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Archive for  April 2013

Tuesday 30, Apr 2013

Bookmakers To Refund Bets

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Bookmakers To Refund Bets

According to an announcement by Ladbrokes and William Hill, they will be refunding thousands of pounds worth of bets on eleven horses that tested positive for anabolic steroids.

This news came as British Horseracing Authority (BHA) faces its biggest-ever doping scandal after 11 horses at one of the top racing stables of the country tested positive for anabolic steroids, ethylestrenol and Stanozolol. The samples were taken from the Godolphin stables in Moulton Paddocks, Newmarket, on April 9. Seven horses were found to have ethylestranol in their system and four for the drug Stanozolol. The Godolphin stable was founded in 1992 and has won more than 2,000 races worldwide, with winners in 14 countries.

Ladbrokes has said it will return £200,000 worth of bets placed on horses tested positive for steroids. The career earnings of the 11 horses are Desert Blossom (Career earnings: $19,262), Certify ($254,829), Fair Hill, Ghostflower ($2,819), Orkney Island, Sweet Rose, Valley Of Queens ($2,088), Artigiano ($68,952), Bathrat Amal, Opinion Poll ($1,671,075), and Restraint Of Trade ($21,230).

William Hill said it would refund all ante-post bets on four horses from the Godolphin stables – Certify, Desert Bloom, Artigiano, and Restraint Of Trade. Coral has confirmed it is also refunding bets placed on the same four horses.

This is an unprecedented eventuality, and no-one betting could have predicted these events, William Hill spokesperson Kate Miller said and added that we believe the fairest result for our customers is to refund their bets placed on the Godolphin runners.

Meanwhile, Paddy Power is to refund all bets on Certify for the 1000 Guineas while it checks its position on other affected horses.

In another development, Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni will attend a British Horseracing Authority inquiry after irregularities were discovered in 11 of 45 racehorses. Godolphin is the Maktoum family’s private thoroughbred horseracing stable and is overseen by the constitutional monarch of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, who appointed Al Zarooni three years ago. Zarooni faces a lengthy ban from the sport after admitting administering the drugs at the Godolphin stables in Newmarket.

The trainer however said he did not know it was an offense to use the drugs when the horses were not racing and remarked that he can only apologize for the damage caused to Godolphin and to racing generally. The racing manager of Godolphin’s patron Sheikh Mohammed, who has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in British racing over the last 20 years, Simon Crisford said the findings marked a “dark day” for the stables and said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him and we will await the outcome of the BHA inquiry before taking any further internal action. He also said Sheikh Mohammed has instructed me to begin an urgent review of all of our procedures and controls, which is already under way and we will take advice from the BHA in completing it.

National Trainers Federation chief executive Rupert Arnold said he had been “shocked” by the test results and remarked the Godolphin management, for whom Zarooni trains, is a byword for the highest levels of professionalism, integrity and sportsmanship. Arnold added that news reports so far suggest this case is an aberration and is not indicative of wider use of anabolic steroids in British horseracing and went on to add that we fully endorse the British Horseracing Authority’s testing in training regime and all efforts to prevent the use of any prohibited substance to gain an unfair advantage.

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Monday 29, Apr 2013

Godolphin Trainer Faces Horse Doping Inquiry

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Godolphin Trainer Faces Horse Doping Inquiry

In one of the biggest doping scandals in British racing history, eleven horses from the Godolphin stable have tested positive for anabolic steroids.

Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni will be attending an inquiry by the British Horseracing Authority after irregularities were discovered in 11 of 45 racehorses and the trainer has admitted making “a catastrophic mistake”. Though no date has yet been announced for the inquiry, Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the BHA, said the BHA understand the importance of this process being carried out as quickly as possible because of implications for betting markets.

Stable manager Simon Crisford remarked that this is a dark day for the Godolphin stable and everyone is shocked with what all has happened. The 11 horses that tested positive for anabolic steroids together won more than $2m (£1.31m) in prize money include unbeaten Certify, who will not be allowed to run in next month’s 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. The substances detected were ethylestrenol and Stanozolol.

Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the British Horseracing Authority, said ethylestranol and stanozolol are anabolic steroids and therefore prohibited substances under British rules of racing, at any time – either in training or racing. The BHA confirmed that samples were obtained on April 9 this year from 45 horses trained by Al Zarooni at Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket and that the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory had detected prohibited substances.

Godolphin is the private thoroughbred horseracing stable of the Maktoum family and is overseen by the constitutional monarch of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, who appointed Al Zarooni three years ago. Horses of the stable spend the winter in Dubai before transferring to the UK stables of Godolphin in Newmarket. A statement on the website of Godolphin said, Al Zarooni has admitted that he was responsible for the administration of the prohibited substances and the trainer remarked he didn’t realize that was he was doing was in breach of the rules of racing because the horses involved were not racing at that time. Zarooni added that he can only apologize for the damage the doping scandal will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally.

In 2011, Zarooni won his first British Classic in 2011 when Blue Bunting landed the 1,000 Guineas under Frankie Dettori at Newmarket and the filly went on to claim the Irish Oaks. Rewilding provided a victory at Royal Ascot and Monterosso won the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup, in March 2012. Zarooni enjoyed a second British Classic success when 25-1 shot Encke upset Camelot to win the St Leger at Doncaster in September 2012. Last year’s Royal Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Opinion Poll was one of four horses testing positive for Stanozolol.

Racing manager Crisford added His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him and added that we will await the outcome of the BHA inquiry before taking any further internal action. He also added that Sheikh Mohammed has instructed him to begin an urgent review of all of our procedures and controls and that is already under way and we will take advice from the British Horseracing Authority in completing it.

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Sunday 28, Apr 2013

Warning To Athletes Using High Doses Of Prescription Drugs

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Warning To Athletes Using High Doses Of Prescription Drugs

Speaking at a conference on drug-taking in sport, Professor Declan Naughton, Professor of Bimolecular Sciences at Kingston University in South West London, cautioned sportsmen and women against using drugs known as nitrites without clinical supervision to improve their performance.

Naughton warned that such athletes could suffer a range of side effects from convulsions to coma, and could even kill themselves. Based in the School of Life Sciences, Professor Naughton, who is one of the scientists who first discovered the beneficial effects of nitrite said he was concerned that athletes are unlikely to be aware of the effects of misusing it and added that the future uptake of this drug, based on current research on the levels of abuse of performance enhancing drugs by athletes, by the athletic community is of real concern.

Naughton also remarked that Nitrite has enormous potential as a treatment for diseases characterized by inadequate blood supply but if taken in supplement form without clinical supervision, nitrite may lead to a number of serious side effects including cardiovascular collapse, coma, convulsions, and death.

Nitrite is not on the list of substances banned by the international sporting authorities and athletes face no penalty or disciplinary action for taking it, although athletes are routinely tested for prohibited drugs. He also remarked that it is not easy to enforce a ban for nitrite because small doses are found in foods such as cured meats and lettuce and it is expelled from the body in urine.

Dr Andrea Petroczi, a Reader in Public Health at Kingston University, speaking at the same conference, said that her research on performance enhancing drugs suggested that there was a possibility that nitrites could be taken up by athletes. She reported that some athletes were taking as many as 26 different drugs and supplements in a single day and said studies using declarations made by athletes during doping controls highlight two concerning issues: a marked increase in the use of asthma medications and the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs well above the appropriate level for reported illnesses or injuries.

In another development, Professor Maughan, who chairs the Sports Nutrition Group of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission, issued a warning about some dietary supplements that are leaving athletes susceptible to failed drugs tests. He said it is now well established that many dietary supplements contain compounds that can cause an athlete to fail a doping test and in some cases the presence of these compounds is not declared on the product label and the amount (for some prohibited substances) that will trigger a positive test is vanishingly small and may not be detected by routine analysis of the supplement.

Professor Maughan added that the potential for such low levels of contamination in a sports supplement to result in adverse test results raises significant concerns for the manufacture of dietary supplements intended for consumption by athletes liable to regular doping tests. He also remarked that it presents a serious dilemma for sports supplement manufacturers, athletes, and those responsible for the welfare of athletes.

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Saturday 27, Apr 2013

Kreuziger Refuses To Answer Questions On Doping

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Kreuziger Refuses To Answer Questions On Doping

Czech professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTour team Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Roman Kreuziger, refused to answer questions about alleged links to controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari.

The recently crowned Amstel Gold Race winner refused to entertain inquiries in both English and Italian from a handful of journalists before the team presentation ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The cyclist said he only wants to talk about the race and will speak about this theme after Romandie. Considered one of the biggest talents of the sport after winning the 2004 Junior Road World Championships and the 2008 Tour de Suisse at the age of 22, the 26-year-old Czech rider didn’t seem happy about the line of questioning and said he only wanted to talk about racing and directed questions toward the press officer of Team Saxo-Tinkoff. The cyclist then walked away and into a tent area where the media was not allowed to enter.

Team spokesman Anders Daamgaard said the Czech rider told him before the team presentation that he didn’t want to field questions about the alleged Ferrari links. The spokesman added that there is no official team statement on Kreuziger, and the Czech suggested he would speak about his past following the Tour de Romandie, April 23-28.

Kreuziger’s win at the Dutch classic puts him in the spotlight and revived questions about his alleged linked to Michele Ferrari, who has been banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Links between Ferrari and several former Liquigas riders were revealed by documents, via testimony of former Ferrari client Leonardo Bertagnolli, as part of USADA’s reasoned decision in the Lance Armstrong scandal. A former Liquigas rider, Bertagnolli, in a written affidavit in Italian, admitted that he worked with Ferrari with the knowledge and consent of Liquigas management and also claimed that Kreuziger was a Ferrari client, among others, including Franco Pellizotti and Enrico Gasparotto, all Liquigas riders at the time.

In 2009, Roman Kreuziger won the Tour de Romandie and was the victor of the Amstel Gold Race in 2013. Roman’s father, Roman Kreuziger Sr., was also a bicycle racer who won the Österreich Rundfahrt in 1991 and the Cyclocross Junior World Championships in 1983. After a successful amateur career which saw him win the Junior Road World Championships in 2004 and a stage of the Giro delle Regioni in 2005, Kreuziger turned professional in 2006 with Liquigas and took his first professional victory in the second stage of the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda. In late 2007, the cyclist was also able to complete his first Grand Tour after finishing 21st in the Vuelta a España. In 2008, Roman Kreuziger finished second in the youth competition, and 12th overall in his first Tour de France. Roman in 2012 finished third in the Tirreno-Adriatico and entered the 2012 Giro d’Italia leading Team Astana with Paolo Tiralongo. The cyclist left Astana at the end of the 2012 season, and joined Team Saxo-Tinkoff on a three-year contract from the 2013 season onwards.

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Friday 26, Apr 2013

Three UFC Fighters Fail To Clear Drug Tests

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Three UFC Fighters Fail To Clear Drug Tests

According to UFC officials, three fighters have failed to clear drug tests. This announcement by the UFC has once again that there cannot be anything stopping professional sportsmen from relying on banned performance enhancing drugs even after “tall talks and claims” of anti-doping education and awareness.

Lavar Johnson (17-7) failed a test for testosterone use given by the California State Athletic Commission from his February 23 fight in Anaheim where he lost a three-round decision against Brendan Schaub. The heavyweight slugger has not been suspended till date. Johnson had first tested for an elevated testosterone/epitestosterone ratio when the usual urine test results came in and after this the California State Athletic Commission administered the expensive Carbon Isotope Ratio (CIR) test on Johnson that confirmed the first test results.

The American mixed martial artist who last competed as a heavyweight is suspended from fighting till November 23, 2013. Johnson made his MMA debut in the WEC on January 16, 2004, losing to Doug Marshall via TKO (corner stoppage). He made his Strikeforce debut against Carl Seumanutafa at Strikeforce Challengers: Evangelista vs. Aina, knocking him out with a punch 18 seconds into the first round.

In another development, Alex Caceres tested positive for marijuana and Riki Fukuda tested positive for three banned stimulants; both positive tests came from the March 3 show at the Saitama Super Arena in suburban Tokyo, Japan.

Nicknamed “Bruce Leroy,” Caceres (8-5, 1 no contest) won against Kyung Ho Kang, which he originally won via three-round decision, overturned and ruled a no-contest. Caceres was suspended by the UFC for six months and his suspension is retroactive to the day of the fight. The UFC fighter was also ordered to attend rehabilitation classes and would now have to pass a drug test at the end of the suspension before he will be allowed to fight again. In a statement issued by his management team, Caceres said he accepts full responsibility for my actions and the consequences from his actions and apologized to all that he has disappointed, including the UFC, his family, coaches, training partners and fans. Caceres added that he accepts the sanctions from the UFC and would look forward to completing the necessary steps to getting back in the octagon following the suspension and assuring that this never happens again.

According to the UFC Director of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, it is the current protocol that any UFC fighter who tests positive for marijuana on a show regulated by the UCF will be suspended six months and ordered to do rehab from an accredited facility and added that the UFC believe in rehabilitation and penalties for marijuana should not be as severe as those for performance enhancing drugs.

Fukuda (19-7), tested positive for stimulants Phernylpropanolamine, Norpseudoephedrine, and Ephedrine, after his loss to Brad Tavares on the same show. The fighter had been released from his UFC contract after the loss to Tavares left him with a 2-3 record in his two years with the UCF and his positive test result will be reported to the Association of Boxing Commissions that will then make a decision regarding how long before Fukuda would be allowed to fight for another organization.

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Thursday 25, Apr 2013

Athletes Often Misuse Protein Supplements

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Athletes Often Misuse Protein Supplements

According to a recent study, protein supplements don’t improve performance or recovery time and such supplements are inefficient for most athletes.

Martin Fréchette, a researcher and graduate of the Université de Montréal Department of Nutrition, said these supplements are often poorly used or unnecessary by both high-level athletes and amateurs.

Fréchette submitted questionnaires to 42 athletes as part of his thesis for the Masters degree. In the questionnaire, sportsmen were asked about their use of supplements while keeping a journal of their eating habits for three days and came from a variety of disciplines including biathlon, cycling, long-distance running, swimming, judo, skating, and volleyball. Nine out of 10 athletes reported food supplements on a regular basis and they consumed an average of 335 products: energy drinks, multi-vitamins, minerals, and powdered protein supplements. Fréchette found their knowledge of food supplements to be weak and remarked the role of proteins is particularly misunderstood and said only one out of four consumers could associate a valid reason, backed by scientific literature, for taking the product according.

Seventy percent of athletes in Fréchette’s study didn’t feel their performance would suffer if they stopped such consumption despite the widespread use of protein supplements and Fréchette said more than 66 percent of those who believed to have bad eating habits took supplements. For those who claimed to have ‘good’ or ‘very good’ eating habits that number climbs to 90 percent. He further stressed that supplements come with certain risks and contended that their purity and preparation aren’t as controlled as prescription medication and sports supplements often contain other ingredients than those listed on the label and some athletes consume prohibited drugs without knowing.

No less than 81 percent of athletes taking supplements already had sufficient protein from their diet, Fréchette said and added that the use of multivitamins and minerals can make up for an insufficient intake of calcium, folate yet not for lack of potassium. Other studies have shown that 12 to 20 percent of products that are regularly used by athletes include prohibited substances and a particular interest by the athletes on the efficiency, legality, and safety of those drugs was observed by Fréchette. The researcher and graduate of the Université de Montréal Department of Nutrition also remarked that consumers of supplements had levels of sodium, magnesium, niacin, folate, vitamin A and iron that exceeded the acceptable norms, which makes them susceptible to health problems such as nausea, vision trouble, fatigue and liver anomalies.

In another study, Tim Byers, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate director for prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, disclosed that Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid have now been shown to increase the risk of developing a host of cancers. Byers added that we need to do a better job as a society in ensuring that the messages people get about value versus risk is accurate for nutritional supplements and also added that his conclusion is that taking high doses of any particular nutrient is more likely to be a bad thing than a good thing.

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Wednesday 24, Apr 2013

Doping Claims Denied By Demons

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Doping Claims Denied By Demons

AFL Club Melbourne has admitted links between its team doctor and former Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank, the man central to the Australian sport anti-doping investigation. However, the club denied it has done anything illegal.

The Australian Football League says it is urgently seeking an explanation from Melbourne over its dealings with Dank in the context of Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s (ASADA) probe into supplement use now certain to widen to take in the Demons. Recently, the ABC’s 7.30 Report claimed to have text messages between Melbourne’s club doctor Dan Bates and Stephen Dank stretching back to mid-2012. Many Demons players were named in the messages that suggest a supplements regime at the club that Dank was involved in and ABC’s 7.30 report alleges the text messages between Dank and Bates continued until the day Essendon fronted a media conference to reveal that they had concerns over their supplements program and the work of Dank at that club. However, none of the substances mentioned in the Melbourne text messages are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

AFL Club Melbourne, in a lengthy statement, said there was no evidence any of its supplements breached the WADA drug code, and that Dank never directly treated players nor worked directly for the club but it admit that Melbourne’s club doctor Dan Bates and sports scientists Stephen Dank had been in communication prior to the launch of ASADA’s investigation into Essendon, though Bates always had the final say in any treatment for Demons players. Melbourne said in its statement that Dank, at no point of time, was able to directly treat players and added that Dank and Dr Bates communicated via email, phone and text, regarding supplements (prior to the ASADA investigation).

The team, in the statement, said its processes require Dr Bates to consider the appropriateness of any treatment and make a determination as to its suitability at all times, to ensure that the welfare of our players is always maintained. Meanwhile, Melbourne coach Mark Neeld refused to reveal whether he had any knowledge of the club’s supplement program and said he is confident in the club’s processes and said we all should support the investigation and let’s have an investigation.

The AFL, which last week said Essendon was the only club involved in the wider Australian sport anti-doping investigation, approached the Melbourne Football Club to ascertain the club’s involvement with Stephen Dank and added that Melbourne provided the AFL with an explanation, however the matter has remained open as part of the AFL’s broader investigation into Dank’s activities with AFL clubs. The AFL said in a statement that it was not previously aware of the claims broadcasted by ABC’s 7.30 Report and these will form part of ongoing investigations by ASADA and the AFL and also added that the AFL is urgently seeking a further explanation from Melbourne Football Club about the veracity of the claims and how they can be reconciled with previous statements from the club.

Meanwhile, Demons face a critical clash with Greater Western Sydney Giants at the MCG on Sunday, after having a terrible season, losing their first three matches by huge margins

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Tuesday 23, Apr 2013

Anzac League Test May Get Disrupted With Doping Tests

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Anzac League Test May Get Disrupted With Doping Tests

If the Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority requests interviews with players in the Kiwis and Kangaroos teams, the preparations for the Anzac Day test in Canberra could be disrupted for both sides.

Meanwhile, Rugby League International Federation chairman, New Zealander Scott Carter, admitted that he has concerns about the World Cup could be affected by players serving bans during the tournament. The members of the playing teams are presently under doubt and a potential cloud hangs over both camps in their preparation as the Australian Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) has begun its interview process with the 31 NRL players it claims breached anti-doping regulations during the 2011 season. The anti-doping agency, based in Canberra, has already issued several infraction notices, calling players in for extensive interviewing.

There is a possibility that some of the Kangaroos players may be caught up in the investigation, Coach Tim Sheens admits but said that he is retaining a solitary focus on getting his side ready for the Anzac Day test in Canberra. Sheens added that he is not going to worry himself about it and would go on to concentrate on preparing the team and also remarked that the team will address anything adverse at the same time if that happens. The Kangaroos coach also remarked that we have only got a short preparation, so his aim at the moment is to get the team ready and worry about other things.

It is rumored that Kiwis back rower Jeremy Smith is one of the players in the spotlight of the Australian Anti-Doping Agency as he was at Cronulla Sharks in 2011, the team and year ASADA is most concerned about. The player is certain to be named in the New Zealand side but New Zealand Rugby League CEO Phil Holden says he is unaware of any Kiwi players that Asada needs to talk to and said he is not aware of any of the details around it or if any of his players have been contacted and if someone had to be interviewed it would have an impact on them on a personal level.

Many believe that there still remains the possibility of players receiving bans that would take them out of contention for the World Cup, which begins in October. Meanwhile, the prospects of BBC securing the broadcasting rights for the World Cup in the UK and huge exposure during the tournament and open up the game to new markets in Britain outside its powerbase in the north of England may get damaged if Australia and the Kiwis are missing any top stars due to bans for taking illegal performance enhancing drugs.

The bottom line is that any international or national body would be concerned if there were drug issues, especially if they were widespread and whether it’s a national team or a World Cup, nobody would want it tarnished by marquee players missing, Rugby League International Federation chairman, New Zealander Scott Carter, said. He added that the ASADA issue is an interesting one because everyone is still waiting to see whether this is an issue as big as it has been hinted at or not and to date, there is no reason to suspect there would be wholesale decimation of national sides.

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Monday 22, Apr 2013

CONI Given Access To Mantua Files

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CONI Given Access To Mantua Files

Just a few days before the 2013 Giro d’Italia begins in Naples, the Italian national Olympic committee (CONI), is to be given access to evidence gathered by prosecutors as part of the Mantua investigation into doping in cycling. The doping scandal involves big names like Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego and the date for that hearing was fixed by preliminary hearing judge Gilberto Casari, who also permitted CONI to be joined to the case as a civil party.

The investigation is focused on a pharmacist based in Mariana Mantovana, Guido Nigrelli, and his relationship with the Lampre team, with a number of past and present riders and staff among those implicated. The judge’s authorization came after the session was suspended for 40 minutes while the judge considered lawyers’ requests. This incident is different from another probe that is being conducted from Padua and focuses on banned doctor Michele Ferrari and his alleged relationship with riders from a variety of teams.

Former world champion Ballan, who is currently recovering from a bad crash while training for the current season, and 2004 Giro d’Italia winner, Cunego, are among the 31 people said to be potentially facing charges as a result of the Mantua investigation. The list of suspects includes former Lampre team manager and Giro d’Italia and world championship winner Giuseppe Saronni, Danish ex-pro Michael Rasmussen who confessed to doping earlier this year, and current riders including Astana’s Simone Ponzi, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s Mauro Santambrogio, and Daniele Pietropolli, who is now in his fourth season with Lampre.

Alessandro Ballan, the Italian professional road bicycle racer for UCI World Tour team BMC Racing Team, is best known for winning the World Road Race Championships in 2008 and suffered a severe training crash during a descent as he was riding with his team in Spain. Ballan fractured his left femur, broke a rib and ruptured his spleen, which had to be removed and spent a little more than a week in intensive care. Damiano Cunego, the Italian professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Merida and his biggest wins are the 2004 Giro d’Italia, the 2008 Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2004, 2007, 2008. Cunego finished second in the UCI Road World Championships in 2008 and in the 2008 UCI ProTour. He, in 2008, won the Klasika Primavera and the Amstel Gold Race, with two powerful sprints against Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck, with victory in the latter propelling him to the top of the UCI Pro Tour rankings.

The preliminary hearing into the case will consider whether formal charges should be brought against those who have been implicated or not, as well as whether evidence obtained by phone-taps should be admissible. It is not the first time that the Italian Olympic Committee has been involved in the investigation. Its anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri, summoned some of the riders implicated, including Ballan, for interviews at his offices in Rome two years ago although he decided to take no further action pending a criminal trial taking place.

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Sunday 21, Apr 2013

New Test To Catch Cheating Athletes

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New Test To Catch Cheating Athletes

A new test to catch drug cheats in sport has been developed by scientists from three UK universities.

The GH-2004 team, which is based the University of Southampton, has been developing a test over the last decade for misuse of growth hormone in sport with funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and US Anti-Doping Agency and with support from UK Anti-Doping.

The test, used for the first time by King’s College London analysts at the anti-doping laboratory for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is developed by scientists at the University of Southampton, King’s College London and University of Kent at Canterbury and based on the measurement of two proteins in the blood, insulin-like growth factor-I and the amino terminal pro-peptide of type III collagen. Both of the proteins, which act as markers of growth hormone use, lead to an increase in response to growth hormone.

On 8 September 2012, the International Paralympic Committee made an announcement that two power-lifters had received two-year suspensions for Anti-Doping Rule Violations involving growth hormone following an adverse laboratory finding using the new markers test.

Richard Holt, Professor in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Southampton and also a consultant in Diabetes at Southampton General Hospital, said we are pleased to have another effective and reliable means to catch cheats and help deter harmful drug misuse. He added there has been a tremendous amount of team work to develop this test and he is delighted that this dedication has finally succeeded. I would like to thank the World Anti-Doping Agency, US Anti-Doping and UK Anti-Doping for their support and trust in our work.

Professor David Cowan, Head of the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London and Director of the anti-doping laboratory for the Games, said these findings prove that the years of research have been worthwhile. Cowan added this has been one of the most complex scientific projects the Drug Control Centre at King’s has been involved in partnership with the University of Southampton and Kent University and to be able to carry out this test at this year’s Games is a huge achievement. He also remarked that it represents a big step forward in staying at the forefront of anti-doping science, to help deter drug misuse in sport.

Andy Parkinson, UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, adds continual improvement in testing science is fundamental to the global anti-doping movement ensuring that sophisticated dopers are caught and those at a tipping point are deterred. Parkinson said he is delighted that this UK developed test, which his team has been closely involved with, was used at the 2012 Paralympic Games to such good effect.

WADA President John Fahey praised the test by saying the new test – which has been approved by WADA – was first introduced prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and we are confident that it will prove a significant tool in the fight against doping in sport. Fahey also remarked that it will complement the test that has been in use since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the major difference being that the anti-doping community now has a much longer detection window to work with.

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