in preparation for the Tour of Belize, in which he won two stages and wore the race leader's yellow jersey, and more recently training with long, hilly runs in order to minimize his time losses.

"He scorched the bike at South Africa, but he had no run fitness," said Goldberg. "With his long and hilly runs he can maintain consistency and hold off a great runner like Chris (Legh) and lose only four minutes and not five, which should usually be enough for him to win," explained his coach.

His training time spent at the founder's house paid off and Andersson held off a fast-charging Legh to capture his first Wildflower crown in a slower than usual winning time of 4:07:53. Legh ran out of room and hit the chute in 4:08:21 and recent University of Montana grad and Durango, Colorado resident, Ben Hoffman rounded out the podium just over five-minutes behind Legh.

For more on the triathlon's Woodstock weekend, go to:
1. Bjorn Andersson (SWE) 4:07:53
2. Chris Legh (AUS) 4:08:21
3. Ben Hoffman (USA) 4:13:32
4. Joe Gambles (AUS) 4:14:45
5. Timothy Marr (USA) 4:15:02

1. Becky Lavelle (USA) 4:35:19
2. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:38:14
3. Kate Major (AUS) 4:42:26
4. Alexis Waddel (USA) 4:42:52
5. Erin Ford (USA) 4:46:47

Basso confesses his involvement in Operación Puerto

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport's Valerio Piccioni, Ivan Basso has confessed his involvement in Operación Puerto to the antidoping prosecutor Ettore Torri of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). Today in Rome, CONI issued communiqué saying "Ivan Basso has largely admitted his responsibility relative to Operación Puerto and has provided the maximum collaboration to clarify the facts relative to his involvement."

Basso and his lawyer Massimo Martelli met with Torri for two hours in a legal office in the centre of Rome, where the confession of the winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner came of his own accord.

The head of the Italian cycling federation Renato Di Rocco applauded Basso's decision to collaborate, telling the Gazzetta dello Sport, "Ivan has done exactly what everyone asked of Pantani, and Marco didn't do; now, we ask in the name of cycling to not leave Ivan Basso alone."

Although no further information has been released by Torri or the Italian Olympic Committee, there is speculation that Basso may receive a retroactive two-year suspension that could allow him to come back in time to ride the 2008 Giro d'Italia.

On Sunday, prior to today's announcement, Cyclingnews spoke with UCI president Pat McQuaid concerning speculation that a deal might be done between Basso and CONI. "There is no provision for a reduced sentence," he said then. "The WADA rules apply and the minimum sentence is two years, whether it is for admittance or non-admittance of an offence. The only time when you get less than two years is if you can prove it was mistaken or it was taken in foodstuffs, that kind of thing. But if you have been willingly involved in a doping activity, it is two years.

"I don't want to speculate on it [prior to such a deal being agreed - ed.], but the option is there for either the UCI or WADA to appeal to CAS."

Ivan Basso has not yet issued a statement, but a press conference is expected on Tuesday.