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NewsWire: Top anti-doping scientist resigns over ‘muzzling’; French sprinter battle heats up

In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.

Top doping scientist quits over “muzzling” — BBC

Australian researcher and anti-doping scientist Dr. Michael Ashenden has resigned from his position on an independent biological passport panel, the Athelete Passport Management Unit, which oversees cycling.

Ashenden, who is considered the world’s leading expert on the biological passport used in cycling and elsewhere, has been working with the UCI since 2008. He says he is resigning from the panel because he is being “muzzled.”

The imposition of a new confidentiality clause in his contract was the impetous for his departure. He accused the anti-doping movement of fostering a culture of omerta and said that the new clause was an attempt to silence him.

“I’ve personally asked athletes to take that leap of faith, and I’d be mortified if I ever failed to have the same moral courage I’ve asked of those athletes,” Dr Ashenden explained.

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Langeveld doesn’t blame spectator for Flanders crash — SEGInternational.com

GreenEdge’s Sebastian Langeveld doesn’t blame the spectator he hit on Sunday at the Tour of Flanders, causing him to launch through the air and break his collarbone on landing.

“I don’t blame the spectator,” the Dutchman said on his website. “It is important that you as a spectator stand still, but it was a reflex. He probably wanted to make room.”

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Battle for Olympic slot heats up between French sprinters — L’Équipe

France has the admirable problem of being forced to select just one of the top two track sprinters in the world for its 2012 Olympic team. On the one hand is up-and-coming star Kevin Sireau, who holds the world record in the 200m but is yet to win a world championship. On the other is two-time sprint world champion Gregory Baugé, who would be a three-time individual champion except for a stripped title in 2011 due to “two breaches of applicable requirements regarding rider availability and one missed test in 18 months,” according to the UCI.

Just four months out, and headed into the world championships in Melbourne, the rivalry is at a boiling point. Despite Baugé’s problems with doping authorities, now well behind him, Sireau has an uphill battle to prove he deserves the slot.

“Being world champion, it will not be enough,” said Isabelle Gautheron of the French Olympic committee. “He was going very fast, he had the world record. He proved that he was fast but he must show he can beat everybody.”

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Indian cycling turns pro — CyclingIQ

India’s first fully-sponsored professional cycling team was launched in Bangalore on Saturday. Team Specialized-KYNKYNY has the goal of becoming a UCI Continental team by 2013, and to have the first Indian cyclist participate in the Tour de France in the next three years.

With the exception of Australian Darren Reid, who also doubles as the team’s coach, the roster is entirely Indian. The team’s next race is the Thailand Tour of Friendship.

Specialized signed on after the company’s director of business development, Joseph Wheadon, spent two weeks taking in the enormous and as-of-yet untapped Indian market first hand.

“I met with [the men running the KYNKYNY team] for breakfast one morning and just had the most inspiring conversation about cycling,” Wheadon told CyclingIQ. “The real thing that inspired me was their professionalism; it was above and beyond and very refreshing for me to see the core cyclist there. I felt the passion they had for the sport. I also went to one of the Bangalore races; even though most of them didn’t have the best gear, they were people who were serious.”

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