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Archive for  December 2012

Monday 31, Dec 2012

Armstrong Opts Against Appeal

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Armstrong opts against appeal

According to an announcement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the deadline to appeal a ruling that stripped Lance Armstrong’s name from cycling’s record books passed uncontested.

The UCI notified Armstrong on December 6 that he had until December 27 to appeal his lifetime ban. After this, the IOC can now demand that the cyclist returns the time-trial bronze medal he won at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

The world’s most famous cyclist who won the Tour de France seven times in a row had said he did not intend to appeal the ruling. All of the achievements of the cyclist since 1998, the second phase of his career after he beat cancer, have been erased by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The world governing body of cycling informed the 41-year-old retired cyclist of the decision and his right to appeal on December 6.

The cyclist published a letter at the time and said he would cease all attempts to appeal or contest the charges against him, saying the process had become too much of a strain on his family. Lance Armstrong  called the US doping body’s investigations against him as a “charade” in the open letter. Armstrong wrote, saying the proceedings had become a “pointless distraction” and added that he will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had said while considering its decision to strip the cyclist of the Olympic bronze medal that it is waiting on the resolution of the UCI case before deciding how to proceed. The cyclist won time trial Bronze at the Sydney Games in 2000.With this development, the Tours de France of 1999-2005 where Armstrong had finished first in all of them now officially have no winner.

The International Cycling Union’s Enrico Carpani had remarked the lawyer of Armstrong was notified on 6th December that all his results since 1st August 1998 were nullified and he has 21 days to appeal (from that date). The 41-year-old Armstrong was banned for life and all his seven Tour de France victories were scratched from the records after the UCI ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) sanctions against him. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said the now-retired rider had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” Eleven of the former teammates of Armstrong accused him of not only being a willing participant, but the ringleader, and ordering team mates to cheat. USADA claimed that in addition to 26 people giving sworn testimony, including 11 former teammates, it also had financial payments, emails, and laboratory test results that proved the use of performance enhancing drugs by Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Service team.

IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters on December 5 that the International Olympic Committee will not move because we need to have the situation whereby the UCI notifies officially Mr Armstrong of the fact that he will be disqualified and declared ineligible and that he should hand over his medal and added that Mr Armstrong will have 21 days to launch an appeal when he will be notified and it is only after that period that the IOC can legally take action.

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Sunday 30, Dec 2012

Bruyneel’s Arbitration Proceeding Could Hurt Armstrong More

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Bruyneel’s Arbitration Proceeding Could Hurt Armstrong More

The refusal of seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, to contest doping allegations levied by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) cost him sponsors and a decade of results, and a lifetime ban. By doing this, he stayed away from an arbitration hearing that was a good move from a legal and public-image standpoint. It also helped him prevent the USADA from compelling potentially damaging additional witnesses to testify and answering the charges against him under oath.

However, the woes of Armstrong may not stop here as the USADA is proceeding ahead with cases against fellow defendants Johan Bruyneel, team doctor Pedro Celaya, and trainer Pepe Marti, all of whom have elected to proceed with their own arbitration hearings. Bruyneel’s case — the most pivotal of the three — could be heard before the end of the year, according to USADA CEO Travis Tygart. If that happens, Bruyneel may not only give USADA the key to unlock the much-anticipated testimony of the Texan rider, but the anti-doping agency may get a subpoena power that could pry the waning scandal wide open again. USADA lacked the ability to subpoena witnesses as it built its case against Armstrong, Bruyneel and the other defendants but now it could very soon have things its way. The agency can compel even reluctant participants — potentially including Armstrong, Bruyneel and a host of others — to testify under oath if any of the USADA defendants proceeds to arbitration.

Tygart speaking about Bruyneel’s case in September said Lance Armstrong could be heard as a witness in this case, under oath, like the others and it could be serious if there is perjury.

While many believed that Bruyneel should have best continued his vocal agreement with Armstrong by declaring the process a witch hunt and walk away without saying a word, he could get away by saying that the testimonies of Armstrong’s former teammates and support staff are the lies of bitter ex-employees, he may even drag Armstrong, and place the embattled leadership of the sport — Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen — in even more peril or Bruyneel may be awaiting the right motivation to waive his hearing at the last minute. The fact that Bruyneel and Armstrong were not just the team’s director sportif and the star rider, respectively, but also the part owners of Tailwind Sports, the management company that owned the U.S. Postal and Discovery Channel teams and the entity that received and allocated the sponsorship funds means added troubles for both. This also means that both of them were well positioned to know the inside-out of how the finer details of how the team’s organized doping system was established and what were the sources of funds and where they ended up. The ownership of Tailwind, headed by San Francisco investment banker Thom Weisel, also included a number of his fellow financiers as well as longtime Armstrong insiders such as Bill Stapleton and Bart Knaggs and the CEOs of long time team sponsors, Trek Bicycles and Bell Sports.

Whenever the hearing of Bruyneel happens, it can re-ignite the multi-agency federal investigation into whether U.S. Postal Service funding was used to support doping within the USPS team and this could carry significant criminal and financial penalties and add fuel to the whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis in 2010.

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Saturday 29, Dec 2012

Riders Hold Key To Doping Reform Adoption

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Riders Hold Key To Doping Reform Adoption

The founder of the Change Cycling Now group has remarked that the response from top riders to a radical proposal aimed at eliminating blood doping among the grand tour challengers should be known by the end of next month.

Jaimie Fuller who created the new lobby group behind the reform said he is optimistic that the proposal drafted by blood-doping expert Dr Michael Ashenden will be well received.

The blood-doping expert didn’t elaborate on the proposal details that was submitted to Gianni Bugno, the Italian president of the Association of Professional Cyclists, but said it would ”guarantee” that the winners of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a Espana were not able to undergo blood transfusions.

An Australian who also sat on the recent CCN conference in London, Ashenden, cited the requirement for the best grand tour riders of the world to evaluate the proposal first and then offer their feedback to himself, Bungo, and the Change Cycling Now group. Ashenden said the group requires assistance from the riders to put into place a system for next year that will ensure that the winner of a grand tour has not blood-doped. The doping expert further remarked that this short-term and intensive approach will restore public confidence in the race outcomes and the riders and the approach is for the riders, but it is very much by the riders.

Chief executive of compression garment firm SKINS that sponsors a number of cycling teams and other sports, Fuller, is suing the world governing body of cycling for damages to the reputation of his company from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and cited the mismanagement of the UCI in the aftermath of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s guilty verdict for the retired 41-year-old American rider Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of all his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life for doping.

The UCI has dismissed the legitimacy of CNN but many in the cycling world are listening to the message of the newly formed group, especially in light of USADA and World Anti-Doping Agency concerns over an independent commission of inquiry into the handling of doping issues by the UCI.

Meanwhile, Fuller is confident that the Tour, Giro, and Vuelta organizers will support any proposal that enables them to put their hands on their hearts and say we have a clean winner. He added that it is awful to win and stand on the dais and knowing that everything whispering that he must have doped and went on to say that Bradley Wiggins as been copping this since he has won and this is inexcusable. Fuller also said Wiggins and Cadel Evans, who in 2011 became the first Australian to win the Tour and was seventh this year, should speak out more openly against doping. Public discussion over the doping issue must continue, especially should an official truth and reconciliation commission into it be held, said Fuller who also remarked that things can change quickly and for the better as it is about a change of mindset, not just about policing the problem.

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Friday 28, Dec 2012

Sanction On Bassons Dropped From One Year To One Month

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Sanction On Bassons Dropped From One Year To One Month

Cyclist Christophe Bassons who was banned for one year after he missed a post-race control in the French mountain bike marathon championships has a sigh of relief after the ban was reduced on appeal to just one month. However, the 38-year-old rider said he will fight on and seek to have the sanction overturned on a point of principle.

Bassons remarked that he was hypoglycemic at 25 kilometers from the finish and missed the last refuelling point and had nothing to eat. He further added that his car was not parked far from there as he had ridden the last twenty kilometers the previous day and therefore he decided to leave. The cyclist said he received a phone call two hours later saying that he had been selected for a post-race doping control and he had half an hour to return for the test and remarked that he was already too far away. Bassons added that the communication was going badly and the person on the phone calling for the test never heard his answer. He therefore decided to stop on the highway and called back with his professional phone as his personal phone’s battery was empty but he was unable to reach him. As a result, Bassons was given a ban of one year and protested that the organizers should have contacted him much earlier than they did; the cyclist also objected to the severity of the punishment.

Though the sanction was reduced dramatically, the cyclist while accepting that he made a mistake said the reduction of the ban by the French cycling federation (FFC) is an admission of sorts that he was not guilty of an offense. Christophe Bassons is also emphasizing on clearing his name for another reason. He spoke against doping thirteen years ago in the 1999 Tour de France and was bullied off the race by Lance Armstrong and others. Bassons had a reputation as a clean rider but he was marginalized and his career eventually petered out because of his stance on doping. His stance was recognized in November 2012 by Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff who said that the stance had assumed a new and important significance in the light of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and named Bassons as his own nomination for Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Wolff said the example of Christophe Bassons is good for cycling and he is my Sportsman of the Year for his courage, principle, and symbolism.

Armstrong was banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after swearing testimonies from 11 of his former teammates that he used and encouraged the use of performance enhancing drugs to stay on top of cycling.

Bassons said the federation may have reduced the sentence from one year to one month, but this sanction remains completely absurd in principle. He added that he will be making an appeal to the administrative court and will counter attack. Between 1996 and 2001, cyclist Christophe Bassons raced as a professional and was part of the Festina team between 1996 and 1998, and was named by many on the team as being the one rider who never took banned substances.

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Thursday 27, Dec 2012

In-depth Doping Network Revealed By Tyler Hamilton Book

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In-depth Doping Network Revealed By Tyler Hamilton Book

 

A sweeping, high-definition view into the thinly veiled world of the doping culture in cycling has been revealed by former Lance Armstrong teammate, Tyler Hamilton, in his new book, “The Secret Race“, that went out on September 5 by Random House publishing, co-written by Daniel Coyle.

The text is words of Hamilton but the stories are backed up by extensive research by Coyle who interviewed Hamilton more than 60 times, and “to verify and corroborate Hamilton’s account.”Coyle, who spent months with Armstrong to write “Lance Armstrong’s War” said he believes people have the right to know the truth and they need to know how it all really happened, and then they can make up their minds.

Hamilton, after years of denial following his own doping positive, first opened up about his doping past to the US federal grand jury that was investigating Lance Armstrong and allegations of doping and conspiracy at the US Postal Service team. Tyler Hamilton then came out on the television news magazine 60 Minutes with public allegations that Armstrong doped and helped him dope. Hamilton goes on to detail about how easy the UCI’s tests were to beat by saying that they weren’t drug tests, they were more like discipline tests, IQ tests and added that you could dope and be 99 percent certain that you would not get caught if you were careful and paid attention.

Hamilton and ghost writer Daniel Coyle have won the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award for “The Secret Race”, the confessional account of Hamilton’s career as a professional rider. The book also heavily implicates his former CSC manager Bjarne Riis in the blood doping practices of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe paid tribute to “The Secret Race” and said it sheds light on the “mysterious world of cycling” and added that this book lifted the lid on that world and delivers a shocking and jaw-droppingly frank account of what it is like to compete at the highest level.

Recently, Hamilton said that he expects disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to fight back. The 41-year-old Armstrong was earlier this year stripped of his seven Tour titles and lost most of his sponsors after the US Anti-Doping Agency said he had been at the front of a systematic doping program.

The Secret Race” is the third cycling book to win the William Hill prize, which is now in its 24th year. In 1990, Paul Kimmage took the award for “Rough Ride” and Lance Armstrong and ghost writer Sally Jenkins were feted in 2000 for Armstrong’s memoir “It’s Not About the Bike.” “The Secret Race” recounts the career of Hamilton in the first person but the information contained in the book is backed up by extensive research by Coyle, who states in the introduction that he interviewed Hamilton more than 60 times and also spoke with numerous independent sources “to verify and corroborate Hamilton’s account.” For the book, Hamilton and Coyle receive a £24,000 cash prize as well as a free £2,000 bet with bookmakers William Hill, a specially commissioned hand-bound copy of their book and “a day at the races.”

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Wednesday 26, Dec 2012

Armstrong Sued By Sunday Times

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Armstrong Sued By Sunday Times

The Sunday Times has sued disgraced cyclist and the seven-time winner of Tour de France, Lance Armstrong, for more than £1million after it lost a libel action to the disgraced cyclist for printing doping claims now known to be true.

In 2006, the newspaper paid Armstrong £300,000 in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book that alleged that the Texan rider had taken performance enhancing drugs. The paper said it is now demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case.

In an article in its latest edition, The Sunday Times announced that it has issued legal papers against Armstrong. The paper said in a letter to the lawyers of Lance Armstrong that it is now clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent and that their representations that Armstrong had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false. Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., the paper said its total claim against the 41-year-old cyclist is ‘likely to exceed’ £1million pounds ($1.6 million).

In June this year, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirmed they will file formal doping charges after an investigation into alleged doping by Armstrong is dropped by federal prosecutors. The cyclist filed a lawsuit in July against USADA and accused the agency of ‘corrupt inducements’ to other cyclists to testify against him. On October 10, the anti-doping agency made an announcement that 11 of the former teammates of Lance Armstrong have testified against him. The report of USADA ordered 14 years of his career results to be erased – including the Tour titles, and contained sworn statements from 26 witnesses, including 11 former teammates.

Immediately after the “Reasoned Decision” in the USADA report, six companies including Nike canceled their sponsorship with the cyclist. Bike sponsor Trek Bicycles and helmet sponsor Giro, technology retailer Radioshack, food maker Honey Stringer and health club franchise 24HR Fitness, and energy drink manufacturer FRS, and star Anheuser-Busch followed Nike’s decision to ditch the disgraced cyclist. Thereafter, the world governing body of cycling on October 22 confirmed that it has ratified the decision of the USADA to ban the cyclist from cycling for life and has decided to strip him of all his seven Tour de France titles for doping offenses. On October 26, the cycling’s governing body confirmed Armstrong’s Tour titles will not be awarded to other riders. The cyclist was thereafter ordered to pay back all the cycling prize money he won while using performance enhancing drugs. After the report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Lance Armstrong immediately fell from grace and was even forced to formally cut ties with cancer Charity Livestrong, a charity founded him to help cancer survivors.

In another development, the Sunday Times chief sports writer has been honored at the British Journalism Awards for exposing doping by Armstrong. David Walsh claimed a double win at the inaugural British Journalism Awards and picked the Sports Journalist of the Year and the overall Journalist of the Year prizes. He was praised by the judges for his 13-year investigation into Lance Armstrong that helped expose the cyclist as a drugs cheat and led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and given a life ban.

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Tuesday 25, Dec 2012

Team Katusha Dropped From 2013 WorldTour Lineup

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Team Katusha Dropped From 2013 WorldTour Lineup

Dutch outfit, Team Argos Shimano, has replaced Team Katusha for the 2013 season. Katusha, the Russian super team with deep pockets and a roster that includes Joaquim Rodriguez, the rider who finished top of the UCI WorldTour Ranking in 2012, will be fighting a huge battle with the world governing body of cycling.

The licensing commission of the UCI gave a license for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons to Saxo-Tinkoff along with the team officially known, (for the time being at least) as the Former Rabobank while Garmin Sharp also got a license for the 2014 season.

Meanwhile, the Russian team has reiterated their determination to fight the decision to omit them from the 2013 World Tour after knowing about the reasons behind the judgment of the UCI. The team that finished second in the standings in 2012 and have world number one Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain riding for them immediately made an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A statement from the team said it has been unfairly treated and added that the Russian World Tour team Katusha has received a document containing the reasons of the refusal nine days after the decision of the UCI License Commission concerning the refusal of 2013 professional license prolongation. The statement further suggested that all the information offered by the team by by its opinion is complete and corresponds to the requirements of the UCI License Commission and all the positions mentioned in this document were considered during the UCI License Commission preliminary hearing held on the 22nd of November 2012.

The Russian World Tour team Katusha further added that it confirms its determination to defend its rights using all civilized ways in order to receive the World Tour license, including the already made appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after receiving the UCI document.

The UCI had registered in the first division the teams already holding a current UCI WorldTour licence and whose applications satisfied the registration conditions set out in the UCI regulations:

- Astana Pro Team

- BMC Racing Team

- Cannondale

- Lampre – Merida

- Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team

- ORICA GreenEDGE

- Sky Procycling

- Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

- Movistar Team (UCI decision of 16 November)

The Licenses Commission has issued a UCI WorldTour license to the following teams:

- AG2R La Mondiale   2013-2016

- Euskaltel Euskadi   2013-2016

- Former Rabobank   2013-2014

- Garmin Sharp   2013-2014

- Team Argos–Shimano  2013-2016

- Team Saxo – Tinkoff   2013-2014

The Licenses Commission has granted registration for the 2013 season for the following teams:

- FDJ

- Lotto Belisol

- RadioShackNissan

The application of team Katusha for registration in first division has been rejected and forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering this team as a UCI Professional Continental Team. The UCI turned down the Russian team’s WorldTour license application on ethical rather than financial grounds, according to a report in the print edition of the Gazetta dello Sport. The world governing body of cycling cited the 2009 bans for EPO use handed out to Katusha riders Toni Colom and Christian Pfannberger, the failed drug test by Denis Galimzyanov in March of this year, and the failed drug test of Alexander Kolobnevat last year’s Tour de France.

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Monday 24, Dec 2012

Cycling World Number One Has No Regrets Staying With Katusha

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Cycling World Number One Has No Regrets Staying With Katusha

Despite the Russian team facing exclusion from the WorldTour, cycling world number one Joaquim Rodriguez has no regrets about signing a new deal with Katusha in the off-season.

The world governing body of cycling (UCI) has rejected the application of the team to compete next year in the World Tour because of Katusha’s doping record over the past four years. The team, which finished second in the World Tour standings this year, has appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Rodriguez said after Katusha’s official presentation in the Italian city of Brescia said it is true that he had a chance to go to another team after this season was finished but said he would not deny that he wanted to renegotiate the contract to get a bigger one after enjoying a good season in 2012. The Spaniard, nicknamed ‘Purito’, had an excellent season in 2012 where he won twos stages in the Giro d’Italia, finishing second overall to Canadian Ryder Hesjedal. The stocky Spaniard also finished third overall in the Spanish Vuelta in September before winning the final major classic race – Tour of Lombardy – to claim the top position in the World Tour standings ahead of Britain’s Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.

Rodriguez said many teams wanted him after such a good season and he had many offers but he decided to stay with Katusha after he got a very good deal from it. The 33-year-old when asked if he regretted his decision and if he changed his mind knowing that Katusha would be kicked out of the top flight remarked that he has given his word to the team and will stick to it to fulfil his commitments and further added that he will get a chance of riding both the Giro and Vuelta again next year as Katusha is appealing the UCI decision.

The UCI cited “ethical reasons” behind its dramatic decision to deny Katusha a place in the 18-team WorldTour league for 2013 and outlined several ethical question marks surrounding the Russia-backed team in its “reasoned decision,” which it forwarded to the team. The cycling body catalogued a string of doping problems within the team dating back to the EPO positives of Toni Colom and Christian Pfannberger in the 2009 season, as well as the EPO positive of Russian sprinter Denis Galimzyanov besides pointing to the doping positive of Alexander Kolobnev during the 2011 Tour de France, which was later absolved by the Russian cycling federation. The UCI went on to refer the alleged selling of the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège by Kolobnev to ex-pro Alexander Vinokourov for 150,000 euros besides citing the removal of German team manager Hans-Michael Holczer, who was replaced with Russian ex-pro Viatcheslav Ekimov, a longtime teammate of Lance Armstrong.

Katusha reaffirmed its intention to battle the UCI snub in a challenge to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and said the team said it would battle in “civilized ways.” If the team should win the CAS appeal, the license commission would restart the review process for all seven teams [Ag2r La Mondiale, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Garmin-Sharp, Blanco (former Rabobank), Argos-Shimano, and Saxo-Tinkoff besides Katusha] that applied for extension for 2013, according to UCI rules (Art. 2.15.026 and 2.15.241).

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Sunday 23, Dec 2012

Katusha Defend Doping Record

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Katusha Defend Doping Record

Team Katusha, the Russian road bicycle racing team which participates in the UCI World Tour, have defended their record on doping after the world governing body of cycling dropped them from the top flight. The team is now putting its faith in the Court of Arbitration for Sport to regain their elite status.

The license commission of the UCI last week rejected the application of Katusha for competing in the World Tour next year due to the doping record of the team over the past four years. The team that finished second in the World Tour standings this year have appealed the decision to the Lausanne-based CAS.

Katusha General Manager Vyacheslav Ekimov after the team’s official presentation in the Italian city of Brescia said the team received a statement from the UCI, explaining to us the reasons for their decision. Ekimov remarked that the team was told that Katusha have had the most doping cases among all the Pro Tour teams, citing four cases between 2009 and 2012 and added that the case of Alexandr Kolobnev should not be counted because he was later cleared of any doping charges.

At the 2011 Tour de France, Kolobnev escaped a suspension for failing a drug test after the Russian cycling federation took into account extenuating circumstances in his case. Ekimov added that the UCI blamed the team for Denis Galimzyanov’s positive test, even though the rider had admitted that it was his own mistake and said the cycling’s governing body do not do enough testing within the team for catching doping cheats. Galimzyanov tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), the banned blood booster, in April. The top sprinter of Russia was subsequently fired by Katusha and said he took the drug by himself without telling anyone in the team and Galimzyanov was banned by the anti-doping agency of Russia for two years, starting from April 13, 2012.

Ekimov, a long-time team mate of disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong, when questioned about his own doping record said the cycling’s world governing body never mentioned his name, Denis Menchov, or that of Michele Ferrari. Katusha leader Menchov’s integrity came under a cloud after French sports daily L’Equipe produced its doping suspicion index in which Menchov was rated at 9; the doping suspicion index lists riders who are given a rating of suspicion on a scale from 0 – not suspicious – to 10 – highly suspicious. Menchov denied the allegations and said it was just a case of sour grapes by the French. Triple Olympic champion Ekimov,  who was awarded his third Olympic gold medal after American Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his Athens 2004 time trial title because of doping, questioned the methods employed by the UCI.

Every Katusha rider, including world number one Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, expressed their loyalty to the team, remarked Ekimov who also added that all our major sponsors are also committed to the team even if we are excluded from the elite. Ekimov said in case the CAS decision goes against them, we’ll think of an alternative plan.

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Saturday 22, Dec 2012

Doping Was Never An Option For O’Grady

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Doping Was Never An Option For O’Grady

The doping admission of Matt White and his sacking has meant for difficult times at Orica GreenEdge, says Stuart O’Grady.

O’Grady is one of a handful of riders who may be interviewed for three of the separate Australian investigations that are presently stemming from the Reasoned Decision document by USADA on the lifetime ban on Lance Armstrong. The Australian stalwart said the Australian Anti-Doping Authority has already come knocking. The Australian Sports Commission, along with ASADA, has also mounted an inquiry led by Justice James Wood while Orica GreenEdge has begun its own investigations to deal more with internal procedures headed by the former World Anti-Doping Agency director, Nicki Vance.

O’Grady admitted that it is uncomfortable as he is getting asked a lot of questions for which he has absolutely no ideas and the feeling of uneasiness is because he is very happy with his career and what he achieved. O’Grady added that he has been available at the end of the day whenever they want to talk and he is glad to tell them everything he knows and said he can provide insights to his life though he has no answers to most of the questions that are asked.

O’Grady has ridden with some of the teams that have found themselves under the most scrutiny in recent memory, specifically Cofidis and CSC/Saxo Ban, throughout his career that lasted 18 years. O’Grady like former Saxo teammate Brad McGee before him, is adamant that despite the stigma, he saw no evidence of a doping culture. The 39-year-old said he was very lucky, very fortunate that doping was never an option in the teams he was involved in. He further added that the team bosses had a very different mentality to some others. O’Grady further added that the revelations of the use of performance enhancing drugs in cycling in the recent past had left him with “mixed emotions” but he overwhelmingly felt “disappointed in the sport” thanks primarily to the scale of the anti-doping infractions.

The release of the Reasoned Decision documentation by USADA resulted in the sacking of Orica GreenEdge sports director, Matt White, though the same evidence was in the public domain since 2010 when Floyd Landis sent an email to USA Cycling chief executive officer Steve Johnson. After the release of the USADA Reasoned Decision, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of all his titles. Sponsors of the cyclists shunned him and the governing body of cycling, the UCI, was no exception and remarked that Armstrong has no place in cycling.

O’Grady admitted when asked if he was happy about the way the team handled the fallout by USADA that it is difficult and said what gets decided by management is out of my league but added that the team is stronger than ever as a unit and a group of rider and it is more motivated than ever and want to come out firing next year by understanding that there is pressure from higher above that causes these types of decisions to be made but as a group of bike riders.

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