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The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, has spoken out in support of the French national anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) in the wake of the Landis hacking affair. On Wednesday, the head of the lab admitted that an administrative error was made in the numbering of Floyd Landis' positive B sample. This was made public after someone hacked into the lab computer and emailed certain documents to various sporting bodies and the media.
Pound told a teleconference that he had full confidence in the lab and its test results. "The code contemplates minor errors that don't affect the validity of analysis," Pound was quoted by Reuters as saying. "Ideally, you don't want there to be any kind of errors, administrative or otherwise that may get corrected in the process.
"For me, the big problem is the activities of hackers who entered into the system without permission, possibly against the law."
Meanwhile, the head of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD), Pierre Bordry, has accused Floyd Landis of not following normal procedure in his defence. "Landis prefers to organise press conferences to give his arguments," Bordry told Le Monde in an interview to be published on Thursday evening.
Bordry said that if Landis "shows that the laboratory has committed errors, in procedure or method, it would be good if that was reported officially and for those involved in the case to respond about the procedure and method."
Bordry also said that the error had to be examined in context to assess its consequences. "In any case, it seems that the test was carried out normally."
Paul Crake recovering after spine operation
Australian cyclist Paul Crake, 29, from Canberra, is recovering after undergoing surgery on Wednesday in New Zealand's Christchurch Hospital to stabilise spinal injuries he suffered in a crash during Saturday's stage of the Powernet Tour of Southland.
Crake was one of five cyclists blown off the road by a powerful gust of wind as they headed into the final two kilometres of the 79-kilometre eighth stage from Te Anau to Lumsden, north of Invercargill. Scans revealed he had sustained minor fractures of the C1 and C2 cervical vertebrae, a fracture of the T5 thoracic vertebrae and dislocations through to T7.
ACT Cycling Federation president Steve Blair has been with Crake since the accident and says the doctors were happy with the outcome of the surgery. "They didn't need to operate on his neck injuries as they are relatively minor fractures they believe will heal without their intervention, but they have placed a surgical rod and screws into his thoracic spine and grafted some bone from his hip into the spinal area to stabilise and realign his spine," said Blair.
"He is back in the intensive care unit recovering from the operation and it could be up to six weeks before he's able to be transferred from hospital to a spinal rehabiliation unit," said Blair.
Casper heads Down Under
French sprinter Jimmy Casper, 28, will race for the first time in the colours of the Unibet.com team when it makes its debut at the 2007 Tour Down Under in Adelaide. Casper, who has posted more than 20 victories in his professional career, won the first stage of this year's Tour de France, claiming the green jersey for a day before relinquishing it to eventual points winner Robbie McEwen.
Joining him in the Swedish-backed team's line-up is fellow Tour de France rider and another former Cofidis rider, Arnaud Coyot, who this year outsprinted Norwegian Thor Hushovd to win the Classic Haribo in France. The team represents a united nations of cycling, with riders from France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Holland, along with Sweden's Gustav Larsson, who this year rode the Tour and the Giro d'Italia for Franaise des Jeux.
"My understanding is Unibet.com will be granted a ProTour licence for 2007 so we're really pleased their first race with that status is with us," said TDU race director Mike Turtur. "It's always great to welcome a new team to the Tour Down Under and to welcome back riders of the talent of Casper, who raced here a few years ago when he was with the Franaise des Jeux team."
The Chocolade Jacques team have also confirmed their starting list for the Tour Down Under, and will be led by Glenn D'Hollander, 31, who placed 10th overall in this year's Tour Down Under. Also on the team is Belgian Steven Caethoven, 25, who this year claimed a stage of the Rheinland Pfalz Tour in Germany and last year won a stage of the Tour of Belgium.
O'Loughlin faces stars in Revolution pursuit
Irishman Dave O'Loughlin will be up against three top riders in the four-point pursuit at Revolution 14 on in Manchester on November 18. O'Loughlin recently broke the Irish individual pursuit record clocking a time of 4m29, but will face Bradley Wiggins, Bradley McGee and British National Pursuit Champion David Millar in a tough 2,000m contest in Manchester.
On the theme of pursuits, Revolution 14 will open with an Italian Pursuit. This race will see the seven visiting ProTour riders combining best British talent in a two-team duel. "Originally, we were going to run it as Great Britain verses the rest of the world," said technical director Gordon Harling, "But we thought this may be a bit unbalanced so we have mixed the teams up to make it more interesting."
The two teams of seven will start on opposite sides of Manchester Velodrome and cover seven laps of the 250m track. "The leading rider will swing off after each lap," explained Harling. "The teams will have to decide amongst themselves which order they will race in so there will be some tactical thinking required."
The first team will be made up of Wiggins, McGee, Simoni, Hammond, Adam Blythe, Matt Rowe and Peter Kennaugh with team two will including Millar, Casper, Popovych, O'Loughlin, Ian Stannard, John Bellis and Steven Burke.
"McGee and Wiggins are together, but their team has the younger Olympic Development ridersmwhereas team two includes the more experienced Academy riders," said Harling. "This makes it evenly matched so tactics will be crucial. It will be a very interesting race to watch."
The meet will also feature the second round of the DHL Future Stars series. The competition is delicately balanced at the moment, with Andy Fenn and Mark Christian jointly leading the boy's competition and only three points dividing the top two girls, Alex Greenfield and Helen Clayton.
"There is nothing in it between me and Mark despite the fact that I won a race," commented boys' join leader Andy Fenn. "It shows just how good the field is and it is clear that I need more than one victory to take the lead. There are two other riders only a few points behind as well so things will be pretty tense on Saturday night."
Girls' leader Alex Greenfield said, "I was very pleased about winning two races out of the three [in Revolution 13] because I made an early impression against my main rivals. The competition is very close so I will have to try and get a clean sweep at the next Revolution to keep hold of the lead.
"Helen Clayton and the other contenders are top class riders. They are going to be stiff competition at the next event but I intend beating them, as I am sure they intend beating me. So it will be interesting to see what happens."
More information: www.cyclingrevolution.com or by calling 07005 942 579. Advance tickets are on sale until Friday and there will be tickets available on the door.