Fränk Schleck Dropped by Leopard

Fränk Schleck Dropped by LeopardRadioShack Leopard Trek have formally announced that they will be ending their association with Fränk Schleck, the older brother of Andy, winner of the 2010 Tour de France. The decision comes ahead of Fränk Schleck’s doping suspension for the use of the diuretic Xipamide in the 2011 TdF coming to an end.


An official statement from Leopard read, ‘With the end of Fränk Schleck’s suspension approaching, Leopard and its partners have assessed the situation in view of a possible renewal of the collaboration with Fränk Schleck. Having finalized this assessment in a broad and objective way, Leopard has decided to not renew the collaboration between Fränk Schleck and the RadioShack Leopard Trek cycling team.’ It concluded, perhaps a little curtly: ‘Leopard wishes Fränk Schleck a successful continuation of his career.’


It may seem a little ironic that Andy Schleck’s 2010 win at the Tour de France was awarded as a result of Alberto Contador’s disqualification for doping.


It was recently announced that Trek Bicycle had reached an agreement with Leopard SA to acquire the WorldTour license following RadioShack’s decision earlier this year to end their funding support of the team (more on Cyclo here). With the team reshaping for the start of the 2014 season they have confirmed the signing of 2013 Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix champion, Fabian Cancellara – more here.



More Doping at Vini-Fantini

More Doping at Vini-FantiniThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the provisionally suspension of Vini-Fantini rider Mauro Santambrogio. The 28-year-old Italian tested positive for EPO (a banned blood-boosting hormone) on the first day of the Giro d’Italia before going on to win Stage 14. In a statement the UCI said: ‘The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Rome indicating an adverse analytical finding of EPO in his urine sample collected at the Giro d’ Italia on 4th May 2013… The provisional suspension of Mr. Santambrogio remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Italian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.’


Santambrogio is the second Vini-Fantini rider to test positive for EPO after Danilo Di Luca, who had already served a ban for blood-boosting at the 2009 Giro d’Italia, failed an out-of-competition test taken on April 29. Di Luca was sacked by the team and branded ‘an idiot’ by the Team Director. With the latest blow to the team – who competed in the Giro on a wildcard invitation – Vini Fantini boss, Luca Scinto, has told Italian website that he fears for the future, commenting, ‘Everything’s finished, the whole project is finished… What do you want me to tell you, I’m distraught, I’m ruined.’



Danilo Di Luca is ‘an idiot’

Danilo Di LucaDanilo Di Luca is facing a lifetime ban from cycling after testing positive for EPO. The 37-year-old Italian, who has already served a ban for blood-boosting at the 2009 Giro d’Italia, failed an out-of-competition test (which was taken on April 29) and has subsequently been sacked by his Vini Fantini-Selle team. Luca Scinto, the understandably less-than-sympathetic Team Director, said, ‘Di Luca is an idiot. I never wanted him. He is sick and needs help.’


Di Luca, winner of the Giro in 2007, only signed for Vini Fantini-Selle and was sitting comfortably at 26th in this year’s Giro at the time of the test results. In an official statement Team Manager Angelo Citracca said, ‘Danilo Di Luca (is) repeatedly involved in problems related to doping and already disqualified for similar violations, repaid the trust of a friend and great entrepreneur with another mistake, whose consequences damages Vini Fantini Selle Italia team even if it is innocent… Following the news, learned with regret in the morning, the team has dismissed the athlete, intimating him to get away. At this point, Vini Fantini Selle Italia will ask for a compensation for damages, in accordance with the internal Rules signed by all the members of the team.’


Di Luca’s disgrace marks the second doping scandal at this year’s Giro. Following Stage 7, AG2R La Mondiale’s Sylvain Georges tested positive for the banned stimulant Heptaminol and was withdrawn from the race.



Eufemiano Fuentes Receives Suspended Sentence

Eufemiano Fuentes guiltyEufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor accused of masterminding one of the biggest doping rings in the sporting world after police found 200 bags of frozen blood and plasma at his office in 2006, has been given a one-year suspended sentence. After seven years of investigation and protracted court case, the suspended sentence was handed down for ‘endangering public health’, as doping was not, at the time, even illegal in Spain; even odder Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria struck Fuentes off as a doctor for four years and fined him a mere 4,650 euros (£4,000). The bags, which were labeled with codenames believed to refer to numerous prominent sports stars including, but not limited to, cyclists were ordered destroyed by the judge, something that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has called ‘disappointing’. Spain’s own anti-doping agency (AEA) plans to contest the court’s ruling, with agency boss Ana Munoz telling BBC Radio 5 live, ‘We do not consider this the end of the process.’



Lance Armstrong Sings Creep!

Lance Armstrong sings CreepYou have to love the internet (right?). Amidst all the horrendous and continuing fallout from Lance Armstrong’s Oprah confessional, there’s still enough time on some peoples’ hands to mash his video interview into a tortuous rendition of Radiohead’s Creep. Doing the social media rounds this video made Cyclo smile and wonder – as he has just told Cyclingnews ‘My generation was no different from any other…’ – if he might consider a cover of The Who classic too. With what must be diminishing career prospects ahead, could this be the future for the Texan doper? Queen’s Bicycle Race, The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work, Abba’s The Winner Takes it All (and Money, Money, Money) and, perhaps optimistically, Bob Marley’s Redemption Song can’t be far behind…



Fuentes Trial Begins

Alberto Contador evidence at trial of Eufemiano Fuentes - operation puertoThe trial of Spanish doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes, thought to be at the heart of cycling’s biggest ever doping operation has begun in Madrid, seven years after police first raided his offices as part of ‘Operation Puerto’. Five defendants (the doctor, his sister and three former cycling coaches) will appear in front of prosecutors to answer questions – made more pertinent in the wake of Lance Armstrong’s televised confessions – although the opening day of the case (Monday, January 28) saw only the legal arguments from the lawyers rather than the testimony of defendants or witnesses. The doping allegations are with regard to a number of sports, including tennis, however the case will focus only on cycling with dozens of pro riders, Alberto Contador amongst them, expected to give evidence. If found guilty at the end of the trial – which is expected to last until at least mid-March – the defendants could face up to two years in prison in addition to professional suspensions.



Armstrong’s Books ‘Duped’ Readers

Lance Armstrong sued for fraudulent books As if the self-inflicted woes need adding to Lance Armstrong is being sued by two men claiming they were ‘duped’ and ‘betrayed’ by the disgraced cyclist’s books Every Second Counts and It’s Not About the Bike – although, really the clue was already there in the latter title. Rob Stutzman and Jonathan Wheeler have both launched legal actions against the Texan and his publishers, Penguin and Random House, claiming false advertising and fraud by selling books as works of non-fiction. Stutzman, a former deputy chief of staff to California’s ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, claims he met and personally thanked Armstrong for his ‘inspiring’ work. Penguin’s legal representatives, Dorsey & Whitney, have called for the case to be dismissed. Of course if it isn’t, and proves successful, this could lead to an avalanche of similar actions.


Featured Features

Lance Armstrong: In Other Words

Lance Armstrong Oprah Winfrey confessionThe potential fallout from Lance Armstrong’s confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey is almost too much to comprehend; the retaliations, the potential legal actions, the possible out-of-court settlements, further revelations of complicity to come… What’s clear though is that pretty much everyone has something to say on the matter.


With this in mind Cyclo brings you some of the choicest quotes from around the world, but first thought it worth pointing out that this is the biographical information on the disgraced Texan still available at  ‘If scripted by Hollywood, the story would be dismissed as trite melodrama: A deadly disease strikes a promising athlete. Despite desperately thin odds, he manages not only to beat the affliction but also to return to the sport and win its top prize, not once but a record seven times. Unbelievable, except it’s true.’ – Yeh, except as we now know, it’s not…


‘(The interview was) nothing but a public relations exercise… If he’d wanted to come clean and seek redemption I would hope that he would seek some appropriate tribunal and give evidence under oath, subject himself to cross-examination and tell the facts. Not just the snippets that he sees is convenient for his own purposes.’ – John Fahey, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President


‘To me (the interview) just seemed like a pantomime because Lance Armstrong should be in court, in front of a jury answering the hard questions… ‘ – Nicole Cooke, speaking to BBC Sports


‘When he says he’s sorry now, how do we know he’s not still lying? How do we know it’s not just another great performance by the all-time leader in them?’ – Rick Reilly, sportswriter, long-term (ex?) friend and previous defender of Armstrong,


‘There are lawyers across the country representing various interests who are recording that interview. From a legal perspective, his issues are becoming more difficult, not less. I don’t see that he solved any problems. I think he opened the door on others.’ – Matt Orwig, former Federal Prosecutor


‘Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.’ – Travis Tygart, CEO of the Untied States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)


‘It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including among others doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test result. However, Lance Armstrong also rightly said that cycling is a completely different sport today than it was 10 years ago. In particular the UCI’s introduction of the biological passport in 2008 – the first sports federation to do so – has made a real difference in the fight against doping… Finally, we note that Lance Armstrong expressed a wish to participate in a truth and reconciliation process, which we would welcome.’ – Pat McQuaid, UCI President


‘Armstrong has destroyed anyone who has been successful in cycling… I get pissed off when I hear that you can’t win the Tour without doping. Look at Andy Hampsten (winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia, third in the 1989 Giro and fourth in the TdF in 1986 and 1992) – there was no way he was on any doping program.’ – Greg LeMond, three-time TdF champion, now officially the only American to have won the race), speaking to Cyclingnews


‘If he doped while I raced with him, then I would have a lot to say, but how can I comment on 10 years ago?’ – Mark Cavendish, via Twitter


‘It (the interview) didn’t go nearly far enough… he has to name names, we need him to spell out the fact that his doctor, Michele Ferrari, doped him, that his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, supported him. That’s the kind of detail that will help us move forward in a way that helps cycling.’ – David Walsh, the journalist that first raised questions over Armstrong’s integrity, Speaking on BBC Breakfast


‘Forget about trying to judge his contrition level. Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. Oprah’s interview, with all due respect to her and her efforts to do a credible job, is window dressing. Armstrong can make a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge about doping whether he’s sincerely sorry or not. But very little of what he said Thursday night leads me to believe he’s ready to do that.’ – Bonnie Ford, journalist


‘If you never met this jerk, well, count your blessings.’ – Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports


‘I’m really disappointed. He owed it to me. You owed it to me Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it. And now we’re supposed to believe you?’ – Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong’s former USPS teammate Frankie Andreu, speaking on CNN


And finally (for now):


‘The only thing more abhorrent than Armstrong being a recidivist drugs offender, is the years of repeat denials and bullying of anyone who challenged his integrity. And the only thing more abhorrent than all of that is the charade, stage-managed, televised confessional’ – Editor,