Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

The VeloNews continues the story that German public television has found links between several former and current cyclists and an Austrian lab which itself has been under suspicion for possible doping activities since last fall:

The German public television station ARD reported Tuesday that Michael Rasmussen as well as his former Rabobank teammates Denis Menchov and the now-retired Michael Boogerd were among 30 elite athletes said to have used an Austrian-based laboratory for banned blood-doping practices.

"There are a lot of rumors in the world of cycling. People are throwing mud at each other and the Germans are jumping to conclusions about doping without proof," said (interim Rabobank manager) Henri van der Aat. . "What we do know are the blood monitoring tests we've done with the team. We've looked at all of them and there's nothing suspicious. Unless there's an official inquiry, we're not going to investigate this story."

The VeloNews Wednesday Eurofile reports that vehement denials are being expressed by the Austrian lab at the center of the blood doping controversy reported yesterday. The chain of labs was targeted last fall by then WADA president Dick Pound as being involved in blood doping practices and was put under investigation.

The VeloNews Mailbag is still receiving responses about Rock Racing, this time it involves the Friday Foaming Rant.

The CyclingNews this morning says that Alejandro Valverde, like Alberto Contador, is not concerned about the reopening of OP by CONI. He's going to leave it all in the hands of his lawyers while he worries about his training. CN also covers the "Rabobank link to a blood bank in Austria" story, but with no more detail than has been written already. And finally, former Vuelta champ Aitor González was arrested, but not for doping.
In an early CN update today more detail is given about the Austrian blood bank at the center of the most recent Rabobank doping controversy. Though it appears that many on this "OP"- like list are bi-athletes and skiers, it does contain several high profile cyclists:

The Dutch team Rabobank is the most heavily involved in the media stories, as Dennis Menchov and former riders Michael Boogerd and Dennis Rasmussen are said to have been clients, charges which all three and the team deny.

"It has never been proved that Michael Rasmussen doped," Rasmussen's manager Mads Frederiksen said to Danish news agency Ritzau. "Every time there were allegations, they just dissolved into thin air. It is therefore completely uncalled for that the media keep coming forward with unsubstantiated accusations like the ones from ARD now. We can't concern ourselves with that right now. We have a 'small' case with Rabobank going on which we are hoping to resolve soon and then we want Michael to start racing again, and that's our priority."

The NY Times' story on the Mitchell Report hearings reveals that HGH and steroids are not the only PED problems facing baseball. Yesterday's session exposed the fact that players have exponentially sought TUEs for amphetamines. And in another NYT article on the hearings it looks like some people are still denying, and still in denial. Sounds familiar.

Bruce Hildenbrad writes a profile of Andy Riis' BMC cycling team which has been upgraded to UCI Professional Continental team status this year allowing it to compete internationally. John Lelangue, formerly of Phonak, is the DS.

The Boulder Report/Joe Lindsay wants Operation Puerto go go "Floyd Landis" and open source all the documents to end the seemingly endless "hide and seek". And does Cippo love his puma more than he does his wife? Only time, and maybe Michael Ball, will tell.

WADAwatch today concentrates on the deplorable lack of rules that would allow appropriate redistribution of Marion Jones' former Olympic medals. He also has sage advise for LaTasha Jenkins who recently won her appeal against USADA.