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The Gossip Page


Election Edition.

One state, two state, red state, blue state.

Here at the Gossip World Headquarters we have our eyes glued to the election returns. We especially like the maps, being of the graphically inclined. History Is Being Made! Or, so they tell us.

Despite all the drama, we have not lost sight of our responsibilities. No sirree. We are staying true to our vital mission as purveyors of Gossip, both fine and otherwise.

Read on, my friends, for your (kinda sorta) weekly fix.

We begin today in the United States, where ESPN confirms that ACE, the Agency for Cycling Ethics, is going out of business . Paul Strauss, the CEO of ACE, told Bonnie Ford that the organization is stopping operations immediately. Strauss declined to provide any further information. Hints of trouble emerged early last summer when Paul Scott left ACE. The closure of ACE means that Team Columbia, Team Garmin, and BMC must now find a replacement, to administer their in-house testing. Rasmus Damsgaard is one option, of couse, but it's not yet known whether he will have the capacity to take on more teams.

In Italy, meanwhile, Drama struck at the Six Days of Milano on Tuesday. In the final sprint, Popovych slid out in the curve, bringing down Paolo Bettini and Luke Roberts. All three visited a local hospital. Bettini hit the outside wall of the track, breaking his helmet and losing consciousness for a brief period. Though the ex-world champion was expected to remain in hospital overnight, Bettini returned to his hotel late Tuesday evening. Neither he nor Popovych will start tomorrow. But the rules do allow them to continue the race, so long as they do so within 36 hours. Bettini told the press that he hoped very much to finish the race. "I do not want to end my career with a crash and an abandon," he said. In other Six Day news, Erik Zabel and partner Leif Lampater currently lead in Dortmund by 14 points with one night left to ride.

From the Whatever Happened To... File. The procura in Padova has archived the criminal case against Andrea Moletta. Gerolsteiner, you may recall, suspended Moletta during the Giro d'Italia after police discovered his father driving about with a car full of doping products, including Viagra. Oopsy. Doping controls carried out on Moletta (the son, not the father) found no anomalies. No word from Dottore Torri, who may yet with to have one of his little chats with Moletta.

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, it's been a busy week. The Tribunale Nazionale Antidoping handed down a lifetime ban to Ivan Stevic, who this last season rode for Toyota-United. The ban applies only to racing in Italy. Stevic is among the many riders and team officials caught in the Oil for Drugs investigation. The offenses catalogued in the CONI decision date from Stevic's amateur days, when according to the investigation he worked as a middle-man in the Santuccione doping ring. A raid on Stevic's house on 26 May 2004 found a refrigerator full of products. Milk, check. Eggs, check. Growth hormone, check. Surveillance tapes of Santuccione's office also revealed Stevic's role in the doping ring. Stevic failed to show up for two hearings this last Spring relating to his case. Apparently, skipping CONI hearings is all the rage. The Tribunale found Stevic in violation of Article 2.2, use of a banned substance, Article 2.6, possession, and Article 2.7, trafficking. No word on what, if anything, Stevic has to say about the matter. Chapeau to Cycling Fans Anonymous for pulling this story out of the morass of CONI's Oil for Drugs records.

CONI also had a little sit-down with Ivan Fanini, who in an interview at La Stampa made a series of doping accusations. (Translation here.) Fanini claimed that several riders had frequented Dr. Ferrari in St. Moritz this season, that Bettini had an informant for out of competition testing, and that Pantani switched samples with a team-mate in 1998. Torri decided he wanted to know more. Fanini, no doubt flattered by Torri's attention, and really, he must be the only one to feel this way, described the two hour conversation as cordial. Fanini also proposed seeking sponsors to fund a re-testing of the Giro samples for CERA. No word on Zomegnan's feelings about that idea.

Rumors have swirled about the possibility of a big, new sponsor for Mauro Gianetti that would allow the team formerly known as Saunier Duval to continue next season. Rumor said that the new sponsor came from Italy. This Rumor led to a new Rumor - what do those Rumors do with the lights out, anyway? - that Rebellin would soon sign with Gianetti. According to an article in Monday's edition of Marca, the future of the team remains uncertain. Matxin, who manages the team along side Gianetti, said that they currently search for a sponsor in Mexico. Said Matxin, "I hope that this week positive news will arrive. I am optimistic, but at the moment, there is nothing definitive." The team has 12 riders remaining on its roster. Recent reports have also suggested that the team has not paid its riders' salaries in at least a month. Should the management fail to find a new sponsor or otherwise meet its salary obligations, the riders would be paid out of the team's bank guarantee held by the UCI.

Got bandaids? HealthNet will next season become OUCH Cycling, named after OUCH Sports Meidicine Center, in California. New team-leader Floyd Landis brought the sponsor to the team. From the existing roster, Tim Johnson, Karl Menzies, and Rory Sutherland are all confirmed as staying. Did you know that Sutherland once rode for Rabobank? I didn't. Just goes to show, you learn something new everyday. We eagerly await the new team's jersey design.

On the subject of new kits, Milram will redesign its kit for next season. No more stripes. The kit will turn to a lighter blue and have a pattern. The pattern? Uh... how do we say it? Cow spots. The team will look like a herd of blue and white cows. Very thin blue and white cows. But cows all the same. Are you sure you want to transfer Leenoos?

Speaking of Milram, Niki Terpstra, last seen doodsmaking massively at the Olympics, has at last returned to training. The 24 year old from the Netherlands broke both arms in a training crash in Beijing, and has spent the time since recovering. He is continuing to do physical therapy and reports that rides over three hours are rough going for him. But some bike riding, always better than no bike riding at all.

Guido Trenti has announced his retirement from cycling, after 12 years as a professional. Trenti rode as gregario to sprinters like Tom Boonen and most recently to Filippo Pozzato at Team Liquigas. Trenti, who has an American mother and an Italian father, carried an American racing license and several times represented the United States at the world campionships.

Thor gets a lead-out. Brett Lancaster will ride for Cervélo next season. Lancaster has ridden for Milram since 2006. When not playing lead-out, he is a prologue specialist and this year won the prologue of the Deutschland Tour. Cervélo has also confirmed the signing of Roger Hammond and Daniel Fleeman.

In more transfer news, Xavier Tondo and Angel Vicioso have left the Portuguese team LA MSS to ride for the Spanish ProContinental team, Andalucia Cadajur. For those how may have forgotten, a doping scandal rocked LA MSS in June of this year. Young rider, Bruno Neves, died suddenly after a crash at a race in Portugal. Speculation abounded that doping might have contributed to his death. The police raided the LA MSS hotel rooms, seizing doping products, and the Portuguese Federation subsequently suspended five riders, a sports director, and a doctor from the team. Little wonder that Tondo and Vicioso might wish to ride elsewhere. Tondo won the Tour of Portugal last year, and Vicioso won the Vuelta a Asturias this year. Andalucia Cadajur is steadily reinforcing its roster this transfer season. Thanks to SempreNaRoda for this update from Portugal.

Whither Francisco Mancebo? Recent rumor has connected the Spanish ex-Fuentes-ist with Rock Racing, but so far, there is no official agreement between Mancebo and Ball. Mancebo currently decides between Rock and the Czech team, PSK.

The Geneviève Jeanson story has returned to the headlines in Canada. On 6 November, journalist Alain Gravel's new book, L'affaire Jeanson: l'engrenage will become available. The book retraces the story of Jeanson's life and career, and churns up the sordid details of her relationship with coach André Aubut, which began when Jeanson was 16 years old. She tells Gravel, "I did not reject [Aubut], because I did not know how to do it." Gravel also reveals the involvement of Jeanson's parents in her use of EPO, which also began when she was 16 years old. Watch this space for a full review of the book, once it becomes available.

Party in the Wind Tunnel! Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong took a trip to San Diego for some wind tunnel time. Contador tried out a new helmet and a new bike, as well as working to perfect his position. Video of BrasFort pedaling to nowhere available here.

Bio-pace for all! Over at CSC-Saxo Bank, Bobby Julich will remain on staff at Saxo Bank to work with rider development and time trialing. Everyone at CSC will soon ride oval chain rings. Circles, so last year. In other CSC news, Gustav Larsson has decided at long last to stay. He will ride for Riis's team for three more years, as a crono specialist and stage race ace. Phew. We're so glad that that one is settled.

And with that, we're off to watch election returns. Red state, blue state.