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Thursday 29, Jun 2017

  Portuguese Cyclist Cardoso Suspended For Doping

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Portuguese cyclist Andre Cardoso has been provisionally suspended after he failed a test for the banned blood-booster Erythropoietin (EPO), according to the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Cardoso had been included in Trek-Segafredo’s team for the Tour de France that includes Alberto Contador.

In a statement, the world governing body of cycling said the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that Portuguese rider Andre Cardoso was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Erythropoietin in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 18 June 2017.

Trek-Segafredo can still replace Cardoso in their nine-man squad for the Tour under the UCI rules, which is spearheaded by twice champion Contador and German John Degenkolb. The team later announced that Spanish veteran Haimar Zubeldia will replace Cardoso on its Tour squad. In a statement, Trek-Segafredo said we hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available.

The 32-year-old Cardoso had managed top-20 finishes in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. He was to be one of the domestiques of Contador in the mountains on the Tour de France that runs from July 1-23.

Since 2008, Cardoso has raced professionally. This was his first season with the Trek-Segafredo professional cycling team. Before this, Cardoso raced for four years with the Slipstream Sports outfit — first Garmin-Sharp, then Cannondale-Garmin and Cannondale-Drapac.

In a statement, Andre Cardoso remarked that he has already requested his B sample to be tested. Cardoso also said that getting the chance to ride at the pinnacle of professional cycling is the greatest honor he could ever hope for, and he was looking forward to doing his best for his team and himself at the Tour. The Portuguese cyclist also commented that he believes in clean sport and had always conducted himself as a clean athlete, but he realizes that this news puts a dark cloud on not just himself but also on our sport and his team, teammates, and staff. Cardoso went on to add that those people are my friends and colleagues before anything else and for whom he had unlimited respect, and under no circumstances he would ever do something that could put them, their families or their reputations in jeopardy.

In the statement, Cardoso added he is fully aware that he will be presumed to be guilty and added but it is important to him to say that he is devastated by this news and he wanted to state that he had never taken any illegal substances. The cyclist from Portugal added that he had seen firsthand through his career the awful effects that performance enhancing drugs have had on our sport, and he would never want to be a part of that. Cardoso added he had always tried to be a constructive influence in the peloton and on young, aspiring cyclists and added it is his great hope that the B sample will come back as negative and will clear him of any wrongdoing.

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Wednesday 15, Jul 2015

  Former Doping Cheat Diagnosed With Same Cancer As Lance Armstrong

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Two-time former Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso has ended his participation in the 2015 Tour de France after revealing he has testicular cancer.

The Italian rider was expected to be a critical support rider for Alberto Contador, one of the favorites, in the mountain stages that start today. However, the 37-year-old said he is heading back to Italy for treatment. Basso said at the Tinkoff-Saxo team’s hotel in Pau on Tour rest day that he had a really small crash and on the crash in stage number five and he touched his testicle on the saddle. Basso, who had been banned for two years for doping in the past, further added that he felt a small pain for a few days and then his doctor spoke with the doctor of the Tour and we decided to go to make a special analysis to the hospital. Basso said the medical examination gave a bad news that he has a small cancer in the left testicle.

Basso said he had to leave but added he wanted to give his support to his captain, Alberto Contador, to be in yellow in Paris and want to say thanks to his team for their support in this situation and the whole Tour organization and medical staff. Upon learning of Basso’s medical condition, an emotional Contador said we never imagined something like that and added the news had been hard to take both for him personally and the rest of the team.

Contador, who won his second Giro d’Italia this May, could become the first rider since Marco Pantani (in 1998) to win Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the same year.

Steven de Jongh, Head Sport Director of Tinkoff-Saxo, remarked today is not a day to speak about the Tour de France, the days ahead or Alberto’s main rivals on the mount stages. Jongh also remarked all that is irrelevant and we are all here solely to support Ivan and the entire team hopes to meet him again in Paris and hand him the yellow jersey.

Lance Armstrong, the former rival of Ivan Basso, survived testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain. The disgraced cyclist immediately tweeted his support and tweeted: “Thinking about @ivanbasso and wishing him the very best as he embarks on his cancer journey. #IvanSTRONG!!”

The Italian professional road bicycle racer, nicknamed Ivan the Terrible, is considered one of the strongest stage race riders. Basso is regarded by many as among the best mountain riders in the professional field in the 21st century. Basso won the Giro d’Italia twice, one for Team CSC in 2006 and one for Liquigas in 2010.

Basso’s not new to controversies. The Tour de France management announced at a press conference on June 30, 2006 that a number of riders, including Basso, would not be riding in the 2006 Tour de France because of rumors of blood doping stemming from the Operación Puerto investigation. It was rumored that Basso received blood doping by the Dr. Fuentes. Basso was acquitted for any involvement in the Operation Puerto events on October 27, 2006 because of insufficient evidence. In 2007, Basso admitted he was planning to use doping products and was suspended for two years. Basso’s suspension ended on October 24, 2008.

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Sunday 10, May 2015

  Giro d’Italia May Seek Damages From UCI Over Astana Doping Affair

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Giro d’Italia May Seek Damages From UCI Over Astana Doping Affair

RCS Sport, organizer of the Giro d’Italia, has said it is ready to ask the world governing body of cycling for damages if the ongoing Astana WorldTour License case has an adverse effect on its 2015 race.

Race Director Mauro Vegni wants to avoid a repeat of Giro d’Italia of 2011 when Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador won the overall title and was stripped of the title because of an ongoing doping case stemming from the Tour de France event in 2010. The case of Contador where he defended himself against using Clenbuterol took 18 months to resolve. Vegni said he is ready to ask the UCI for damages if we should have a repeat of the 2011 case with Contador and remarked that it still bothers him to think of that Giro title they stripped. In 2011 Giro d’Italia, Italian Michele Scarponi who was placed second received the title after the case of Contador closed.

Vegni also remarked he hopes this is a Giro without controversy and a little sun, but he is worried with the Astana case still in the hands of the UCI’s license commission. The Race Director added he told Brian Cookson, the UCI President, that he does not want a team that is under investigation in the Giro d’Italia.

Vegni’s concerns may now have been answered with the UCI License Commission granting the WorldTour license to Team Astana.

This May, Team Astana’s rider Fabio Aru is one of the favorites to win the Giro along with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Team Sky’s Richie Porte, and Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick Step). Fabio Aru finished third last year behind Colombian winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

In another development, Team Astana has revealed training methods for Grand Tour team leaders Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru who are preparing for the Ardennes Classics, the Giro del Trentino, the Tour de France, and Giro d’Italia. Nibali and Aru have been training at altitude at Teide on the Spanish island of Tenerife under the eye of Astana team coach Paolo Slongo and his assistant Maurizio Mazzoleni. Astana team coach explained that Tour de France 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali required the long training camp for clearing his mind of the responsibility and pressure of being the current winner of the Tour de France. Nibali is targeting the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege while Aru is all set to rider in Giro del Trentino before taking on Contador and Porte at the Giro d’Italia.

Slongo remarked a lot has changed for Vincenzo after winning the Tour de France. The Astana team coach said Nibali arrived at Teide a bit overloaded with all the extra things he’d been doing and let us say he was more stressed out than usual. He added the camp was useful in helping clear Nibali’s head and rediscover himself. Slongo also remarked that we worked with him a lot, on what he was missing in the first part of the season such as the changes of rhythm and above threshold efforts. He also commented that the Amstel Gold Race and Fleche-Wallonne will polish his form, while Vincenzo has something to prove at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

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Sunday 14, Sep 2014

  Astana Fires Valentin Iglinsky Over Positive Test

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Astana Fires Valentin Iglinsky Over Positive Test

Valentin Iglinsky, a Kazakh road racing cyclist who rides for UCI ProTour team Astana, has been fired with immediate effect from the team. Iglinsky has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair in accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules and the cyclist has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.

This was after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body of cycling, announced that it has notified Kazakh rider Valentin Iglinsky for an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in a sample collected in the scope of the 2014 Eneco Tour on 11 August 2014. In a statement released shortly afterwards, the Astana team said Iglinsky has confessed to doping and has been sacked with immediate effect. The statement on Team Astana read management at Astana Pro Team have taken direct and immediate action to release the rider from his contract following the announcement by the Union Cycliste Internationale of a positive anti-doping test result for Valentin Iglinsky during the recent Eneco Tour.

It was added by Astana statement that Valentin has admitted to using prohibited substances on his own initiative and independently, without any consultation from the Astana Pro Team staff. The statement also added Astana Pro Team in its wish for full transparency has refused to defend a rider who failed to respect the rules and ethics as stipulated in his contract and who has failed to behave in a manner consistent with other riders in his team and within professional cycling.

The 30-year-old Kazakh rider finished the Eneco Tour in 96th place. He returned a positive sample on the opening stage of the race and raced twice more before his positive sample came to light. Valentin finished 106th at the Vattenfall Cyclassics and 49th at the Brussels Cycling Classic. Valentin took the overall classification in the Tour of Hainan in both 2010 and 2011 and is a part winner of stages in races like the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the Tour of Bulgaria, the Presidential Tour of Turkey, and the Tour du Loir et Cher. Valentin Iglinsky, a professional since 2009, is the younger brother of Astana’s Maxim Iglinsky, who won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012.

Team Astana is a member of the Movement For Credible Cycling, formed in July 2007.

The history of Team Astana has been marked by a series of doping cases. Current general manager Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping as a rider on the squad at the 2007 Tour de France. Alberto Contador was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title following a positive test for Clenbuterol.

In another development, Vuelta a Espana leader Alberto Contador has remarked the World Championships course in Ponferrada does not suit him. The Spaniard of team Tinkoff-Saxo said there are other riders who he thinks can help the Spanish team more and should go and he will rather give his place to them. Many in the cycling world believe this year’s 254-kilometre race (14 laps of 18.2km) will suit riders like Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano).

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Monday 28, Jul 2014

  Nibali Wins 2014 Tour De France, Praises Doping Controls

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Nibali Wins 2014 Tour De France, Praises Doping Controls

Vincenzo Nibali emerged on Sunday as the first Italian winner of the Tour de France in 16 years on Sunday. The Italian rider praised the efforts of cycling’s anti-doping agencies before he won the coveted trophy.

The 29-year-old said he would not be here if there had not been all these controls, targeted controls, and the biological passport. In 2008, Nibali finished 19th in the Tour that was the same year in which the biological passport was implemented by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Astana rider remarked a lot of progress has been made and we can see the results now. Nibali also added he is ready to accept the idea that his samples would be stored for future testing.

After his Tour win, Nibali said the Vuelta for him was the most important because it showed him that he could aim to win big tours like the Giro and the Tour in the following years. The Italian professional road bicycle racer, considered one of the strongest stage race riders in the world, added it is obvious that for him (as Italian) the Giro is very important but it is also special for the Italian fans and added but what makes the Tour so much bigger is the international attention it demands.

Vincenzo Nibali added he has taken his place in the history of the Tour and that is very important, but those others also made their names in other great races, such as the classics. Nibali added he never thought about making history, and said he just concentrated on trying to win the Tour, like he won the Giro and the Vuelta, because he is a stage racer. The cyclist went on to add that of course there are other races that he want to win, like the Tour of Lombardy in which he had come close many times but not had the luck or the World Championships, which he tried to win last year, or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Astana rider added he had always liked these races and he did like to try to win them, even though he is more suited to stage races.

Nibali joins Italian Felice Gimondi, Belgian Eddy Merckx, Spaniard Alberto Contador, and Frenchmen Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil as the only men to have won all three Grand Tours. He also joined five other cyclists, including Eddy Merckx, who have won all three of cycling’s grand tours — the Tour, the Vuelta a España, and the Giro d’Italia.

His previous best finish in the Tour de France was third place, behind Britain’s Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in 2012.

Nibali’s Tour win was benefited from the misfortunes of Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. Froome quit early after three crashes and Contador (who was stripped of his Tour de France 2010 win for using Clenbuterol, a banned substance) hit a hole in the pavement and broke his leg. Nibali won decisive four stages of the Tour, including the Vosges, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. The rider also wore the yellow jersey as the race leader for 19 of the 21 stages.

On Saturday evening, Nibali had remarked the Tour de France this year was a great race, very different than the Tours we’ve had in the past. He added it was just about made to measure for him and it was very difficult from the beginning.

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Monday 30, Jun 2014

  Tinkoff-Saxo Sidelines Kreuziger

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Roman Kreuziger has been sidelined by Tinkoff-Saxo team because of doping allegations. It was further disclosed that Kreuziger will not support Alberto Contador in the Tour de France.

According to a statement published on website of the team, the Union Cycliste Internationale is likely due to instigate disciplinary proceedings against Kreuziger arising from an alleged violation of its anti-doping rules due to abnormalities detected in his biological passport in 2011 and 2012.

In a press release, Roman Kreuziger denied taking any forbidden substances or using any forbidden methods and said that an independent inquiry concluded that his passport values were due to causes that were not due to the use of doping substances or methods. The Czech professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTour team Team Tinkoff-Saxo remarked he asked the UCI for an extension, past the end of June 30 this month but was not allowed.

Tinkoff-Saxo team said in a statement the team has decided, in agreement with Roman, that he will not ride in any races including this year’s Tour de France until more information becomes available to the team and added though he won’t be racing for now, until more information becomes available to the team it will not provisionally suspend Roman unless required by the UCI or the Czech Federation.

It was alleged by the UCI’s Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAFD) that the blood passport profile of Kreuziger revealed abnormalities from March to August 2011 and from April 2012 until the end of that year’s Giro d’Italia when Kreuziger rode for Astana. In June 2013, Kreuziger was notified by the UCI that CAFD considered his data as suspect and he thereafter informed his team. The team’s press release said Kreuziger was adamant that he never used doping methods or substances and added the team through its own medical staff and independent verification was satisfied that Roman’s blood profile had valid medical and scientific explanations other than the use of doping methods or substances and this was subsequently confirmed by the expert opinions Roman shared with the team.

Two exculpatory medical opinions were provided by Kreuziger to the UCI in October 2013 but the world governing body of cycling refused to accept his explanation for the passport abnormalities. Kreuziger provided a third opinion arguing that the profile fluctuation may not be attributed solely to doping methods and that the conclusions of CAFD’s Experts Panel had limited scientific supporting evidence. Kreuziger remarked in order to obtain a certain technical evaluation of the data in his biological passport, he should emphasize that the experts he appointed are trustworthy, independent and of three different nationalities and he requested an assessment from them that was absolutely and totally unbiased and as objective as possible.

Kreuziger, while racing for Liquigas, admitted to having worked with Michele Ferrari in his first year as a professional in 2013. The rider occupied the fifth place at Giro d’Italia in 2011 and at Tour de France in 2013.

The Tour de France starts on July 5 with Contador, a two-time winner, expected to be the main challenger to Chris Froome, last year’s champion.

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Friday 17, Jan 2014

  Frank Schleck Resumes Racing After Doping Ban

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Frank Schleck Resumes Racing After Doping Ban

Cyclist Frank Schleck, the ex-RadioShack Nissan Trek leader who tested positive for banned substance at 2012 Tour de France, has denied being a drug cheat. Schleck made this statement after arriving in Australia to resume racing after a ban of twelve months.

Frank Schleck was banned by the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency for testing positive for Xipamide during the Tour de France in 2012. At that time, the cyclist remarked of course he is disappointed by the verdict that has just been announced and added he thinks that the decision to suspend him during one year is too severe considering the fact that the Council acknowledged that he unintentionally consumed a contaminated product. Schleck added unfortunately the provisions of the UCI are such that an involuntary contamination is sufficient in order to pronounce a punishment. He however expressed satisfaction by the verdict by saying he is however relieved that the judges acknowledged that the present is not a case of doping and that he had no intention to enhance his performance. Schleck went on to add that this is very important for him, his family, for his team and all those who support him.

The Tour de Suisse and Amstel Gold champion will make a comeback with the Santos Tour Down Under, a UCI WorldTour cycling race, in Adelaide in January. The 33-year-old Luxembourger will head the new-look team Trek Factory Racing alongside new Australian signing Calvin Watson from January 19-26 in the WorldTour season opener.

Known as a strong rider in the hilly one-day classics and contender in the Grand Tours, Franck Schleck was banned from 14 July, 2012 and his ban expired on 14th of July 2013. Frank missed the Tour de France 2013 that started on June 29.

Schleck remarked first of all he wanted to start (the season) straight away, so he had the option between Argentina and Australia, and Australia has a big passion and commitment for cycling, there are great people over there who love cycling and that’s why he is really excited to go there. Frank’s brother and former Tour de France champion, Andy (who was handed the 2010 Tour title after Spanish winner Alberto Contador was disqualified for a positive doping test), will not be returning to Adelaide and will instead attend a team training camp in Spain. Franks said Andy told him a lot about it, he said it’s a greatly organized race, it’s really warm though and you’ve got to fight the heat and jet lag but he said you will enjoy the race, and he checked the parcours and they made it hillier and harder so he is looking forward to it.

Frank Schleck also remarked the team also wanted him to go to Australia to represent a strong team and he strongly believes he will be all right, and he will do his best to get a nice result. He also remarked he is all excited and happy to race again there are going to be a lot of guys who are going to be fresh for the first race of the season.

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Monday 04, Nov 2013

  Armstrong Was Clean After Comeback, Believes Schleck

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Armstrong Was Clean After Comeback, Believes Schleck

Andy Schleck, who was retroactively awarded the 2010 Tour de France win last year, says he believes former American cyclist Lance Armstrong when he said he did not dope after his comeback.

Schleck remarked he is confident that Lance was clean there because he beat him and, he mean, Armstrong won seven Tours de France titles. The Luxembourger finished runner up at the Tour de France three times and was handed the 2010 win when Alberto Contador was stripped of the title. He remarked Lance cheated in these seven tours but still he won these seven tours and so Lance still was a good rider and he made his comeback and got beaten the first year by Alberto and him.

In a televised interview this year, Lance Armstrong admitted that he had cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles by using banned performance enhancing substances. The cyclist, who has vehemently denied all allegations all these years, however denied any doping on his return from retirement in 2009.

The culture in cycling had changed and some of the comments made by Armstrong had been encouraging in that regard, remarked Orica-GreenEdge rider Simon Gerrans, who was defending the Tour Down Under title. The Australian said the fight against doping is an ongoing battle and he does not think any sport will ever be one hundred percent clean because people cheat–that’s human nature. Gerrans added but in saying that, he thinks one of the positive things that come out of Lance’s confession was that he did mention that the biological passport that has been in place now for several years, basically it made it impossible for him to do the things he was doing in the past – to cheat and win the Tour de France.

 

Cycling commentator Phil Liggett said Armstrong’s tears while he was discussing the impact of the lies on his family were probably genuine enough. He added he believes the only reason he’s come clean, except for the fact that he’s been forced to come clean, is that he would love to race again and he’d give anything to do that. Liggett added he doesn’t think at the moment he’s done enough to be given a relief on his life sentence, because we need to know names and how he managed to trick five hundred controllers throughout his career.

BMC rider Philippe Gilbert remarked he doesn’t think it’s important to talk about Armstrong and added he thinks we are just looking forward to starting the season and to finally speaking about sport. Gilbert added this is part of the story of cycling of course, but this is the past and we just want to see something different now.

Armstrong recently said the lifetime ban on him was like “death penalty” and cheaters other than him were given lighter punishments. Armstrong said he was wrong and the ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who support me and believed in me and they got lied to. He remarked the penalty he was given by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was much harsher than the sanctions dished out to other self-confessed cheats.

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Thursday 18, Apr 2013

  Contador Confirms Participation After Return From Ban

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Contador Confirms Participation After Return From Ban

Alberto Contador, widely considered to be the best climbing specialist and stage racer in the world, has confirmed that he has taken the decision to start la Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The Spanish professional cyclist, one of the five riders to have won all three Grand Tours of road cycling, has been complaining of fatigue since falling ill during mid-March’s Tirreno-Adriatico. The rider finished third in the 2010 edition of la Flèche Wallonne and finished 11th in 2011 before he was retrospectively disqualified because of his 2010 Tour de France positive test for Clenbuterol.

Contador said the last week has been dedicated primarily to rest and added because he needed it, and he has only done two longer trainings, looking for the endurance you need for these races. The rider added that the idea is to test his condition and increase the chances of his team. He further added that Saxo-Tinkoff wanted him to be here and, of course, they are races that everyone likes to ride, but in preparing for the Tour de France it’s perhaps better to miss them and added but he only has to extend his competition schedule by another week, so he’ll try to do the best he can and said he will take a holiday before starting preparation for the Tour.

Contador has earned a reputation as an all-rounder, a cyclist who excels in all aspects of stage racing that are needed for high places in the general classification. His career has been marked by doping allegations. Alberto Contador was accused to be related with the Operación Puerto doping case and had to withdraw en masse from the 2006 Tour de France before it began and thereafter he was accused of doping after his victory in the race the following year. In 2007, German doping expert Werner Franke accused the cyclist of having taken drugs in the past and being prescribed a doping regimen by Eufemiano Fuentes, who was connected with Operación Puerto. In the year 2010, the cyclist announced that he had tested positive for Clenbuterol in a control taken during that year’s Tour de France, in which he finished as winner. The world governing body of cycling, the UCI, issued a statement reporting that the concentration was 50 picograms per milliliter, and that this was 400 times below the minimum standards of detection capability required by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport later announced that the Spanish cyclist be stripped from the results obtained in the 2010 Tour de France and later, which also caused him to lose his 2011 Giro d’Italia victory despite Alberto Contador claiming that the positive test for Clenbuterol was due to contaminated meat. The cyclist was, however, also suspended until 5 August 2012, and his contract with Team Saxo Bank was annulled and he joined the renamed Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff bank after completion of the ban. Upon his return, the Spanish cyclist competed in the 2012 Eneco Tour as preparation for the Vuelta a España where he finished 4th in the general classification and was later named leader of Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank for the Vuelta a España.

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Thursday 21, Mar 2013

  Spanish Doping Doctor May Shame Football And Other Sports

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Spanish Doping Doctor May Shame Football And Other Sports

The doctor at the center of the massive Operation Puerto blood doping trial has told the court that he would name the clients whose blood has been seized.

Eufemiano Fuentes, who is on trial for allegedly running a doping network in cycling and ran one of sport’s largest blood-doping rings, threatened to name all his former clients. The Spanish doctor made the offer through reporters during Spain’s Operation Puerto trial. Fuentes remarked that if the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Spanish drugs authorities consider that he can be useful and sought his help, he would be willing. He added that this would not be done for a reduced sentence but rather so there is mutual collaboration and also remarked they can have his client list if they want. Till now, only 54 cyclists, including Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and Alejandro Valverde, have been personally implicated in the scandal.

Fuentes has admitted to having worked with people in football, tennis, boxing, and athletics and said cycling only comprised 30 percent of his work. This change of heart came as the world governing body of cycling urged the judge to show no leniency. The doctor faces up to two-and-a-half years in jail on public health charges and the five defendants on trial, including the Spanish doctor’s sister, Yolanda, will have one final opportunity to address the court on April 2 before sentencing commences. The defendants have been appearing in court since late January, almost seven years after police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment and blood bags as part of an investigation code-named “Operation Puerto”.

The trial proceedings have attracted international scrutiny and attention as anti-doping authorities are hopeful that it will finally lead to evidence of wrongdoing by athletes in sports other than cycling. Previously, a request by WADA for access to the blood bags was repeatedly denied by the Spanish authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency awaits the ruling of the judge on their latest petition. Since the current anti-doping legislation of Spain was not in force in 2006 when the police raids took place, the defendants are tried for violating public health regulations with the prosecutor asking for jail sentences of two years.

In the past, German cyclist Joerg Jaksche told the Operation Puerto trial that the treatment he received from the Spanish doctor was designed to beat doping controls and had nothing to do with genuine health issues. Italian rider Ivan Basso, a double Giro d’Italia champion, told the court that he had blood extracted on three occasions at the clinic of another doctor implicated in the case but never had any reinjected. Spanish cyclist Angel Vicioso told the judge he had only met with Eufemiano Fuentes for sporadic medical consultations. Former cyclist Marcos Serrano contradicted testimony from former team director Manolo Saiz, one of the five defendants along with Fuentes, by saying he never personally sought out medical treatment from the disgraced Spanish doctor. Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador who was originally scheduled to appear as a witness was told he would not be required to appear in court after Manolo Saiz’s attorney renounced the witness statement he had requested from the cyclist.

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