Shortly after the official result sheet of last Saturday’s Tour de France time trial was dropped on my table at the pressroom in St. Amand-Montrond, I made an interesting discovery. All but one of the riders who had just taken the top 15 places in the challenging 53km test either represent teams that have a strong internal anti-doping program (CSC-Saxo Bank, Garmin-Chipotle and Team Columbia) and/or are members of the Movement for Credible Cycling (Gerolsteiner, Rabobank, Garmin and Columbia).
Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli said he had "denied everything" following his doping hearing with the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) on Thursday.
Piepoli was heard just a day after his former Saunier-Duval teammate Ricardo Riccò, who admitted to using EPO.
Riccò was kicked out of the Tour de France earlier this month after failing a dope test following the fourth stage time trial.
He was fired by Saunier-Duval, who also dismissed Piepoli, claiming he had violated their code of ethics.
A video clip showing Australian Cadel Evans snap at a broadcast journalist following the Tour de France’s stage 10 finish at Hautacam has become a minor YouTube sensation, with the clip garnering near 100,000 views and hundreds of comments by race’s end.
After taking the yellow jersey, Evans was walked through customary post-stage TV interviews when a microphone windscreen tapped his injured left shoulder, wounded in his race threatening stage 9 crash.
With concern growing over a knee injury sustained at a post-Tour de France party, Cadel Evans has withdrawn from the Olympic time trial in Beijing.
In a news release issued Wednesday, the Australian Cycling Federation said Evans will be replaced in the event by three-time world time trial champion, Michael Rogers.
The Italian ANSA news agency has reported that cyclist Ricardo Riccò, who tested positive for a new form of EPO, following the 4th stage of the Tour de France, has admitted to having doped in preparation for the French tour.
According to ANSA, the former Saunier Duval rider made the admission at a hearing before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Riccò, who won two stages at the Tour before exiting the race for testing positive for a new product known as Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator (CERA), was called before a CONI panel on Wednesday.
Now that the champagne has lost its fizz and the podium girls are back to their day jobs, the cycling world now waits with bated breath until that last anti-doping control winds through the labyrinth of syringes, gyroscopes, laser prisms and other weapons in the arsenal at the labs.
Until the final sample comes back clean, no one can afford to breathe easy. Anyone who loves the Tour is desperate to avoid that final-hour “worst-case scenario” that could once again send cycling to its knees.
Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans pulled out of the one day criterium held in Flanders on Tuesday with a reported injured knee.
According to organizer Denis Bolle the Australian cyclist sustained the
problem at a party put on by his team Silence Lotto in a Parisian cafe on Sunday night to celebrate the end of the Tour.
"It shows a flagrant lack of respect," said Bolle, adding he had only been told of Evans' absence "a few hours before the criterium."
Carlos Sastre's triumph in the Tour de France over the weekend has capped a "magical" year for Spanish sports, Spanish media said Monday just two weeks before the Olympic Games get underway.
"Sastre's triumph in the Tour marks the end of the two most fruitful months in Spanish football," the daily newspaper El Mundo wrote with photographs of the cyclist on the Champs Elysees after his win on Sunday.
"Sastre conquers Paris in a magical year for Spanish sports," wrote rival daily El Pais.
Increased suspense, a boom in television ratings and happy sponsors left Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme in a buoyant mood two days prior to the end of this year's race.
But with the ever-present threat of cheats lingering, the Frenchman knows it is far too early to talk of a definitive turnaround for the sport.
After years of controversy the reputation of the race was tarnished by a minority of drugs cheats. But compared to recent scandals, this year's Tour got off comparatively lightly.