Archive for June, 2009
Gert Steegmans was absent for the Belgian national championship road race on Sunday despite being able to race. His team Katusha has placed him on inactive status for refusing to sign an anti-doping agreement. “Until Wednesday I was really planning to start, but it was all too complex,” Steegmans told sporza.be. “There was an option to ride independently, but I was advised not to take the risk and to avoid problems.” The Russian ProTour team requires he signs its anti-doping clause. One of its requirements is that a rider found positive for a banned drug must pay back up to five times his annual salary. Katusha left Steegmans off the Tour de France team as a result. “I’m quite concerned. I hope that I can soon ride again for Katusha. I am still planning to fulfil my contract.” The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) said last week that Katusha’s clause is “not permissible” according to International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations. (SW)
Christian Pfannberger‘s B sample has tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO), the Austrian national anti-doping agency announced today. He faces a hearing which could result in a lifetime ban.
Pfannberger tested positive for Erythropoietin in an out-of-competition doping control in March and he subsequently requested that the B sample also be tested.
Team Katusha suspended Pfannberger after the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced the positive result at the beginning May.
A hearing will take place within eight weeks. Pfannberger faces a competition ban ranging from a period of eight years to life, having previously served a two-year suspension after testing positive for testosterone in 2004.
Filippo Pozzato will wear the Italian tricolore for the next twelve months after an impressive win in the Italian national championship race on Sunday in Imola.
The Katusha star won a sprint finish at the end of the 257km race. Pozzato relegated Damiano Cunego (Lampre NGC) to second, while Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) took third.
“I have been chasing this win for many years and finally I have managed to win the title of Italian champion,” said Pozzato at the finish.
Pozzato’s win today marked the second time he has won a national title ahead of Cunego. In 1997 the compatriots finished in the same positions at the Italian school championships.
The new Italian champion immediately outlined his next objective.”I [will now] go to the Tour [de France] to win a stage with the jersey of Italian champion.”
Team Katusha announced its nine riders who will compete in the Tour de France, July 4 to 26. Filippo Pozzato, overall contender Vladimir Karpets and sprinter Danilo Napolitano will lead the team.
The Russian team placed Belgian Gert Steegmans on ‘non-active’ status yesterday for not signing a clause to his contract to pay five times his salary if caught doping. The team did not select him in its final roster though he has won stages in both the 2006 and 2007 Tour de France.
The complete roster includes Italians Pozzato and Napolitano, Russians Karpets, Alexandre Botcharov, Serguei Ivanov, Mikhail Ignatiev, Nikolai Trusov, Spaniard Joan Horrach and Belgian Stijn Vandenbergh. Serge Parsani and Dimitri Konychev will be the team’s directeur sportifs. (GB)
Injury has plagued Robbie McEwen in 2009 and the Australian has been sidelined through injury for a significant part of the season thus far. With a comeback date announced, Katusha‘s experienced sprinter has his sights firmly set on racing the second half of this season and through 2010 while remaining philosophical about missing the second Grand Tour of the year, the Tour de France.
The Professional Cyclists’ Association (CPA) has explained that a clause demanding payment of salary should a rider test positive for performance-enhancing substances is not permissible according to UCI regulations.
The declaration follows news that Team Katusha riders were told to sign a clause in their contracts stipulating that should they test positive for doping products a financial penalty of up to five times their annual salary may result.
Robbie McEwen stated last week that a third doping case would spell the end for the Russian team, given that star riders Christian Pfannberger and Toni Colom both tested positive for EPO after controls taken during the Spring Classics.
While McEwen expressed misgivings over the introduction of the stipulations, he signed the charter. Overnight however, Belgian rider Gert Steegmans has stated he won’t sign the charter, a move which jeopardises his chances of competing in the Tour de France next month. Steegmans has expressed concerns over the situation, labelling it as ‘complex’.
In a statement released on Monday, the stance of the CPA concurred with that of Steegmans, explaining, “the CPA reminds all the riders who belong to a ProTour or Continental Professional Team that the UCI Regulation which includes the Joint Agreement does not allow to add a clause which impinges on the riders’ rights.”
Belgian Gert Steegmans has been given until Monday to sign the Katusha team’s anti-doping agreement. The sprinter has so far refused to put his name to the document, which states that riders will give up five times their annual salary to the team if they test positive, La Dernier Heure reported Sunday.
If he does not sign the document, he will forfeit his participation in the Tour de France.
Several of the riders objected to the new contract, which was rolled out after Austrian Christian Pfannberger tested positive for EPO earlier this year. Riders had just voiced their objections when another of their team, Antonio Colom, also was declared positive for the banned blood booster.
Robbie McEwen was one of the riders to balk at the document, but after having his lawyers review the deal, he signed his name stating emphatically that he is anti-doping.