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It’s the month of July and in the world of professional cycling that can mean only one thing, it’s time for the Tour de France! The drama and excitement of pre-Tour week started with a bang, as Tour organizer ASO has formally attempted to block four-time Tour champion Chris Froome from participating in the race. Furthermore, former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman spoke publicly for the first time on the “jiffy bag” affair.
Quote of the day
“Wait, what? Dutch champion” — Cyclocross superstar Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) surprisingly captured the Dutch national road race championship on Sunday.
Story of the Day: Team Sky and ASO set to battle this week
ASO and Team Sky are set to battle in the courtroom this week after the Tour organisers moved to prevent Chris Froome from participating in the Grande Boucle. Team Sky has appealed the decision to the National Olympic Committee of French Sport (CNOSF) and a hearing is set for July 3. A ruling is expected the next day, but if ASO or Team Sky appeal CNOSF’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), it is unknown if sport’s highest court would make a ruling before the start of the Tour on July 7.
First reported by French newspaper Le Monde, ASO is citing article 28 of its rules as justification for stopping Froome from starting the Tour. Article 28 states, in accordance with the UCI’s own rules, that the organiser ‘expressly reserves the right to refuse participation in – or to exclude from – the event, a team or any of its members whose presence would be such as to damage the image or reputation of ASO or the event.’
The sudden move by ASO to block Froome from the Tour comes as a bit of surprise. Just a month ago, race director Christian Prudhomme told Australian broadcaster SBS the decision was up to the UCI. It appears Prudhomme grew restless and decided to move forward to try to prevent Froome from starting the Grande Boucle.
ASO has tried to bar riders from the Tour de France before, most recently in 2009. Tom Boonen tested positive for cocaine prior to the 2009 Tour and ASO tried to formally stop the Belgian from participating. Boonen and his Quick-Step team challenged the race organisation with the French Olympic Committee. The committee ruled in favour of Boonen and the team.
Former Team Sky doctor ends silence on ‘jiffy bag’
Dr Richard Freeman, the infamous former Team Sky doctor behind Bradley Wiggins ‘jiffy bag’ delivery, spoke publicly for the first time over the weekend.
Speaking to BBC, Dr. Freeman said, “I was administering fluimucil to Bradley throughout the Dauphine and then I administered it again when we got to the training camp in Sestriere. I did not administer anything to him on the bus at the Dauphine after the race.”
In September 2016, the Daily Mail first reported about the ‘jiffy bag’ delivery to Team Sky in June 2011. This mystery package created a media firestorm when Team Sky couldn’t definitively confirm what the package contained and the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee of the British Parliament eventually launched an investigation. The ‘jiffy bag’ scandal emerged on the heels of it being revealed that Wiggins had received therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone prior to three different grand tours.
Dr Freeman provided few new details on the controversy, but did show BBC evidence that his laptop was indeed stolen while he was on vacation. Dr Freeman was Team Sky’s doctor at the time and the squad’s medical records were held on the laptop. He had not backed up the records anywhere else, therefore, Team Sky were unable to confirm what the package contained.
Interestingly, Dr Freeman did admit he would act differently now with regards to applying for and administering TUEs. “Now, I would also advise him there’s a reputational risk here,” Freeman said of how what he would talk to Wiggins about taking a TUE.
Spanish cyclist goes to court over maternity rights
Spanish track cyclist Leire Olaberría, winner of the bronze medal in the Women’s points race at the 2008 Summer Olympics, has filed a complaint to Spain’s National Sports Council, as well as an ethics complaint to the UCI, over her maternity rights. The centre of Olaberría’s complaint deals with what she believes to be discriminatory treatment by the Spanish national cycling federation (RFEC).
Olaberría believes the federation violated her rights under Spain’s Equal Rights Law, which specific provisions for the rights of women in sport. These provisions include maternity rights. Olaberría was invited to a national track training camp, but was forced to pay for all costs relating to her baby. These costs included travel for her partner or nanny to attend the camp to help care for the baby. At the training camp, she was selected for the European championships. Olaberría was forced to decline her spot on the team because she did not have enough money to cover the costs of her baby to attend the race in Berlin.
National road championships round-up part two
A multitude of national road championship races were held over the weekend. Quick-Step Floors dominated on the men’s side and Boels-Dolmans had a winning weekend in the women’s peloton. Both of those squads took home three national road race championships.
Notable elite men national championships
Austria: Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Denmark: Michael Mørkøv (Quick-Step Floors)
France: Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ)
Germany: Pascal Achermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Great Britain: Connor Swift (Madison Genesis)
Ireland: Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport)
Italy: Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)
Latvia: Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy)
Luxembourg: Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)
Netherlands: Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus)
Switzerland: Steve Morabito (Groupama-FDJ)
Notable elite women national championships
Austria: Sarah Rijkes (Experza-Footlogix)
Denmark: Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans)
France: Aude Biannic (Movistar)
Germany: Liane Lippert (Sunweb)
Great Britain: Jessica Roberts (Team Breeze)
Ireland: Eve McCrystal
Italy: Marta Cavalli (Valcar PBM)
Latvia: Lija Laizane (Aromitalia Vaiano)
Luxembourg: Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)
Netherlands: Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans)
Switzerland: Jolanda Neff
Happy Birthday to …
Tom-Jelte Slagter (29), the Dutchman debuted on the WorldTour circuit in 2012 and has bounced around a few teams since then. He turned pro with Rabobank after riding for the team’s UCI Continental development squad. He captured his first pro victories at the 2013 Tour Down Under where he won the third stage and took home the overall title. Slagter moved to Jonathan Vaughters’ Slipstream Sports program for the 2014 seaon and after a four-year stint there, he signed with Dimension Data for 2018. Slagter will start his third Tour de France on July 7.