Thursday, February 23, 2006
90 Skaters Online
Swiss Inline Cup #4
   World Inline Cup Grand Prix #6 Zurich, SWI
   Sunday, June 22, 2003

Salomon Men Take Top 4 Spots in Zurich Amid Accusations of Cheating

Verducci's Jessica Smith Takes Womens Victory

Speed Men (35 km):

  1. Briand Pascal, Saab Salomon World Team 49.43,48
  2. Presti Massimiliano, Saab Salomon World Team 49.43,49
  3. Cardin Franck, Saab Salomon World Team 49.43,61
  4. Betancur Juan Carlos, Saab Salomon World Team 49.43,62 
  5. Galliazzo Stefano, Mariani Maple 49.43,98
  6. Gicquel Arnaud, Helvetia Patria Rollerblade 49.44,04
  7. Lannezval Mikael, Doby Model Spirit 49.44,14
  8. Botero Jorge, Rollerblade World Team 49.44,20
  9. Escobar Martin, Roces International Team 49.44,26
  10. Romani Pier Davide, Saab Salomon World Team 49.44,26
Speed Women (35 km):
  1. Smith Jessica, Verducci International 58.21,73
  2. Baena Cecilia, Hyper Race Team 58.21,81
  3. Susmeli Alessandra I-L'Aquila 58.22,53
  4. Vaudan Angle, Rollerblade World Team 58.22,82
  5. Nino Silvia, Rollerblade World Team 58.22,88
  6. Lombardo Laura, Roces International Team 58.23,18
  7. Barbotin Nathalie, Saab Salomon World Team 58.23,19
  8. Gonzales Andrea Noemi, Roces International Team 58.23,20
  9. Samir Shizlane, Doby Model Horny 58.23,57
  10. Horgan Ashley, Rollerblade World Team 58.23,58

For Full Results See:

Taking the top four spots is quite an achievement, but this feat at Zurich is surrounded in controversy.  Read this post from the Hyper Forum:

"At the recent Zurich Grand Prix, World Inline Cup team Salomon is caught on video camera cheating. Again.

How are they cheating? It is like this; in the final long sprint for the finish line the team forms up in a train, one behind the other, the last skater pushes the skater in front of him who in turn pushes the skater in front of him and so on to the front skater. This is now called the train push. The front skater who instead of reaching his top speed of e.g. 50km/hr is now able to reach a speed of say 55km/hr, so is able to go faster and last longer then he would without the pushes from behind. This enables them to use up fewer skaters in the lead out and blow away challenging teams who are unable to match the faster top end speed. They use all their lead out skaters and then the leader is left to sprint against 4 or more Salomon sprinters still remaining.

At the beginning of last years competition Salomon debuted their innovative 5 x 84mm frames and wheels giving them an edge over their rivals. They succecceded in keeping this a secret for approximately 3months and garnered many successes during this time. Once the other teams equipped themselves with similar gear the successes slowed to a crawl. The previous successes must have put pressure on them to keep taking the podium spots, because it was at this time they began to use the full team, train push, especially in the final drag race to the finish line.

Other teams and skaters were aware of this from halfway through last season and asked officials to act on the cheating. Nothing was done, as the officials could not see what was going on. At the end of last year a decision was made to have a video camera situated high up to cover the finish straight, and where possible, the escort bike would also carry a camera.

In the first Grand Prix race of this season, in Seoul Korea, the Salomon team was caught clearly on camera train pushing. The jury wanted them disqualified but officials argued that the rules were not clear enough to disqualify a whole team. This is rubbish however as it is quite clear that if you receive assistance from a teammate you will be disqualified. The result was that nothing would be done in this instance but a new rule would be promulgated that spelt it out clearly that any team that used these types of actions to assist their teammates would result in the entire team being disqualified.

Zurich Grand Prix and the same thing, Team Salomon caught on camera yet again cheating, train pushing in the final sprint for the line. The calls for disqualification went right to the top. Conni Altherr Head of the WIC had to make a decision but he wanted time to consider the ramifications. Not a good sign. Sure enough he not only did not do anything but he wanted it kept quiet so that the image of the sport was not damaged. Mr. Altherr, that is a cop-out and you have allowed commercial and financial considerations to over-ride the good intentions of honest people in this situation. This is the sad case of a big time team and big budgets getting away with cheating.

Rival teams and skaters are reluctant to publicly complain because of the sour grapes or bad losers tags that would be thrown at them by people who think nothing of standing on the Podium taking the plaudits, knowing full well that they achieved their results by cheating.

Mr. Conni Altherr, skaters racing fairly and honestly were relying on you to bring these cheats into line so everyone has a fair opportunity to win. You have failed them badly. You have the evidence in front of you, you have the rules in place, act on it, put aside the financial and commercial considerations and think of the rights and obligations you have to all the other skaters competing in the World Inline Cup series. "

From the Rollerblade World Team website:

Inline speed skating, fairness and integrity!

The sport of inline speed skating has grown very fast in the last decade. The technology, the speed and the worldwide reconnaissance are the most important evolutions of this growing. For about five years now, a professional circuit has appeared. The professional skaters are the first actors of the development of inline speed skating. They also guarantee the better conduction of their sport during the international competitions they skate all the season through. Professional athletes wanted to come back upon some values which have to be defended in the sport of inline speed skating.

As professionals, skating is a big part of our lives. We are on the cutting edge of this growing sport, where we are practically the first skaters who can say they are truly professionals. By becoming part of a movement towards fairness and integrity, we can make sure our sport goes the direction that we want. So we can showcase inline speed skating to the entire world to make them see the beauty of our sport, conducted fairly and with honesty and integrity.

As the first real group of professional skaters, we are the important players at this time. With this recognition and importance, we have a great responsibility. The responsibility to make sure there are no cheaters in the territory of the sport that we love.

Gentlemen and sportsmen determine the rules by which games are played; and they have determined the rules by which we compete. To be the best ambassadors for our sport, we must constantly endeavor to set an example for the world to see. That example is to demonstrate the respect that we must have for each other, as well as the respect we must have for our sport. We must remember that if we dont respect each other and our sport, we have no right to expect that anyone else respects us as athletes, or our sport.

One of the first rules we all must remember is that professionals must respect each other and their right to compete fairly, without cheating. To use a specific example, we all understand that acceleration in speed skating is one of the keys to win. The strength of a skater in acceleration is a beautiful and powerful thing that is admired and respected by everyone watching the race. As long as the acceleration comes from legal and ethical means.

Every professional also knows that pushing a teammate to take advantage of this acceleration is one of the most disrespectful things a skater or a team can do to the other professionals competing against them - even if the referee doesnt see it. We must keep in our minds that every team could use this illegal and unethical tactic. Some chose to keep themselves and the sport they love from it and make the choice to lose fairly rather than resort to cheating just to get a win. What matters is that we all realize that as professionals, it is our responsibility to keep our sport clean.

When the final field sprint gets near, we all know that the skaters position is a big factor in determining the outcome of the race. If one team has a skater doing a lead out and another team is trying to race by using another line to the finish, theres no problem. However, we must be aware that if we interrupt the other teams line, there is a possibility of injury and/or fighting. That is not the good issue for us or our sport.

The bottom line is that we must be the ones responsible for keeping our sport and competitions clean, fair and ethical. This way, even if we lose a race, we should be able to say congratulations to the winners because they won fairly and with integrity. A good friend once told me: integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. Lets all do the right thing.

Ate: Professional Inline Speed Skaters.

©RRN and