Contador and Doping

Is incredible how interesting are some comments you find at the bottom of an article…

Cyclist Alberto Contador of Spain, is seen during the inauguration ceremony of the Criterium cycling race in Oviedo, Spain Saturday Oct. 30, 2010. Contador who is attending the race as a spectator, is provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for the banned drug clenbuterol and could lose his Tour de France title. (AP Photo/Paco Paredes).

I was reading recently the Contador saga on an Italian sport paper online and I was astonished to see how many people have incredible knowledge in doping matter, here a few samples…

“proprio una molecola che aumenta l’apporto di sangue ai muscoli, che aumenta la frequnza cardiaca e respiratori, che aumenta la produzione di glucosio e aumenta la demolizione di grassi per la produzione di energia doveva finire nel suo piatto il giorno prima della tappa decisiva del tour, davvero una coincidenza incredibile!”

said..” don’t you think is incredible that a small molecule responsible of improving blood supply to the muscle, responsible to raise heart frequency, to improve glucose production and breaking down fats and release energy would finish on Contador’s steak the day before on the most important stage of the Tour the France?”

and few more….(you use google translate, just to have an idea)

” Questa è la seconda volta che Contador viene coinvolto in inchieste riguardanti la medicina sportiva. La presto dimenticata “Operacion Porto”, un indagine (dalle ombre mai dissolte) in cui erano coinvolti atleti di “troppe” discipline quali: tennisti, calciatori, automobilisti ecc., alla voce ciclismo annotava ben 58 corridori sospetti di illecito tra cui il campione spagnolo”

“Su internet si dice che questo clenbuterolo ha un’emivita di 25-39 ore, ciò significa che occorre quel tempo affinché il corpo metabolizzi ed elimini metà della dose assunta; che effetti dopanti nelle urine si rintracciano dopo 2 – 4 giorni dalla somministrazione; che da uno studio su cavalli che ingerivano il clenbuterolo e si allenavano anche, è stato rilevato che la massa muscolare non aumentava fino alla sesta settimana…. Guarda che sfortuna, Contador, che ti hanno beccato proprio con questo farmaco… Forse è per questo che i test antidoping hanno fatto rizzare i capelli a chi di dovere per una così modica quantità ritrovata? Sempre più scettico sono… ”

“E’ risaputo che dopo dosi dopanti ci sono i cosidetti lavaggi, ricordiamoci Di Luca dopo la tappa dello Zoncolan al controllo antidoping risultò più pulito di un neonato. Peccato, ma io ho sempre avuto un dubbio, in 50 anni che seguo il ciclismo, di ogni categoria, non ho mai visto un corridore così leggero andare così forte a cronometro…”

And now on Riis team…what a timing?!?!?

Flavio Zappi vs Eddy Merckx???

This is the story of a very imbarrasing period of my cycling carrier.

During the first few stages at the Giro d’Italia 1981 (my first giro), the italian major sport newspaper called “La Gazzetta Dello Sport” dedicated a all page in the cycling section on …Flavio Zappi the new Eddy Merckx.

I was new pro that year and fresh winner of one stage at the Giro del Trentino were I also wear the leader jersey until last stage lost on time trial.

Also won at the same giro the team time trial stage…
Anyway one morning got up from bed in the hotel were we staying and get in the restaurant for breakfast before the stage were somebody showed me with my mix of pleasure and horror a all page of interviews from me and my director sportif at the time Dino Zangegu’ .

Former winner of the Tour of Flandres and great caracter Dino, was very famous on tv and with the italian pubblic for his great sprints and later after his carrier finished for his funny comments on tv.

Anyway, it looks like he was interviewed from a journalist at la gazzetta and during the interview he compared me with the great Eddy by saying phrases like ” when I see him riding he just remind me soo much of Eddy” and stuff like that.
Of course the result was the next few days at the giro a constant taking the xxxx by calling me Eddyyyy, hey Eddyyy, come here Eddy…
In particolar one person was really annoying…he was a prestigious domestique of team Bianchi and his name was Serge Parsani…

But I have forgive him after I saw him recently on a bday party riunion last year, and had a chance to know him better, he is a realy nice guy and at the time maybe just a little bit big headed…bless him!

This is now and is new position as a director sportiv with team Katiusha…

Flying bikes (and the roofrack)

It was november few years ago…actually it was 1983, just finish my first season at Metauro Mobili/Pinarello, and toghether with two good friends of mine decide to go near Venice to race on a cyclocross.

We had a really messi day,not only because we or I (not sure…) left the car keys inside the car and look the door, but most of all for a freak accident on the motorway Venice/Milan on the way back that night…

Vittorio Algeri

Antonio Bevilacqua

The cyclocross was a reason for us to make some cash off season, back in those day the contract was only for 10 months, so any opportunity to make some money and ride was very appreciated, anyway back to the story, we drove to the the event, we realized after the race we could not get our changing gears from the car, then we had a nightmare getting the money promised to us from the organizer (btw was 50.000 lira, aprox £18 on which we had to share the cost of petrol and motorway toll), and to finish a freak accident on the motorway….

Basically at one point during the journey we heard a big bang noise from the roof, we looked back and we saw our three bikes flying over the motorway still attached to the roofrack and landed in the middle of the central lane with car swirling around.

We reverse on the emergency lane and very quick recovery our bikes, still intact!!! after landing at 120km/hour!!!!, we dindt recover the rack…

This are my two frieds now, both Milram’s directour sportives…are’nt they soo seriuos now!

…hmmm btw Antonio was in charge on fixing the roofrack!

Il bandito e il campione (The bandit and the champion)

This is the title of a song, a very well know song in Italy. Sang by songwriter Francesco De Gregori he imbrace in this story the love for cycling in 1920s and the love for the hero/bandit who live is life as kind of Italian style Robin Hood.

Tear-jerking clips in theme with the tradition of Italian fiction, an interpreter of great effect as Beppe Fiorello, a story carried the memories of the old protagonist with the always excellent technique of flashback. “The legend of the bandit and the champion”, aired Monday and Tuesday on Raiuno directed by Lodovico Gasparini, from the novel by Marco Ventura, is undoubtedly a good product for television where all the leitmotif of the friendship between two boys and then divided by life holds until the end. On the one hand constant Girardengo (Simone Gandolfo) to become the first “Campionissimo” of Italian cycling, on the other Pollastri Sante (the aforementioned Beppe Fiorello) that promise of cycling instead becomes one of the most famous band of the ’20s, with a band capable of bold strokes between Italy and France, wanted by police in both countries. The drama is enriched by the love story of Sante and the Beautiful Apple (Raffaella Rea), loved in his youth also constant, a factor that threatens to undermine the friendship between the bandit and the sample. Some historical event actually happened but then a lot of imagination.

Beppe Fiorello and Simone Gandolfo in the fiction of Raiuno
The rest of this story, taken a few years ago by Francesco De Gregori in his beautiful ballad “The Bandit and the sample is always surrounded by myth and reality. On the true story of Sante Pollastri few examples remain today, the record fascist era intended to explain to citizens the perfect face of an Italy gives little space to the criminal deeds of the bandit in his parable of the bicycle and over the years has collected many fragments, some authentic and others probably legendary, as the title says just fiction.

That the two childhood friends who at some point take different paths is almost certainly a fantasy, a poetic touch to the real story. Both were born in Novi Ligure, in 1893 and Sante Girardengo six years later, it is still a teenager in 1913 when the first part in her first Tour of Italy. In any case, if not best friends but at least acquaintances, and neighbors with a mutual friend, the trainer Biagio Cavanna, one of the most fascinating in the history of Italian cycling, the blind masseur which is enough to recognize a palpated muscles and tendons champion. At his skilled hands after Girardengo will in fact be given the greatest of all time, Fausto Coppi.

Constant Girardengo
The incident that perhaps helped create the legend has really happened in Paris in 1926, the city where he had fled from Sante Pollastri time. In the midst of a spell in Italy, when during a firefight near the French border the death of one of the lieutenants of the bandit Novi was mistaken for death of the same Pollastri. The recovered body was disfigured beyond recognition and therefore, the Italian newspapers gave the news of the death of Sante Poultry episode reported inter alia in the fiction of Raiuno.

Pollastro was instead returned to the French capital where among other things on that day was also Girardengo for the dispute of “six days” on the road.

Amid all the races, Biagio Cavanna sitting on the track of Sante recognized the whistle, a whistle was particularly known as Novi Ligure “cifulò. Novi only one to be recognized by a fellow countryman in a foreign land would have run to perfection and Cavanna did not take long to figure out who was the Novi area of Paris. The master of cycling and his former student then met again in France and shortly after the same Girardengo Cavanna and met the bandit. Sante made an appointment to the two neighbors in Novi, but never arrived there. It was in fact arrested again in Paris in 1927 by men of the Commissioner Guillaume, betrayed by an informer tipped off the police. Following constant Girardengo was called to testify at the trial of Pollastri where there was talk of that famous encounter took place during the “Six Days.”

Sante Pollastri
He was sentenced to life imprisonment but was pardoned in 1959 by then President Giovanni Gronchi. He spent the last twenty years of his life in Novi Ligure, where he was the business of street vendor, where he died in 1979, a year after the disappearance of Girardengo.

“It was old suffered an injustice or poverty, to make the boy a fierce bandit, De Gregori sings in its composition. Sante Pollastri has taken on because his criminal career have been floated several versions. Among these, to justify the hatred of the young bandit against police there is the killing of a relative on their part or that of a brother taken to present the call to arms, although seriously ill and died at the barracks. Another story, taken from the key rather than imaginative fiction and romance with other side dishes, about Sante’s sister, Carmelina, who was raped by a military weapon. Sante, then 19 years old, killed the policeman and then you would be given to the bush. In the television miniseries was Carmela’s future instead of the bandit lover, usurer raped the country and then ran away and found to be constant in a luxury brothel in Turin. None of this hypothesis is still supported by documentation and are mostly born of legends around the figure of Sante Pollastri the war. Famous in France in fact, was almost unknown in Italy, except in the north where his criminal exploits were prominently. The complaint that severely limit the fascist crime. In fact Sante Pollastri embodied the figure of the rebel authority in a time when it was formalizing an authoritarian turn and the move from democracy to fascism. In this sense became a heroic figure for the world and the nascent anarchist anti-fascist movements.

Racing on the beach?!?! Well…

It was 1972 when for the first time I’ve got in touch with cycling wa s with Felice Gimondi…

little a knew at the time I would live in one of his houses when I raced in 1983/4 for Metauro mobili/Pinarello as pro rider…anyway back to 1972, usual seaside resort were my family used to spend summer holiday, Cervia no far from Cesenatico (Pantani’s home land)…

like all kid my age play on the beach and building….the PISTA (racecourse)…

well this photo as adult playing?!??! but the “Pista” was something realy special and we use to spend hours making the most attractive and fast with perfect “parabole” (high corners) were the ball would stay in the course and get as far possible.
So the rules are very simple 4/5 kids as a plastic ball with a figurine inside and you got to complete the “pista” and win! you can only flick once a time in turn and if you flick to fast and goes out of the couse the next flick start from the previuos position.
The palline were personal and at the time “ciclisti” were the most appropriate and I had …GIMONDI!
Here some example…

anyway if want to play in Bognor Regis here some trick ideas…but dont forget two major things are required:
1) Sunshine
2) Golden sand
…happy play!

Bistecca e riso in bianco (Beef steaks and boiled rice)

Six am on sunday race day still dark in early season races, still sleepy for early wake up, you mite ok to have your usual capuccino and “cornetto” (croissant) but last thing you want do is to eat…
freshly grated parmesan on the rice though…

…well that was me back in 1975, I was 15/16 then (Allievo) and we were told to eat 3 hours before the race, usually at 9am.
The race would be between 60 to 80 km and at the time was consider to be very important to eat MEAT at the day of the race, little we knew that was actually not the best for the race as meat would be in my tommy for over 5 hours…yes when the race was finish.

Th other good thing about it was that everybody was doing the same error, therefore all even, still the strongest (in the stomach too) would win the race.


Progetto casa ciclismo

Since coming back to cycling in 2008 I’ve gradually change my plan from just racing to coach…and now I’ve this idea to create an academy style team.

Back in 1979 I was part of a team called Lema mobili based near Bergamo north Italy, and the team was very famous to be the only one were rider were living in a house toghether for a season.

“La squadra” was very well organized and 10 out 12 got professianal contract within 1979 and 1981, 4 of us were racing with “azzurri” nat team.

More team followed the “Lema” style over the years, but our direttore sportivo Domenico Garbelli was something special, was living, train, dine and get to the races with us.
Was our surrogate father…very strict father.
Every morning he will check our weight and blood pressure and after breakfast follow us with the team car or the scooter.
Very ofter we would have a second training in the afternoon (just after a power nap), then dinner a bit of tv and then bed time…always at 9pm!
More to follow…..


Three photos same bike the great “Bianchi”, so much history from Faust Coppi to Felice Gimondi.
When I turn pro in 1981 the “Bianchi” team was the best team, they had champions as Silvano Contini, Tommy Prim…and when today I saw the photo with Riccardo Ricco’ I felt something was wrong…

I know Felice Gimondi I lived (and payed rent) in one of his houses during my two season at Metauro Mobili- Pinarello 1983-4 and He is the class and serious athlete in one great rider winning Tour and Giro, with only one problem…racing at the same time with Eddy Merckx.

So why now that is one of the managers at “Bianchi” have to pose with the greatest “CHEAT” of modern days? why toghether? Sorry but riders who rides Bianchi they are a different level.



What best bike to buy?

End of the cycling season and is now the time to start planning for next season, training planning, training camps, performance goals and equipment.

Which bike?

At the shop?


Ex team?

Any of this option as long is your correct size.

The basic points are:

1)Frame material ( steel, aluminium, titanium, carbon or …bamboo)

Steel, titanium and …bamboo are soft to ride therefore more appropriate for older people or  if you are planning to do long and easy rides to enjoy the panorama without worrying if your partner is stronger then you, and the choice of material is based on price (titanium),environmental (bamboo) or just nostalgia(steel).

If you want to do competition and in general a more aggressive approach to riding a bike aluminium and carbon is the answer. Stiffer and more responsive out the corners, and the price will raise from aluminium, aluminium with carbon forks or full carbon.

2)Group set (Campagnolo, Shimano, Sram, Fsa, etc)

Campagnolo if you are nostalgic and romantic, Shimano if you dont care, Sram if you want to save 27.86 grams and pay lots more for it, Fsa…the group set is not ready yet but some part are good. In general the level is very high and in any of this company you can choose sub level of quality according to the price.

If you buy at the shop

The advantages are that you see and touch the one you like choose colour and size, warranty, help on any problems but could be high in price.

If you buy on the internet

Price is one of the good reason, but also the opportunity to find a deal based on casual events, but you need to be an expert and you need a bit of luck

Ex team

Great opportunity of purchasing on a very low price a fantastic quality bike especially if is from a pro-team. Vital to know the team mechanic that will guarantee the bike, but general ly these bikes are regularly checked and parts very often changed to make sure riders are riding top level bikes at all times.

Tour de France prediction…


Astana rider and leader’s yellow jersey Alberto Contador of Spain (C), Saxo Bank rider and white jersey for best youngster Andy Schleck of Luxembourg (L) and Astana rider Lance Armstrong of the U.S. celebrate on the podium after the final 21st stage of the 96th Tour de France cycling race between Montereau-Fault-Yonne and Paris July 26, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel (FRANCE SPORT CYCLING)

Final Classification: 1)Contador



4) Wiggins

5) Frank Shleck

Final stage report: Cavendish winner with one leg.

Mark Cavendish of Britain, center, strains as crosses the finish line to win his 6th stage victory during the 21st stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 164 kilometers (101.9 miles) with start in Montereau-Fault-Yonne and finish in Paris, France, Sunday July 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

Final stage Champs Elisee Paris: just a proforma, Cavendish should win with one leg.

Stage 20 Results: The most boring result ever on TDF, well done to Garate, but where are those apical confrontation we used to see at this kind of stages? And what is Andy looking back every 2 seconds? if is worried about is  brother Frank why not racing in a tandem? Sorry maybe I’m in a bad mood because of  Di Luca positive at the Giro, but I ‘m used to see Merckx, Hinault, Fuente, Fignon, Lemond challenged by great climbers from Spain or Colombia and yellow jersey chasing between climbs without any “domestiques” to defend there leadership. My verdict for this stage as for all the TDF is negative.

Stage 20 The final verdict! Ventoux 18km of pain averaging 10% my friend ex pro Andrea Chiurato went last week and rode up and he took him 1hour and 15minutes and he said before you get to the “pelata” no tree area on the top the climb kills you with long strait in the middle of the woods. Anyway i cant see anybody to challenge Alberto Contador other then Andy Shleck , maybe the battle for 3/4/5 position will get 1/2position  involved too, let see.

Stage 19 Cav  again and Hush second boring.

Stage 19 Easy start of the stage 19 but with a sting in the final part with 2cat climb and the finish at the end of the descent. So will we see courageous riders attacking Alberto or Lance? Will be a long break away to win the stage and among the protagonists Nibali will attack in descend?

Stage 18 Results: Contador amazing performance beating Cancellara increasing his leadership on GC.

Stage 18 Annency 40km tt Prediction: Wiggins, Contador, Armstrong and Cancellara. This is not a normal tt, and a the end of TDF is more what you left in your legs then be a specialist, nothing specials should happen to the GC, lets wait for Mont Ventoux Shleck last chance.


Stage 17 Results: the queen of the TDF did the show  that everybody were waiting for…1 question: Is Contador really smart or really stupid? why killing your team mate at 2/3k to the end of climb? what if he punched and what about stage winning for Kloden (dropped by Alberto) after working for him so much? Anyway deserved win by Frank Shleck (and bro).

Stage17 the big day at TDF 2009 with 5 climb 4 of 1stcat and 1 of 2nd cat, after today dig from Andy Shleck, I’m expecting fire works tomorrow, they start on climbing and if anybody wants to win as to attack tomorrow to try to isolate Contador, so Andy, Carlos and Bradley … your stage!

Stage 16 Results: Was Pellizzotti day ..a bit, actually big day for the “maillot a pois” passing at both climbs top position and now securing leadership for the climb classification. The spaniard Astarloza meriting to win the stage for his determination and wiliness.

Stage 16 Prediction: Well… two very  long and not very steep climbs and after the last one 30km of descend, I don’t think will be a mayor situation between the leaders because the day after (Wednesday) there will be one of the harder stage with 5 climbs and the last (la Colombiere) at 15km, great opportunity for anybody to challenge for the yellow jersey. Is tomorrow Pellizzzotti’s day?

Monday 20 July 2009 2nd rest day at the TDF

Stage 15 Results: Contador “el matador” perfect attack maximised energy for time gain almost a computer game! Andy no far so was Sastre and incredible Wiggins, Lance did suffer the speed obviously because his age and characteristics, should be better for him longer and harder stages with more then one climbs, so plenty of opportunity til the end of the race.

Stage 15 Prediction: Verbier up hill finish 1cat in “Suisse” should be Andy Shleck , one of my favourite, but I don’t think there will be much distance between the top guns because up to the last climb the race is pretty easy, very interesting to see if Sastre is coming out from “letargo”.

Stage 14 Great break away! , and beautiful 10k solo by Ivanov. Did anybody notice how many enemies George Hincapie had in the peloton? Garmin, Agr (obviously) etc, something make me think that be friend with Lance is not lucky.

Stage 14 prediction: Rolling hill stage again 2 3cat hills break away as Sunday will be up hill finish on 1cat col de Verbier, there the big contenders will save energies.

Stage 13 Fantastic ride by Haussler, but I’m getting worried by the lack of attacking between the GC contender (i.e. Evans, sastre, Sleck and Wiggins), I hope they not going to wait loo late.

Stage 13 Prediction:  time for the big name to show there faces (or legs) and with 3 climb 1cat, 3cat,2 cat in 50 km a strong attack can be very important. Andy Shleck and Contador is time for you (with Sastre maybe)!

Stage 12 I’m so please to see that the team trains can be beaten by a strong break away riders! well done Sorensen and ….be careful give easy minutes to Pellizzotti.

Stage 12 Prediction Nervous stage again with many little climbs and rolling hills, this one should be the one for a long break away because the next day stage 13 we are going back to the mountains, therefore the big team are saving energies for late stages.

Stage 11 Great sprint again for Mark and is poker at this Tour de France and is not over considering the poor strategies of the other team, leaving the stage on plate for a man like Mark and is team. By the way why is Cancellara doing a “domestique” role today? Is probably the best “finisseur in the wordl and is taking 20 bottle of water for the team and is taking A. Sleck out of the wind in the last 30k?

Stage 11 Another intermediate stage for the main GC rider, I’m guessing now a stage with break away.

Stage 10 Cavendish tris winner at the tour with a little disrespect to the opponent when after the finish line he polish is green glasses?!  Main issue of the race was the radio less story which create a bit of antagonism and the race race went on easy pace for most of the day, great for the show!!

Stage 10 Bastille day 14 july let me guess…..a french ryder will win. By th way no radios today what do you think? I like it.

Stage 9 Long break away with Fedrigo out sprinting Pellizzotti who lost but gain lots of point for the mountain jersey competition.

Stage 9 Prediction: Saint-Gaudens  Tarbes 160.5 km with Col D’Aspin and Tourmalet in succession and at the bottom of the Tourmalet 40km to the finish. Contador, Andy Shleck and Sastre should be on the attack, 40k to the end is a lot especially if is going to be head wind. In any case Lance will be in the best position leaving Evans and the Garmin chasing…

New prediction for GC:

1) Contador  40%

2) Andy Shleck 30%

3) Sastre 15%

4) Armtrong 10%

5) Wiggins 2.5%/Menchov2.5%

Stage 8 Prediction ok Luis Leon Sanchez former National TT of Spain winner today, no major changes on GC.

Stage 8 Prediction : 1cat climb in the middle of the stage to far away to create any important action. I’m guessing will be a 40/50 people with the chance a last few km solo action from one of those tt specialists free to race for a day.

Stage 7 Prediction :Barcellona-Andorra 224km finish on steep climb is the day for Alberto Contador? The most interesting thing tomorrow will be to see if Cancellara dieting as made an effect on steep climbing. Riis( Cancellara DS) did the same in the 90s winning the TDF, loosing 7kg and keeping the power.

Stage 7 Winner  was Feillu younger brother of the french sprinter with a long break away of 8 riders including Nocentini who got yellow jersey as result.

Very interesting dig of Contador at the last 2km gaining 30sec to the main GC conterders (inc Armstrong).

Stage 6 Gerona-Barcellona very nervous course no 1 metre of flat again with side wind, will for sure provide show for us. I predict again break away if not the winner will be one of those who are usually strong on 1 day events like Kirchen or Ballan.

Stage 6 Winner Thor Hushvodt, great timing in a sprint of a small peloton.

Stage 5 Le Cap d’Agde-Perpignan

Stage5 Winner Voeckler solo.

Stage 5 Prediction is: 2 4cat climbs followed by 30k of side wind, it could create more echelon, small group away, Liquigas or outsider in it.

Stage 4 Marseille-Marseille Team Time Trial

Astana as predicted is winning stage4, followed by Garmin and Saxobank

Leader GC after stage4 Cancellara by.22 of a second to Armstrong

Flavio’s comment:

Average speed was just over 50km/h, I think with those narrow roads and many corners a more short and compact team would made a faster time, you would not have the “elastic” effect and therefore sharper response to the speed and more cover on the side-wind sections. At the Giro 1981 we did over 51km/h using the chain-gang style, ok the stage was shorter but, 80% of the rider were new pro, there were no world champions and……. we rode with steel road bikes.

Stage 3 Marseilles-La Grande Motte

Mark again as predicted by every one.  Free advert for HTC phone !!

GC prediction no change.

Leader GC after stage 3 Cancellara

TTT prediction for tomorrow:

1) Astana

2) Garmin

3) Columbia

Stage 2 Monaco-Brignoles 187k (flat)

Cavendish winner of stage 2, like Cancellara impressive power (explosive)

Leader GC after stage 2 Cancellara

Prediction for GC:

1) Contador  40%

2) Andy Shleck 30%

3) Sastre 15%

4) Armtrong 10%

5) Cancellara 5%

Stage1 Monaco-Monaco 15k tt

Cancellara winner of stage 1, impressing power like superman!

Leader GC after stage 1 Cancellara

Prediction for GC:

1) Contador  40%

2) Andy Sleck 30%

3) Sastre 15%

4) Armtrong 10%

5) Cancellara 5%