The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Tour will be harder than 2003.? Ullrich had earlier observed that, ?it?s a long time to the Tour de France and I?m on track.?
Also busy gearing himself up for July is Spaniard Joseba Beloki, now with the Brioche la Boulangere team. Beloki is making his racing come back in the Tour de Vendee following a series of injuries and illnesses.
As if the Manzano/Kelme and Gaumont/Cofidis affairs were not enough to make us all hope for an end to these dark days within professional cycling. Tuesday?s edition of Le Monde newspaper led with a story based on a phone tap between French track rider Philippe Boyer and a woman known as Sandrine, a friend of Australian FDJeux.com rider, Baden Cooke. The taps were part of an investigation into the death of a young French amateur rider in 1998. Boyer, who received a one-year jail sentence following the investigation, relayed his memories to the newspaper. "At the end of September 2001, the day he signed his contract with la Fran?aise des Jeux, Baden Cooke was introduced to me by a mutual acquaintance, Sandrine, who at the time was a friend of his. He wanted amphetamines and Sandrine had told him that I could get them. I went to Belgium to get a pot. When I got back I got an urgent phone call from Sandrine saying Cooke was sick. He had injected intravenously with amphetamines that had not been kept well in a cupboard." The response from Cooke followed immediately: "With great dismay I have learned of accusations against me, in the columns of Le Monde (Monday 12th April), stating that I have consumed amphetamines and other substances in 2001, according to the transcripts of a recorded phone message between third parties, belonging to a judicial file of which I know nothing about. I absolutely contest the allegations labeling me a drug addict, I am in excellent health, I am dependent on no product. My past and present sporting results are achieved with hard work, dedicated character and the human and technical contributions of my supporting team." At present, Cooke?s FDJeux.com employers are standing firmly behind their leading sprinter.
How much more of this can our sport take? Drop me a line with your thoughts and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next week, keep it rubber side down...