The Week That Was...
Ian is back and comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
It seems that wherever you look at the moment, recent Amore-Vita signing, Jesus Manzano still has something more to say about the alleged drug abuse within professional cycling and more specifically, his former team, Kelme. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
During the week he was called in for questioning before Raffael Guariniello at the Turin District Attorney?s office. Guariniello has been conducting an investigation into the distribution of drugs in sport for several years now. Following the meeting, Manzano commented, "it has been a long and hard interrogation. But I am satisfied that Guariniello and his agents know all about this affair. I feel for my country, but the justice in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Vincente Belda, Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme Director Sportif, meanwhile maintains that his ?team will demonstrate its innocence.? He added, ?I?ve had a very hard time, but as we?ve begun to see the contradictions in what Manzano said, like the condition of his knee or what happened in the 2003 Tour de France, people in cycling have begun to believe us. When you notice that he was motivated by money, he loses all credibility. If there were something to denounce, he should have done it while he was still riding, taking it to the courts or federations. He?s written the script, put himself as the protagonist and he?ll sell the story to the best producer?
Another rider seemingly intent on selling stories, or in this case, copies of his book, is former Scottish World Champion, Graeme O?bree. Previously intent on retaking the World One-Hour record presently held by Chris Boardman, O?bree pulled up in his tests at the Manchester Velodrome after only 9km. Eleven minutes and 34 seconds into the attempt, at an average speed of 47km, the Scot and his support team chose to end his effort prematurely when it became obvious that he was off the record pace. ?Under these conditions, given that I?m only able to train on the road, the preparation required is too long. I?ve decided not to attack the hour record. I?ll have to reconsider my objectives. I?m going to continue riding on the road and I?m going to start writing a training manual for amateurs.?
Reports in last Friday?s L?Equipe newspaper claim that Cofidis team manager Alain Bondue, Director Sportif Alain Deloeil and team doctor Jean-Jacques Menuet have been accused of supplying banned substances to riders by a court in Nanterre following the questioning of former rider Philippe Gaumont. A communiqu? from the team on Friday confirmed that, ?from this day onwards, and for the time that is deemed necessary, the Cofidis corporation will not present any more teams at the start of races.? It declared that time was needed in the wake of escalating doping scandals involving the team to help ?to see things clearly.? It continued, "Cofidis is indignant to read in the press the extracts of the judicial investigation. This is why [Cofidis] will take the case to court for breaching the secrecy of the investigation." UCI president Hein Verbruggen