Dame Sarah Storey hails Stoke-on-Trent’s ahead of Women’s Tour

Dame Sarah Storey hails Stoke-on-Trent’s sporting prowess as they get set to welcome Women’s Tour

Paralympian legend Dame Sarah Storey heaped praise on Stoke-on-Trent’s positive attitude towards sport – as she helped to officially launch Stage 2 of the 2017 Women’s Tour which will start and finish in the city.

Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian was speaking at an event where full details were revealed for the The Women’s Tour and The Tour Series.

Sarah, who will have her own team in the Tour Series event and has competed in the city in the past.

Stoke-on-Trent is a fantastic city for hosting cycling events. Having cities like this which are up for it make a huge difference to cycling and sport in general, and people here should be very excited about the events which are coming.

Dame Sarah Storey

Cyclist & Team Manager, Storey Cycling Team

Stoke-on-Trent will welcome the world’s top female cyclists on Thursday, June 8 when the city hosts a stage of The Women’s Tour. Stage Two of the UK’s biggest professional women’s race will start and finish in the city centre, giving people the chance to get up close to the action as elite cyclists battle it out on the roads of the city.

All of the world’s top 15 teams will take part in the race, which will start on Upper Market Square, next to the statue of Sir Stanley Matthews, and finish 144.5km later back in the city with riders sprinting for the finish line outside Hanley Town Hall.

The stage will take riders on an anti-clockwise route through Joiners Square, Bucknall, Bentilee, Adderley Green, Park Hall and Meir. The riders will then head out into Staffordshire before returning to the city centre through Baddeley Green and Abbey Hulton, giving residents plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the action for free.

The Women’s Tour will be the second major cycling event to be held in the city this year, following on from Round Two of The Tour Series circuit race which takes place in the city centre on Thursday, May 11.

The Tour Series, which is coming to the city for the ninth time, will feature seven professional men’s teams (8pm), as well as the women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series (6pm), battling it out on a closed road, city centre circuit which starts and finishes on Town Road. Before the races, the day will feature school activities and a corporate grand prix which local businesses and organisations can take part in. There will also be street entertainment around a promotional zone.

Marianne Vos, Women's Tour Stage 4 2016 - ©www.chrismaher.co.uk

2014 winner Marianne Vos – ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / Cyclingshorts.cc

We’re delighted to be bringing these high quality sporting events to the city this year.

We have a long and successful association with hosting top cycling events in Stoke-on-Trent but this will be the first time we have held a stage start and finish of the Women’s Tour, which is fantastic news. It will give people the chance to see top class cyclists in front of their own eyes for free.

Combined with the Tour Series, these two events – which will both be televised on TV – will show off our city to a national and international audience as being a lively visitor and leisure destination, further supporting our bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. The races will also draw crowds into the city, which is great news for our businesses and economy, and will hopefully inspire more people to take up cycling and get active.

Councillor Terry Follows

Cabinet member for Greener City, Development and Leisure

The Women’s Tour will begin in Northamptonshire on Wednesday, June 7, with the opening stage between Daventry and Kettering and also include stages in Warwickshire and Derbyshire, finishing in central London on Sunday 11 June. A one-hour highlights programme of every stage will be broadcast daily on ITV4 and available on demand via the ITV Hub.

We’re delighted to be bringing our events back to Stoke-on-Trent. We have a brilliant relationship with the council who have an unparalleled ambition for bringing sporting events to the area and we are looking forward to being a part of their plans for 2017.

Mick Bennett

Race Director

The three editions to date, won by Marianne Vos in 2014, Lisa Brennauer in 2015 and Lizzie Armitstead in 2016, have seen hundreds of thousands of spectators turn out at the roadside with many more around the UK watching the ITV4 highlights every evening.

 

Stage 1 – Wednesday 7 June – Daventry to Kettering
Stage 2 – Thursday 8 June – The Stoke-on-Trent Stage
Stage 3 – Friday 9 June – Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa
Stage 4 – Saturday 10 June – Chesterfield to Chesterfield
Stage 5 – Sunday 11 June – The London Stage

The full list of teams for The Women’s Tour is:

  • Ale Cipollini (Italy)
  • BePink Cogeas (Italy)
  • Boels Dolmans Cycling Team (Netherlands)
  • Canyon//SRAM (Germany)
  • Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling (Germany)
  • Cylance Pro Cycling (USA)
  • Drops (Great Britain)
  • FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope (France)
  • Hitec Products (Norway)
  • Lares Waowdeals (Belgium)
  • Lensworld Kuota (Belgium)
  • Orica Scott (Australia)
  • Team Sunweb (Netherlands)
  • Team VeloCONCEPT Women (Denmark)
  • Team WNT (Great Britain)
  • Wiggle HIGH5 (Great Britain)
  • WM3 Pro Cycling (Netherlands)
2016 Aviva Women's Tour winner Lizzie Armitstead - ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / Cyclingshorts.cc

2016 Aviva Women’s Tour winner Lizzie Armitstead – ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / Cyclingshorts.cc

 

For more information visit:
Website            www.womenstour.co.uk
Twitter               www.twitter.com/thewomenstour
Facebook         www.facebook.com/thewomenstour
Instagram          www.instagram.com/thetourcycling
YouTube           www.youtube.com/thetourcycling

Nicole Cooke’s Written Evidence to Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee

Written evidence submitted by Nicole Cooke MBE (BDA0012)

Contents

1.0 Summary
2.0 My experience 3.0 Governance
3.1 Examples of the symptoms of this mal-governance
3.2 Conclusions to issues of Governance
4. 0 Issues relating to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)
4.1 Background and current status 4.2 Personal experiences
4.3 The international situation
4.4 PEDs removed from exemptions
5.0 Finale

I have been asked to submit evidence to the Culture Media & Sport Select Committee.

I have requested that part of my evidence is written and present this to accompany the question and answer session.

1.0 Summary
I wish to present to you evidence for two problems that you may wish to consider.

The first one relates to the governance of a sport that receives annually significant financial support from the public purse and the fact that such funds are not distributed equitably and in a decent manner for the benefit of the whole of the target population. I summarise that as a sport run by men, for men. I have attempted to achieve redress on a number of occasions but have encountered a governance structure at the National Federation – British Cycling – that is not responsible to anyone other than itself for its own actions. It has an Executive Board, but this exerts minimal control of its executive officers and is filled with a majority who approve of the mal-distribution of public funds. The oversight that should be in place via UK Sport is, at best, token.

The second relates to how measures and schemes put in place to fight the abuse of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) are inadequate and ineffective in planning, management and execution – the so called “war on PEDs”. I summarise that as the wrong people fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, with the wrong tools.

Since both of these require the support and activity of management involved in the governance of sports, at a variety of levels, there are obviously areas of mutual inclusivity in the problematic areas.

I believe both of these problems have a direct bearing on why an employee, whose salary is paid out of the public purse, is directed by his managers, also paid out of the public purse, to spend several days driving from the south of England to Manchester and back and then catch a plane to fly to France and back, all to urgently deliver a package, the contents of which he claims he is ignorant of. And throughout, the management can direct him to do this with no thought for the responsibilities of his post, as British Women’s Road Team Coach or the work he is paid to do, and all to the benefit of a private organisation, because there is no body to which effective appeal can be made, by those disadvantaged by such actions. The Director of the BC cycling performance program, Sir Dave Brailsford, and the National Coach, Shane Sutton, are both working for Team Sky in management roles as well as their public roles and can misdirect because they know that they have the approval to do so from the two cycling representatives on the Board of the Team Sky holding company, Tour Racing Limited, Ian Drake and Brian Cookson who were respectively CEO of and President of the Executive Board British Cycling throughout this period.

UK Sport, the body that I believe is charged by charter to have ultimate responsibility for the effective distribution of public funds from the Lottery to sporting organisations, provides no oversight and means of censure of this compromised governance structure. My personal experience is that UK Sport actively resist attempts to be made accountable, instead, always directing the athlete back to the governance of the sport. The only time I achieved a measure of satisfaction was when I engaged my MP in a serious matter and he raised it with the Minister for Sport, who in turn took it to the CEO of UK Sport. Such a resolution path is not practicable when asking why the National Coach has refused to allow a camp to be run for the British Women’s Road Team and the National Women’s Coach is instead directed to act as courier for his long term friend and ex professional team mate Bradley Wiggins at Team Sky or spend some weeks riding a moped in front of him as part of a training regimen, directed by the National Coach. These are merely front line symptoms of a management that is not subject to censure.

2.0 My experience

My experience is that of a cyclist actively engaged in the sport and exclusively extracting my livelihood from it for the period 2002 through to 2012. Therefore my account relates to British Cycling (BC) and its relationship with UK Sport, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), the Union Cycliste International (UCI), World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and clubs and organisations affiliated to BC. Throughout this time Brian Cookson was President of BC.

3.0 Governance

The fundamental problem appears to be that Sports Governance in the UK has not moved sufficiently from a model that suited small-time amateur club operations with small National Federation (NF) budgets funded out of modest levies on activities by participants, to that of an organisation responsible for the equitable distribution of millions of pounds of public money each year. Methods of oversight and consequent accountability are not effective.

Policies, rules and regulations are based on the NF, in my case BC, being the ultimate arbiter of everything to do with the sport, in particular how officers employed by BC conduct their affairs. The management at BC are able to show discrimination and favouritism for projects and individuals without check or balance; they are answerable only to themselves.

I believe there are a variety of routes for public money to be distributed to BC. These include, funding for hosting major events of both National and International stature, funding for the construction of facilities, funding for support of athletes in preparation for World events, the World

Class Performance Programs (WCPPs) and funding to encourage participation in sport by a wider section of the general population.

I understand that the role of UK Sport in the distribution of Lottery funds to NFs is clearly defined in an over-arching contract that places the responsibility for the fair and proper distribution of that public money with UK Sport.

My personal experience is that during the period 2001 to 2003, UK Sport in the persons of its then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Callicott and its then Director of WCPPs Liz Nicholl, who is now CEO, resisted this notion entirely. Instead they sought to place ultimate responsibility for how funds and support services purchased with public funds were distributed, entirely with the NFs and stated they had no function of oversight. I, my father, and my solicitor were in much written communication over this very point. We were entirely unsuccessful in achieving a resolution of any form until the matter was referred to my Local MP, Win Griffiths, and he very kindly brought it up with the Minister of Sport, Richard Caborn who then asked Richard Callicott to justify this position. Consequently the BC Director of WCPP Peter Keen resigned and later in that same year Richard Callicott also left office. A further contributory factor to Richard Callicott’s departure was the dispute Callicott had with the then Head of the anti-doping testing program within UK Sport (it was not independent at that time) Michele Verroken. This centred on whether Rio Ferdinand’s failure to attend an Anti-doping test should be treated as a doping infraction or not. Rio Ferdinand had recently been purchased for £30 million by Manchester United, a fee that was a new record. Were he to be banned, his team would not get economic reward against this investment. At this time both FIFA (President Sepp Blatter) and the UCI (President Hein Verbruggen) were resisting all calls for their sports to sign up to the new WADA protocols which clearly defined missed tests as infractions.

My experience is that even though in the case I brought to UK Sport, although I was able to eventually get UK Sport to accept ultimate responsibility for the disbursement of funds and services procured with public funds, UK Sport do not offer effective oversight and do not hold BC to account, in fact the reverse is true with the model mainly being that BC and affiliated projects spend and distribute as they and they alone see fit, and also spend over budget with little fear of censure.

3.1 Examples of the symptoms of this mal-governance

To support this assertion I give a modest selection of examples taken from across my chronological experience.

A WCPP program existed for Juniors (ages 17 & 18) when I was 16. This provided a modest financial support for equipment and travel expenses for athletes of this category. At both 15 and 16 I met the performance criteria for this program. I was denied entry because I was “too young”. At 16 I became the Senior British Road Race champion beating all the senior elite athletes supported by the Senior WCPP, despite my youth. When I turned 17 the program had been cancelled by the Director of WCPP Peter Keen. Keen was personal coach to the senior rider who was second to me in the British Championships the year before. I could not dispute his decision as BC were the arbiters of their actions and Keen was fully supported by BC senior management. When I became senior, another excuse, this time predicated on a false representation of the factual situation, was generated to prevent me having any access to lottery support. At this stage, and with experience, I took things further and in the period 2002/2003 we arrived at the impasse I described with UK Sport.

One of the early excuses UK Sport used for insisting that they could not intervene was that this was solely a dispute between an athlete and a NF and they had no power to intervene. Further, I had not used the BC Appeal procedure – I must follow their due process. My representatives wrote back to

detail the construct of the “Appeal Procedure” BC had written to hold themselves to account. The Appellant had to submit the details of the Appeal and then BC management would request down- payment of financial security to cover all assembly, accommodation, maintenance and administrative costs of the appeal panel, which would be due by the Appellant, should the case not be found in favour of the Appellant. The construct of the Appeals Panel was at the gift of BC. The decision of the Panel would be submitted to the Executive Board and the Appellant had no right to know the nature of it. Then in a final twist, the Executive Board gifted themselves the ability to not be bound by the decision of the Appeals Panel and determine whatever decision they wished. I informed UK Sport I would not use this “Appeal Procedure” and the question was asked of UK Sport if given the nature of the process and the financial commitment required by the Appellant, they would either. No reply was received. When my representatives wrote again asking if UK Sport should be distributing public money to organisations who wrote such clearly un-just policies and should not a requirement be that if a NF wished to present itself as an organ for distribution of public money, it should have to pass some fairly modest threshold of competent governance, I received a reply to the effect that Appeals Policies within individual sports were the responsibility of each NF and not a matter UK Sport should consider.

This inadequate response formed a key point in the case I presented to my MP. I was grateful of the efforts he made that resulted in the resolution of this issue.

Around mid career . c 2006, I received some information to indicate that UK Sport had appointed an Equalities Officer. I asked my representative to contact this person to see if they would engage with two issues that were current. I had asked Director of WCPP Dave Brailsford to facilitate other female riders joining myself on the continent. The Australian Cycling Federation did this by setting up two team houses, one for their male riders and another for females. Various reasons had been given about how this was not possible. Then, a house had been set up for the young male British riders in Italy. I believe this, together with all the support personnel and equipment was fully funded by a grant from Lottery funds approved by UK Sport. I had again urged that a similar facility was set up for female riders. I was told this would not happen. In June 2006 I returned to the UK from Italy to race the British Championships that were being held in Yorkshire. I knew that both the local council and a UK Sport approved major event grant contributed the major part of the event budget. Of the British Road Riders of the time, I was significantly the most high profile and highest attaining. British Male success on the international circuit at that time was non-existent and previous British Winner, David Millar was still serving his ban for doping. The event preparations were as normal. The prize purse for the women’s race was a tiny fraction of that for the men and the pre-race publicity was all about the male race with a token mention of the women’s race. I had just won the Women’s Tour de France, to follow up a win in the Italian Giro of 2004. It was put to the Equalities Officer at UK Sport could this bias be investigated and BC management held to account for such discriminatory action. The response was very clear. Such an investigation was not in the remit of the Equalities Officer at UK Sport and nor would that Officer do anything with the information provided. If I had any issues I should take them up with BC. That I had already done so to no effect, was not his concern. He would do nothing.

Very little was ever done to support female road riders during my career. At times odd riders would be supported for a period, while they were “in favour” but mostly, that support was only ever transient. In 2008 the plans were in place for the male only Team Sky that would use a variety of BC Lottery funded staff in dual roles. Dave Brailsford managed the project with BC CEO Ian Drake and President Brian Cookson on the Board of Tour Racing Limited the holding company set up to “own” it. Once again the designed in “oversight” were the people who approved the initial decision to

progress the project as male only. No successful appeal that it should be a male and female team was possible. This was run exclusively by men, exclusively for men. Other contemporary professional teams even those not connected to National Federations, ran male and female squads on the two circuits. To do so would not have been unusual or different.

It was evident to all that huge resource went into this project from BC, to the extent that in the autumn of 2008 as they all concentrated on this and the World Championships came up, and, as there was no male rider who could effectively challenge for a World title, they downgraded the whole preparation for that event. At those World Championships I found I could not get basic repairs completed for my bicycle by the BC mechanics. After my win at Beijing, British Cycling had bragged that the program of “marginal gains” meant that they had produced a skin suit for me to use whilst most of my competitors rode in shorts and a jersey. I had insisted on this in 2000, against the wishes of the BC management, and now it was trumpeted as an advantage of their thoroughness. However, for late 2008 they had once again “forgotten” to organise one and I was told to ride in shorts and jersey, which they had provided. Expecting this, I had brought to the championships my skin suit from the year before. Dave Brailsford was insistent that I could not wear it as it did not feature the logo of the new Sponsor Sky. Eventually a compromise was reached on the eve of the race, in which Emma Pooley, who had a needle and thread with her, cut out the Sky logo of the jersey and sowed it onto my old skinsuit. I won the World Title and became the first person, male or female to be World and Olympic road race champion in the same year.

In “Project Rainbow” the book by British Male Road Coach, Rod Ellingworth he describes assembling the plan for Mark Cavendish for the World Championships in 2011 and London 2012. This plan is being put together at this same time, late 2008. It is worth quoting verbatim. “….at the end of 2008 I wrote up a four year plan to win the road race in London……………the debacle of Madrid in 2005 summed up where GB was at the time……(that I won a silver medal contesting a sprint with no lead out or support riders in the finale is ignored.)…..At British Cycling there were a few people – Shane Sutton in particular – who were against me doing this. I think Shane felt that if we did all this for the lads, we would have to do it for the women, but I told him that wasn’t my problem”.

The facts are they did nothing for the women. Whilst this deluxe program ran out for the men’s London 2012 bid, Emma Pooley and myself self funded our flights to and accommodation in Australia.

For London 2012 the 2011 Trial Event was for men only, despite the current gold medallist in the road race and silver medallist in the time trial being female, we were again ignored. Staff at BC will point out that this was not their decision, but that of the London Games organisers. The manager of the Cycling events at London 2012 was an ex BC employee and worked in complete co-operation with the staff at BC. If they had wanted to put on a trial event for women they could have done so. That manager is ex professional cyclist Simon Lillistone who has his own “long journey with a bag, the contents of which and purpose of the journey were a complete mystery to him”. In his case he was transporting a “bag” for Lance Armstrong. A decade later it was confirmed the bag contained PEDs, but at the time the story of the “bag for Lance” came out, Simon Lillistone found he could not support the claims of his partner Emma O’Reilly, who stated that they were PEDs for Armstrong’s doping program to win the Tour de France.

3.2 Conclusions to issues of Governance

All of the above are modest symptoms. Cope was doing what he was told to do. Shane Sutton states he approved Cope’s trip with the jiffy bag. Nobody in the organisation anywhere would have asked

the question – hasn’t Cope got another job to do? At fault are those who designed the program in the way they did. “Team Sky” and the simultaneous use of people also receiving a full wage from the public purse at BC, was all about optimising the road team for London 2012 and getting a British rider to win the Tour de France. Of course they really did not mean any British rider because I had already won the Tour twice. They meant a British rider who counts in their eyes and that meant a man. This was an exclusively male program; it was not open to women and would not support women, but resources paid from the public purse to support that tiny fraction of a program that was available to women were stripped out of the women’s program to augment the men’s program by flying out “unknown” jiffy bags or riding mopeds whenever needed.

This un-equitable and discriminatory distribution of resource was only possible due to the failure of UK Sport to hold the senior management of BC to account. Throughout my whole career, BC senior management and the Board could not have made it more clear to those they directed, that men and the actions and achievements of men, were all that mattered. This was obvious to all observers of the sport but UK Sport just stood by, watched and approved.

4. 0 Issues relating to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)

4.1 Background and current status

UKAD recently stand accused of not investigating Dr Bonar when evidence was brought to them by Dan Stevens. My total experience as an elite athlete brings me to a condition where I am not surprised that UKAD have done nothing. I have no faith in the actions in support of investigations conducted by UKAD or the testing they conduct, both completed at significant expense to the public purse.

Internationally, the conflicts of interest of so many of those charged with defending clean riders are such that they cannot be trusted to carry out their responsibilities effectively. National and International Federations can not be allowed to have any part in anti-doping activity. They are compromised at so many levels.

I have twice presented personal evidence to the agency in the UK responsible for anti-doping management. In the first case they stated they would not do anything with my evidence. On the second they took no notes during the meeting and informed me I could not be given any information of any sort as to how they might process the evidence I gave them. My belief, based on the lack of action I observed post this event, is that they did nothing at all on that second occasion either. On another occasion I asked them to follow up on the case of a rider who was apparently serving a two year ban and had been stripped of an Olympic medal but was being offered to me some 9 months later as a team mate and had already been back competing for several months and just become Pan American champion! After some initial good support from UKDAD, I was soon left to pursue this case with WADA alone. I found identical reactions at WADA to those at UKAD and when conventional inquiries were ignored, I had to resort to writing recorded delivery letters to Dick Pound in order to elicit responses. Needless to say the outcome was, that with a very dubious evidence trail in which the rider concerned changed her story about what caused the positive test result, several times, those in responsibility accepted her account and gave her medal back. I pursued the case for two years, attempting to elicit from the authorities explanations as to why they took the decisions they did, given the evidence before them. Finally I received an intemperate reply from Mr Oliver Niggli, (who appeared before this committee), on behalf of Dick Pound. It brought little relief that in 2015 that same rider once again tested positive, this time for human growth hormone at the Pan American games and is currently serving a four year ban. She retains her Olympic medal that was

given back to her by those who earn their livelihood with guarding the interests of the clean athletes.

Pertinent to the “jiffy bag” incident is that two of the protagonists are directly involved in the Linda McCartney cycling team. Both Simon Cope and Bradley Wiggins rode for this team. Team Manager Julian Clark and rider Matt DeCanio state that doping was practised within the team. Other BC employees and ex employees involved in the team are current U23 men’s road team manager Keith Lambert, ex team doctor Roger Palfreeman, who was doctor on the team, Max Sciandri and ex Team Sky manager Sean Yates who rode for a number of years on the same team as Lance Armstrong. Apparently UKAD have testimony from three members of the team stating that riders used PEDs. The investigation was started in 2012 when the claims were first made by The Times newspaper. UKAD did advise at the outset patience would be needed before outcomes would be reached. “All valid information that could lead to a prosecution will be followed up.” As recently as June 2016 three of the British members of this team, Sean Yates, Max Sciandri and Matt Stephens, who is a commentator on the sport for Eurosport, all stated that UKAD had made no contact with them. Four years on – how patient do we have to be, or are UKAD doing nothing?

I am not an expert on the legal framework under which UKAD management operate. I can only state from my viewpoint they appear very keen to grasp any excuse not to do anything a clean athlete might view as of merit.

4.2 Personal experiences

In my first full season, 2002 I became fully aware that the use of PEDs was still endemic in the sport and the “new clean era” post the Festina scandal of 1999 was a designed fiction. I note that the President of WADA, Craig Reedie appeared before this committee and was of the view that criminalising doping violations by the athlete was not a good idea and would produce no benefit. To back up this point of view he suggested that only two countries have enacted to criminalise acts in this field, Italy and Germany and only two people have been convicted as a consequence and therefore it is pointless. To counter I would simply ask him to identify just how have the big drug busts been achieved? UKAD have been presented with evidence from whislteblowers in respect of the Linda McCartney team and several years later have not interviewed key witnesses. Undoubtedly they have not done so because there is nothing to be gained, according to their defined terms of conduct of operation and the National Anti-doping Policy. Certainly no criminal offence has been committed. I would ask how could they have gone about gaining confidential information to confirm or disprove the allegations made against Dr Bonar? They had no power to engage in phone taping, video surveillance and the other tools available to criminal investigations. At the age of 19 I was the only Brit on my team in Italy and I was encouraged by two members of the management of my team to dope. Not all were so inclined and another of those engaged in the management of the team specifically warned me about what was likely to happen and to urge me to be on my guard.

If William Dazzani operated in the UK rather than in Italy he would still be running doping rings, producing tragedy and misery in so many around him. As it was the Italian Guardia were empowered by legislation making it a criminal offence to receive and procure PEDs for athletes and were able to conduct an investigation – Operation Bike – using tools of the state to do so. They tapped phones and had recorded conversations of Olivano Locatelli speaking to William Dazzani advising him how athletes could take PEDs and still not test positive at events. They conducted video surveillance and they raided houses and found stashes of PEDs. They arrested the Directeur Sportif William Dazzani. I was ignorant that, during my time with the team, the Italian Police were conducting their investigation and so I took my experiences of Dazanni to the fore-runner of UKAD, I was told there

was nothing they could do. My representative specifically asked the director, John Scott, as they would do nothing, could they at least have the common courtesy of passing the intelligence I provided to the Italian anti-doping authorities. John answered that he would not do so, he and his organisation would do nothing with the information.

As a 19 year old female in a foreign country, I am grateful that Italy viewed the behaviour of Dazanni as criminal.

4.3 The international situation

Similarly it was the Spanish Police who ran Operation Puerto that ensnared Dr Eufemiano Fuentes. Now we can all decry the painful lack of subsequent action of the prosecutors on being presented with such bountiful evidence. Fortunately not all those receiving a very good salary from the public purse to “protecting the right to participate in clean sport” (UKAD), have swords apparently made of chocolate. If UKAD want an example of how to act they should just look at how diligently the Italian authorities pursued Spanish cyclist Valverde in the Puerto case. Valverde was careful not to race in Italy, where doping violations are a criminal offence. However he did not look closely enough at the route map for the Tour de France one year. The Italian authorities bided their time and waited until the Tour de France came to a finish in Italy and Valverde was then within their jurisdiction. They seized him and conducted a test and were able to get a sample of DNA. Later, when a temporary stand in Judge was maintaining the case in Spain, they succeeded in obtaining a sample from one of the blood bags held by the authorities there. As a direct consequence of this action and only because of it, Valverde was banned for two years.

This determined action is leagues beyond the bungling in relation to the case of the rider who was able to win the Pan American Championship, months after starting her two year ban. Her case was a prime example of why NFs cannot be allowed to have any part in the process. She tested positive at Athens and was stripped of her medal and had an automatic two year ban. She then appealed the ban. This appeal was processed by her home nation cycling federation, the same officials who had been celebrating their first ever cycling Olympic medal, when she won, just weeks before. The justification for the appeal was that the Federation doctor stated that he was at fault and had prescribed a medicine the athlete took the day before, that had caused the positive result. The Officers of the Federation decided that the Appeal should be upheld and she started racing again. The Federation then supported her claim to have her Olympic medal returned, seeing as she had now been declared entirely blameless by them. This was achieved, even if the reason presented at the two subsequent hearings was entirely different to that which caused the appeal to be upheld. NFs are responsible for executing anti-doping education, coach education, employing doctors, selecting athletes and promoting their sport. Valverde was a Spanish rider, he remained in their jurisdiction most of the time. The Italian authorities gathered the evidence to convict him, whilst those in Spain failed to act. Is it feasible to pretend that a home federation will act without bias in hearing cases of this kind? I have cited two examples, I could write about others.

If I were to understand Craig Reedie correctly, I believe that if he had his wishes the Italian authorities would not have been empowered to act in this manner. The French Police needed criminal legislation to be able to conduct investigations that blew apart the Festina scandal in 1999. The French Police needed criminal legislation to be able to take in Sir Dave Brailsford and David Millar for questioning and expose Millar as a cheat. After all, Millar had passed all the testing around a World Championship gold winning ride – he must be clean.

4.4 PED’s removed from exemptions

It is this same lack of desire by those at the very top of the sport to engage in the fight that delisted known PEDs for out of competition (OOC) use. Before the committee both David BraiIsford and Bob Howden stated that the number of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) issued in the sport of cycling had declined. They quoted the figure of 13. This is somewhat misleading as it represents only those issues by the UCI. There are a variety of other bodies that a cyclist can go to obtain a TUE. I have not seen assembled any figures for all cyclists competing in all cycling Internationally. A further fact is that TUE numbers have declined because a whole series of PEDs had been taken off the list of banned substances if used OOC, or in the case of a range of Asthma medications, thresholds have been adjusted to higher levels so athletes can take drugs that have performance enhancing side effects, in small doses, and not trigger a failure.

In November 2003 I was unable to train or race due to serious career threatening knee injury. Together with the medical team and coaching staff we discussed possible treatments. At that stage the medical advice was not to elect for surgery but try remedial action and have an injection of the steroid triamcinolone. I had a TUE for this treatment receiving the same steroid that Bradley Wiggins used more recently. At the time it could only be used with a TUE, whether in or out of competition. That injection failed to address the medical problems and I continued not to race and ended up having surgery in May 2004. It was June 2004 before I had my first race subsequent to the injection in November the year before. I had a further TUE for the same steroid in September 2007, again it was out of competition and I would not race until five months after the injection. This is a powerful steroid with known PED properties. If the TUE process were to be reliably controlled, then an athlete would not be able to abuse its use OOC to prepare for a big event. In 2006, 12 of the 13 positive test results at the men’s Tour de France were discounted by riders having active TUEs. 105 of the 176 starters were tested, and 60% had TUEs. In 2008, 76 of the 180 riders who started the men’s Tour de France had TUEs. My personal experience is that sometimes I attended anti-doping protocols with other competitors who took in files with many TUEs. Obviously I was not privy to their personal medical records and conditions but it appeared that it would not be lost on many of the unscrupulous that a TUE was a very convenient way to mask a doping program. In 2003/4 I brought up my concerns with UKAD that the TUE approval process was being abused. Once again I was informed that UKAD would do nothing about my concerns to investigate it as in their view “there were a number of very poorly elite athletes competing”. Eventually the authorities have acted to tighten up the issuing process, but current with that is the move that makes usage of these drugs with PED side effects, legal in OOC use. The significant majority of an elite athlete’s time is spent out of competition. One gate was closed but a bigger one opened.

Of concern are the TUEs issued by the Team Sky/British Cycling medical team for this same steroid. Perhaps, the more relevant question, rather than the strange coincident chronology of the ailment, is to ask the BC/Sky medical team how often has this steroid been issued to athletes out of competition. Is it used properly – to help recover from career threatening injuries or has it ever been used to assist athletes losing fat and gaining power in the out of competition preparation for major events?

Undoubtedly the question would not receive an answer even if it could be asked and therefore we are back with those at the top of the sport and their apparent lack of desire to put in place effective rules or change them to be less effective – whereabouts violations slackening from “three missed tests in 18 months”, being eased to the lower threshold of “three in 12 months”; another simple example.

5.0 Finale

I am led to believe that UK Sport apparently gave £100,000 to Craig Reedie to support his presidential bid at WADA. Similarly they gave £78,000 to Brian Cookson to support his bid at the UCI. Does the public get value for money from these bids or is this another example of UK Sport distributing funds to those that request them, with negligible consequent oversight?

With ex BC President Brain Cookson seeking another term in office perhaps it would be well to compare actions with manifesto commitments before committing further public funds to support a subsequent bid. Easily measureable was his commitment that within 12 months of coming into office he would ensure female professional cyclists all received a minimum salary. That he would do so would be astonishing, given his track record in power at British Cycling and on the Board of the holding company of Team Sky. Needless to say this has not happened and three years after his election the prospect of a minimum wage being introduced is even further away than it was at the time of his election. By all means let the UCI run their own elections and if the national representatives view him as the best candidate for the job, well good luck to both him and them, but I would suggest that there are more deserving demands on the public funds available.

January 2017

 

You can download this full statement by clicking the file below.

 

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 Route Announced

  • STAGE 1 on Friday 28th April will start in Bridlington and finish in Scarborough – 173km
  • STAGE 2 on Saturday 29th April will start in Tadcaster and finish in Harrogate – 122.5km
  • STAGE 3 on Sunday 30th April will start in Bradford and finish in Fox Valley, Sheffield – 194.5km

Stage One gets underway outside Bridlington Spa and heads into Pocklington for the first intermediate sprint. The classified climbs up the Côte de Garrowby Hill and
Côte de Goathland will get the legs pumping before the race hits the coastline again at Whitby, where the riders will get a great view of the Abbey as they contest the second sprint of the day. The route continues on to Robin Hood’s Bay for the third and final climb and then it’s full steam into Scarborough for the now-legendary finish along North Bay.

On Stage Two, men and women will face exactly the same stage which starts in Tadcaster. The action commences on the newly-reopened Tadcaster Bridge and ventures into Knaresborough where the first intermediate sprint points are up for grabs. The sole categorised climb comes at the Côte de Lofthouse and then it’s on to Ripon for the second intermediate sprint. The race will skirt Fountains Abbeybefore a fast approach to Harrogate, where the action will reach its crescendo along Parliament Street, just as it did on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France.

On Stage Three the riders roll out of City Park in Bradford and take in Salts Mill before the start flag is lowered. The action then briefly joins the 2014 Tour de France route at Burley-in-Wharfedale before passing into the Yorkshire DalesSkipton is the next town on the agenda, with the first of eight categorised climbs being contested on the Côte de Silsden. The next ascent comes on the cobbled rise up Haworth’s picturesque main street and another climb at Leeming must also be tackled before they face the infamous Côte de Shibden Wall. This cobbled brute could see splits form before the final intermediate sprint in Stocksbridge. The riders then embark on a torturous 22km finishing circuit that features no less than four categorised climbs at DeepcarWigtwizzleEwden Height and Midhopestones before the race reaches its climax at Fox Valley.

View the Tour de Yorkshire routes maps:

letouryorkshire.com/stage-1/map

letouryorkshire.com/stage-2/map

letouryorkshire.com/stage-3/map

Sportive
Alongside the professional races, the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride will give amateur cyclists the chance to ride many of the same roads ridden by the pros in a newly designed sportive route, starting and finishing in Fox Valley (Sheffield) on Sunday 30 April. The sportive route will follow parts of Stage 3 of the men’s race and will take place before the pro race, allowing participants to finish their ride and get ready to watch the pro finish.

A highlight of the sportive will see the amateur riders crossing the very same finish line as the professional riders, with the same support from the waiting crowds. There will be three distances for riders to choose from; 45km, 75km and 100km (route and exact distances to be confirmed).

Those hoping to secure a place in the 2017 ride can register their interest and be the first to hear when the event opens for entries, or for those who want to beat the crowds and raise some money for charity in the process, you can enter now via one of our official charity places. Simply visit letouryorkshire.com/sportive for more details.

Stay up to date
You can keep up to date with all the latest information about the Tour de Yorkshire across our digital platforms:

Website:  letouryorkshire.com

Twitter: @LeTourYorkshire #TDY

Facebook:  Facebook.com/LeTourYorkshire

OMNIUM – The New Online Cycling Apparel Store

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Style, Performance and Individuality from New UK Based Online Store OMNIUM 

I met Claire Pepper on a Bike Ride with Brunch organised by Queen of the Mountains and was excited to hear of her plans to launch OMNIUM a brand new, UK based, online store bringing together some previously hard-to-buy or as yet undiscovered cycling apparel from independent designers. Their focus is high performance road cycling kit and accessories, bringing together lots of smaller brands who are doing really interesting stuff and making them more accessible, especially to the UK market.

Claire’s background is photography, specialising in fashion and sportswear in e-commerce, and as a runner, cyclist and triathlete, she found women’s cycling clothing to be much more limited in terms of choice than the rest of the active wear market and decided to do something about it! With her partner Jonathan, a creative director and active racer for Dulwich Paragon, they have launched OMNIUM.

Most of the OMNIUM brands are small companies with a bit of a cult following, and until now some have been hard to get hold of in the UK. OMNIUM solves the problems of buying internationally such as customs charges and complicated returns!

The products are stylish, high performance, individual brands which will only be stocked in limited runs, keeping the offering of fresh and current items in-demand.

 

Starting with 7 brands and with 2 more coming soon, the selection comprises mostly of men’s and women’s jerseys, shorts, socks and caps. There are some eye-catching full kits from Minneapolis brand Twin Six and graphic-patterned base layers from Good Cycling, a brand from the Netherlands. One of the most popular items is a cap by Canadian brand Forward, which features a pair of cat-eyes on the underside of the peak.

Well worth taking a look if you would like to stand out from the crowd this summer!

 

OMNIUM BRANDS

  • Twin Six – USA – men’s & women’s jerseys with matching shorts, caps, socks, bidons
  • Angeles Creative – USA – men’s and women’s jerseys, high performance and distinctive
  • Queen of the Mountains – UK – high performance women’s jerseys, shorts and caps
  • Forward – Canada – women’s jerseys and caps, fun, playful designs
  • God & Famous – USA – caps and socks (apparel coming soon) urban styling
  • The Wonderful Socks – Italy – socks and caps, Italian craft heritage with quirky designs
  • Good Cycling – The Netherlands – men’s and women’s jerseys, base layers and gilets

 

WEBSITE : weareomnium.cc

TWITTER: @omniumcc

INSTAGRAM: @omniumcc

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Weareomnium/

 

 

Pre Tour de Yorkshire Press Conference

 

L-R: Christian Prudhomme, Lucy Garner, Caleb Ewan, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Dani King & Sir Gary Verity.

L-R: Christian Prudhomme, Lucy Garner, Caleb Ewan, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Dani King & Sir Gary Verity.

 

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Saturday the Men’s and Women’s Stages of Champions take place.

Pre Race Press Conference for the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire

28 April 2016

Anthony McCrossan welcomes the press on the eve of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, before introducing Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Sir Gary Verity and A.S.O. Director of Cycling Christian Prudhomme.

Joining them on stage, last years defending champion, winning from start to finish, Lars-Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky and Orica Green-EDGE’s sensational young sprinter Caleb Ewan, making his debut, Olympic Champion, World Champion and European Champion Wiggle High5’s Dani King, and twice Junior World Champion Lucy Garner as the Tour readies itself for the second edition, 29th April to 01st May.

Pre Race Press Conference for the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire

28 April 2016

Anthony McCrossan welcomes the press on the eve of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, before introducing Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Sir Gary Verity and A.S.O. Director of Cycling Christian Prudhomme.

Joining them on stage, last years defending champion, winning from start to finish, Lars-Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky and Orica Green-EDGE’s sensational young sprinter Caleb Ewan, making his debut, Olympic Champion, World Champion and European Champion Wiggle High5’s Dani King, and twice Junior World Champion Lucy Garner as the Tour readies itself for the second edition, 29th April to 01st May.

Anthony McCrossan: “This evening the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour Down Under will sign an agreement to promote each other races across each others territories.”

Sir Gary Verity: The significance of stage two. “Linking Otley, near Leeds, home to our latest world champion Lizzie Armitstead with Doncaster where we pass through Harworth, just to the south, the home of Tom Simpson, our first world Champion.”

“One of the big changes from this year to last is the revolution in women’s cycling.”

 

 

Christian Prudhomme applauds 2015 Winner, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Team Sky.

Christian Prudhomme applauds 2015 Winner, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Team Sky.

Christian Prudhomme: “The passion that people from Yorkshire have for cycling is just unbelievable. Huge crowds we saw for the Tour de France! One year after, we thought impossible to have the same for the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire. But yes, huge crowds again.”

“The second edition of the Tour de Yorkshire is one step forward again. On Saturday we have women and men the same distance, the same media coverage. We don’t know today what Saturday will mean for the future of cycling.”   

Lars-Petter Nordhaug: “We hope to win. We are the biggest team here. We really want to make the race.”

Sir Gary Verity welcomes Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) to the Tour de Yorkshire.

Sir Gary Verity welcomes Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) to the Tour de Yorkshire.

Caleb Ewan: “I don’t really know how my form is now.” Coming out of a block of training. “I’ve not raced for six weeks.” Calab is hoping to improve towards the end of the race. Although the first stage is billed as a sprinters stage. “It’s not a straight forward sprint as I thought it would be”. Referring to the un-categorised climb on the Settle finish loop!

Dani King: Saturday’s Asda Women’s Race. “I’m really excited to ride here in Yorkshire, we did a reccy today and there were school kids on the side of the road screaming to cheer us.” “I feel proud that Britain is leading the way with the same media coverage.” “It’s amazing the step forward for women’s cycling and I think it’s only going to go further after this race.”

Lucy Garner: Billed also as a sprint finish for the women’s race. “It’s not flat! It’s definitely rolling. I think the weathers going to play a roll in the race, setting off early in the morning”.

 

 

 

Jersey sponsors unveiled for Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race

Aunt Bessie’s unveiled as sponsor of Queen of the Sprint jerseyimage001
Flybe and Doncaster Sheffield Airport unveiled as co-sponsors of the Team Classification jersey
Aunt Bessie’s has been announced as the sponsor of the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race. The two-year deal will see Aunt Bessie’s secure exclusive rights of the race’s coveted Queen of the Sprint jersey.

There are two sprints at Scholes and Warmsworth during the 135km stage between Otley and Doncaster.

This is Aunt Bessie’s first sponsorship of a professional cycling race which came about after the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 inspired a group of Aunt Bessie’s employees to cycle across the country for charity.

Aunt Bessie’s is part of 165-year-old family business, the William Jackson Food Group. They started making Yorkshire puddings for Butlin’s Holiday Camps in 1974 and has been based in Yorkshire ever since. Aunt Bessie’s has grown considerably and now offers a range of tasty food enjoyed by millions of people up and down the country every week.

Sprint Jersey

Lorraine Rothwell, Marketing Director for Aunt Bessie’s, said:
“At Aunt Bessie’s we’re proud of our Yorkshire roots and of the food that we make. We were avid supporters of the first Tour de Yorkshire and we’re really excited to be sponsoring the Women’s Sprint this year in what will no doubt prove to be another fantastic cycling event.”

Following the news that Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Flybe have become the official airport and airline partner for Welcome to Yorkshire and the unveiling of a cycling themed plane, flying between Yorkshire and European destinations, the airport and airline have teamed up to sponsor the Team Classification jersey.

This jersey will be awarded to the women’s team with the highest ranking total team finish and was selected by Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Flybe to symbolise the fantastic partnership between the two companies that has resulted in an extra 42 flights per week departing from the airport. The one year deal will see Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Flybe secure exclusive rights of the Team Classification jersey.

Best Team Jersey

Steve Gill, Managing Director of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said:

“We are excited to be sponsoring the Team Classification jersey for the Women’s Race in the Tour De Yorkshire along with Flybe.
“This will be a fantastic event for Yorkshire and we are delighted to be further strengthening our relationship with Welcome to Yorkshire to provide our support to this event.
“We are really pleased that through our new Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam routes with Flybe, we can offer international spectators an easy way to come to watch the race and then hopefully stay on for a longer break in Yorkshire.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire‎ said:

“We already know that the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race ‎is going to take professional women’s cycling in this country to another level and I am delighted to have signed up three more fantastic partners for the race.
“Aunt Bessie’s are a Yorkshire company that takes their community engagement extremely seriously and their new commitment to women’s cycling is an important part of that. The sprint classification will be decided over two challenging sprint sections and I’m sure Aunt Bessie’s will make their presence felt on that part of the race as they join the crowds to cheer on the riders.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to take our partnership with Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Flybe, which is already flying high, to the next level. Their commitment to the Team Classification means that we can showcase some of the superstars of tomorrow.”

Aunt Bessie’s and Doncaster Sheffield Airport/ Flybe will have a vehicle in the Tour de Yorkshire Caravan which will travel in between the women’s and men’s races on Saturday 30 April stopping in approximately six locations along the route, details of which will be announced shortly.

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