Hasn’t Phillipe Gaumont caused enough trouble? The French vet’s cycling career ended in disgrace last spring, when he was arrested in connection with a drug trafficking ring. The incedent led to a month-long suspsension/investigation of the Cofidis team (in which nothing was found) that kept riders like Stuart O’Grady out of the Spring Classics, and might even be the reason 2003 World Champ Igor Astarloa is currently not riding for a ProTour team. Now, Gaumont has published a book about his experiences entitled, with typical Francophone flare, Prisonnier de Dopage. The book alleges that just about anyone who had ever ridden a bike within a 2 meter radius of Gaumont was on dope, and further claims that some riders used Pot Belge and other common performance enhancers to simply get high. Taking a cue from Lance Amrstrong, a few former teammates have decided to sue Gaumont. As Jo Planckaert, one of the riders named in Prisonnier, puts it:
“Gaumont is a clown. Together with a few other guys, we’ll take him to court. It’s serious slander, yes, but I know it comes from an unstable fool. Gaumont was always stoned. He took 15 sleeping tablets and walked like a zombie through the hotel.”
Far less dramatically, Danilo Hondo was banned from racing (drugs) for a year, with several years probation to follow. No word on any appeals, though his lawyer seemed suprisingly upbeat that the Swiss Cycling Federation had not thrown the book at the German fast man. Less reserved reactions were to be had from (surprise, surprise) Gilberto Simoni, who had dumped bucketloads of vitrol onto his teammates in the Italian press (Cunego in particular) for letting him down at the Giro. Well, Gibo, looks like that won’t be a problem next year, as Lampre announced today that it would not extend your contract past the 2005 season. However, you can expect to see Damiano Cunego in the Purple and Blue through at least 2008.
In actual racing news, Canada proved once again that it was better than the USA, as Canuck champ Gord Frasier blew past American Champ “fast” Freddie Rodriguez to the the Trenton edition of Wacovia, marking HealthNet’s second victory of the week. Though the race ended in a group gallop, Bobby Julich put on a nice show, thrilling crowd with long break to “blow out the pipes” in preparation for Sunday’s National Championship event. Will Bobby J be rocking the Stars and Stripes in France this July? Let’s just say it would be nice, for a change, to see the US Champ kit in a race that actually mattered.