In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.
IOC to strip Hamilton of Athens gold — Associated Press
The AP reported on Thursday that the International Olympic Committee would strip Tyler Hamilton of his 2004 Olympic time trial gold medal following his admission of doping, according to an Olympic official.
The standings will be readjusted after Hamilton’s removal, with Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov gaining gold, American Bobby Julich silver and Australian Michael Rogers moving into the bronze medal slot.
The IOC’s eight-year statute of limitations runs out at the end of August, adding urgency to the proceedings. Hamilton admitted to doping, and implicated former teammate Lance Armstrong, on CBS’ “60 Minutes” news program last year. He said at the time that he would return his medal to the IOC.
Absalon ready for Games following tumble at Val d’Isere — L’Equipe
French mountain bike legend Julien Absalon feels he has suffered no ill effects from a bad crash at the final World Cup of the season in Val d’Isère, France, at the end of July, and is looking forward to the Olympic cross-country race on August 14.
“I had some pain during the three days following Val d’Isere,” he said. “I’m working with my physiotherapist and my osteopath. They handled me with aplomb.
“I continued to prepare as planned and I won the last preparation race in Belgium last Saturday,” he added. “It’s always good for morale. Since I got here, I have no worries. I have no pain at all. It was a small scratch.”
Absalon comes into the London Games as the defending Olympic champion from both 2004 and 2008, and winner of two World Cup XC events already this year. But his challengers, including Nino Schurter from Switzerland, Marco Fontana from Italy, and Jose Hermida of Spain, among others, will be looking to derail a defense.
“Physically, I feel that there is still a bit of time,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday. “This is not the time to be on top. We have two workouts on the track. Tomorrow (Thursday), I will rest. Friday and Saturday, I will return (to the race course). There are still a few points to work on the course and I’ll refine the condition to be on top Sunday.”
Should doping be allowed in sport? — The New York Times
In an installment of its “Room for Debate” series, The New York Times asks a panel of experts to weigh in on whether doping should be allowed in sport. Don Catlin, former director of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab, Oxford philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu, and ring-side boxing physician Dr. Margeret Goodman of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association are among the panelists.
Bad news concealed from Olympic athletes — Gazet van Antwerpen
Coaches and national federations have a vested interest in maintaining calm within their athletes. Bad news — the death of a relative, or an illness — can throw a finely-tuned athlete off his or her game, and put a damper on years of hard work.
The coaches and parents of Belgian track cyclist Jolien D’Hoore waited until Tuesday, after her omnium track event wrapped up, to tell her that her grandfather had died on Saturday. The news was withheld, on D’Hoore’s request, in the fear that it would negatively impact her performance.
“I heard it was only after my race,” D’Hoore said of her own loss. “He suffered from cancer and I knew it was not going well with him. I already feared that would happen during the Games and therefore had specifically asked my family to not tell me before my events.”
China’s Wu Minxia is a more extreme example of sheltered Olympic athletes. After three gold medals, the Chinese synchronized diver found out that her grandparents had died a year ago, and that her mother has had breast cancer for eight years. Ten years ago, Wu was sent to an intensive training camp and has had little contact with her family.
According to a Chinese newspaper, she called her parents after the death of her grandmother and her father said that everything was in order. “A white lie,” he said of the conversation later.