Archive for November, 2009

More Spanish scandal.

Walter Viru, the Peruvian former Kelme team doctor during  Alejandro Valverde’s time with the team is at the centre of the latest doping scandal.  Sadly Javier Ochoa is also implicated.

Brothers Javier and Ricardo Ochoa were Kelme riders in February 2001 when they were hit by a motor vehicle while training near Malaga. Ricardo did not survive and  Javier was for months in a coma and was left with brain damage.  In 2004 he took part in the Paralympics.  Another 2004 Olympic athlete under suspicion is race walker Paquillo Fernandez who took the silver medal.   Perhaps the most famous cyclist touched by this affair is Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta, a luxury domestique of Alejandro Valverde at Caisse d’Epargne whose home has been searched but he has not been arrested or charged and it has not been suggested that any doping products were found.

The investigations of the Guardia Civil in to the illegal practices of the gang began in August when some people were caught in possession of EPO and growth hormone. The investigators were quickly on to Viru, a former assistant of Fuentes. He owns a diet clinic in Valencia . It was presumably convenient for his side line that his son is a pharmacist.

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Lifetime suspension for Pfannberger

The Austrian cyclist Christian Pfannberger has been given a lifetime suspension by the Austrian Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). The thirty year old Pfannberger was previously suspended from 2004 to 2006 for testosterone use.  In March this year he tested positive for EPO in an out of competition test and  you will not be surprised that he denied the allegation.

The news became known just before the start of the Tour of Italy where he was to lead the Katusha squad. The team immediately pulled  Pfannberger from the Giro and he was provisionally suspended. In late June his second sample was confirmed as also positive.

The Austrian turned professional in 2002 and in both 2007 and 2008 was champion of his country. His best spell was in the spring of 2008, with a 6th place in the Amstel Gold Race, a 9th place in the Fleche Wallone and a 5th place in Liege-Bastogne-Liège. That year he was 8th at the Worlds in Varese.

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Quick.Step to ride Eddy Merckx bikes

Eddy Merckx Cycles will supply Quick.Step with bikes for three years from 1st January it was announced at a press conference in Grand-Bigard.

Not the Great Man’s usual tipple!

“It happened so totally  unexpected,” said manager Patrick Lefevere . “We never had any problem with Specialized  but there were differences about vision. We decided to split two days ago and everything was then went very quickly … “

As Specialized have moved over to Astana it seems likely that they would have remained with Quick.Step had the team signed Contador as was widely rumoured. Clearly the US manufacturer sees a Tour de France win as worth far more than any number of wins in the Spring classics.

Lefevere was previously with Merckx when his Domo-Farm Frites team rode Eddy’s bikes in 2001-02.  The great former champion says he is proud and delighted:” It is a great honor to work with a team as prestigious as Quick.Step. My bikes are top quality, but cycling is not like Formula One.  It is the rider not the horse that makes the difference … ” said Eddy mixing his sports somewhat.


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