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Monday 05, Oct 2015

  Doping Samples At Tour De France To Be Stored For Ten Years

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The doping control samples submitted by riders in the Tour de France will be stored for a period of ten years for the purpose of retrospective analysis. This announcement was made by the UCI, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), and French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, announced that all three bodies have agreed to keep the samples for potential retrospective analyses in the future. The statement read all the collected samples as for all Grand Tours concerning the best five riders in the general classification will be kept for ten years for potential retrospective analyses. In total, 656 doping controls were carried out at the Tour de France and 482 blood samples were analyzed against the biological passport.

In a press release, UCI president Brian Cookson said he would like to emphasize again the excellent climate in which all the stakeholders involved in the fight against doping are working together on a daily basis for the benefit of the sport.

Cookson, said we can be confident of the robustness of our program thanks to the sharing of information between all anti-doping actors and a strategy focused on even more targeted controls. Dr Francesco Rossi of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation remarked targeted controls have been strengthened by testers based on information offered by sources and the support of an intelligence analyst.

Katusha’s Luca Paolini was kicked off the Tour de France after he tested positive for cocaine. Paolini, who won Gent-Wevelgem earlier this year, tested positive after producing an adverse analytical finding of cocaine following a test taken after the cobbled stage 4 of the French Grand Tour. Paolini has been provisionally suspended by his team and is still awaiting the result of his B sample. In July this year, the UCI announced Paolini was informed of an Adverse Analytical Finding of Cocaine (Benzoylecgonine metabolite) in a sample collected in the scope of an in-competition control on 7 July 2015 during the Tour de France. Cocaine is banned in-competition, but not outside of competition. The 38-year-old faces a possible four-year ban if his B-sample analysis confirms the positive. Paolini has been claiming innocence but apologize for the damage he and the positive test had caused.

Paolini’s former teammate Giampaolo Caruso was suspended by the team after he tested positive via retrospective testing for Erythropoietin in 2012. Caruso returned a positive test for EPO in an out-of-competition anti-doping test taken on March 27, 2012. In a statement, Team Katusha had remarked it was informed by the UCI that Italian rider Giampaolo Caruso has been notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding. It was added that the presence of erythropoietin has been detected in a sample collected on 27th March 2012 the rider has been provisionally suspended in accordance with the UCI Regulations. This is the second anti-doping offense of Caruso as he tested positive for Nandrolone on January 25, 2003 and received a suspension of six months. The Italian rider was due to start the Vuelta a España behind team leader Joaquim Rodriguez but was suspended before.

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Thursday 05, Feb 2015

  Russian Steeplechaser And Heptathlete Banned, Bans For Skiing Champions

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The Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA has announced that steeplechaser Yulia Zaripova has been banned for two and a half years for doping offences.

The 28-year-old was suspended after her biological passport showed abnormalities and her results from June 20 to August 20 2011 and July 3-September 3 2012 have been annulled. Zaripova set a new personal best by winning the gold in the women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012.

Zaripova also won gold in the world championships in South Korea in 2011. Her Olympics result has been annulled and she could lose the gold medal though she is allowed to keep her gold of world championships. The suspension imposed on Zaripova was backdated from July 2013 that leaves her eligible to compete in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. If she is stripped of the gold medal, it could go to second-placed Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia.

RUSADA also announced that heptathlete Tatyana Chernova has also been banned for taking illegal substances. Tatyana, the double Olympic bronze medalist, had a sample from the 2009 world championships in Berlin retested in 2013 following a request by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). She tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Oral Turinabol and has been suspended for two years, starting from July 22 2013. Tatyana’s results from August 2009 to August 2011 have been annulled but she is allowed to keep her gold medal at the 2011 world championships.

The Russian anti-doping agency also announced that a ban of three months has been imposed on Yuri Gavrilov, the cross-country skier, after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Gavrilov received the three-month ban backdated to September 23, 2014, by the Russian cross-country skiing federation. The ban imposed on Gavrilov is the third to emerge in the last few days after reigning national junior champion Nikita Mashkin and another skier, Arina Kalinina, received doping bans of two years each for unspecified breaches of anti-doping rules. Nikita, the 20-year-old reigning national junior cross-country skiing champion over 50 kilometers from Russia, and female youth skier Arina Kalinina, were banned for anti-doping violations.

Recently, three Olympic walking champions, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin and Sergei Kirdyapkin, as well as 2011 world champion Sergei Bakulin and silver medalist Vladimir Kanaykin were suspended for doping offences.

Russia has been under clouds of doping suspicion after a German TV documentary revealed recorded statements of athletes including 800-meter gold medal winner Maria Savinova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova who admitted to taking banned substances. Investigations have been opened by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the IAAF into the accusations made by the German broadcaster ARD program that alleged Russian athletics bosses oversaw systematic doping and RUSADA officials covered up positive tests.

In a statement, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the doping bans imposed on Chernova and Zaripova proved that the existing system of doping controls was working despite a series of scandals. Mutko said we are of course very upset with our top athletes’ doping violations but added on the other hand it shows that the system of doping control in our country works well. The Sports Minister also remarked we work hard to protect the young generation of honest athletes, to show them that every doping offence will be sooner or later penalized.

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Thursday 08, Jan 2015

  Anti-doping Regulations For 2015 Revamped By UCI

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Anti-doping Regulations For 2015 Revamped By UCI

The Union Cycliste Internationale, the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events, has revamped its rules in line with the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.

The new rules now includes a 10-year statute of limitations (up from eight), more explicit consequences for riders who are found associated with banned individuals, the ability to impose anti-doping rule violations on individuals based upon third-party testimony, four-year bans for serious doping cases, and more clarity on Therapeutic Use Exemptions. The world governing body of cycling’s rules now allow it to ban and impose fine on teams for incurring multiple doping violations.

The new regulations allow the UCI to impose fines a WorldTour or Professional Continental team five per cent of their annual budget upon the second and the third confirmed doping sanctions in a 12-month period. Now, teams can face suspension from international competition for a period of 15-45 days upon the second notification of an anti-doping rule violation, depending on a decision by the UCI Disciplinary Commission. Previously, teams were punished only for an individual rider’s anti-doping rule violation in relation to a team competition, such as a team time trial or team pursuit, by result disqualifications.

Cheating cyclists who promptly admit to doping can have their doping ban reduced to two years depending on the seriousness of the violation.

A comment reads use or Attempted Use may also be established by other reliable means such as admissions by the Rider, witness statements, documentary evidence, conclusions drawn from longitudinal profiling, including data collected as part of the Rider Biological Passport, or other analytical information which does not otherwise satisfy all the requirements to establish “Presence” of a Prohibited Substance under Article 2.1.

The new UCI anti-doping regulations apply to everyone who is participating in cycling events in any capacity, and anyone associated with teams, support, or preparation of riders, whether they have a UCI license or not. The new rules state that any association by riders with a banned individual “in a professional or sport-related capacity” can result in an anti-doping rule violation. The specific language of the latest anti-doping regulations allows for a rider to receive punishment to be punished for associating not only with someone who has been banned for an anti-doping rule violation but also anyone who has been “convicted or found in a criminal, disciplinary or professional proceeding” to have done something that would constitute an anti-doping rule violation if the rules had been applied to them.

The world governing body of cycling also included a provision to apply the rules to individuals who are a “front or intermediary” for a banned person. The UCI however specifies that riders will be provided ample warning before they will be punished. Under the rules, it is necessary in order for this provision to apply that the Rider or other Person has previously been advised in writing by an Anti-Doping Organization with jurisdiction over the Rider or other Person, or by WADA, of the Rider Support Person’s disqualifying status and the potential consequence of prohibited association.

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Sunday 07, Dec 2014

  Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

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Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

Three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova paid more than $600,000 to the Russian track federation for avoiding a doping suspension, according to his agent Andrei Baranov.

The French sports newspaper L’Equipe made this stunning revelation and cited a deposition that the agent provided to the Ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). L’Equipe also reported that Liliya was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she paid the money in three installments in January, June, and July 2012 despite she violating doping rules in 2011.

Liliya was eventually banned in April 2014 by the Russian Federation for two years after blood doping was indicated by irregularities in her biological passport. Her suspension annulled all her results after October 9, 2009 that included all three Chicago wins and her 2010 London Marathon victory. However, the Russian athlete is still listed as Chicago champion in 2009-10-11 pending the outcome of her appeal. After her suspension was announced, Liliya asked for reimbursement of the apparent bribes and received only two-thirds of what she had paid. L’Equipe reported the bribe money could have been used for paying off an official of the International Association of Athletics Federations or officials for suppressing positive tests.

The IAAF has now appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for imposing a ban of four years on Shobukhova. In a statement, the IAAF said there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

In another development, German TV network ARD disclosed Russia has been funding a widespread “East German-style” doping program for its athletes participating in national and international events. The investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt’s documentary revealed that a wide network of corruption exists to cover up doping positives and doping products are used by up to “99%” of the Russian Olympic team. ARD also disclosed that Mariya Savinova, the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion, was captured admitting to making the use of Oxandrolone (Anavar). The German broadcaster also revealed that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, said banned substances were provided to her by her coach. Valentin Balakhnichev, who serves as the treasurer for the IAAF and is the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, was also accused by ARD in the Shobukhova case. ARD also implicated Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system.

Yulia Stepanova accused Sergei Portugalov, the head of the Russian federation’s medical department, of supplying doping products in return for 5 percent of the earnings of an athlete plus bonuses for competition wins. The former 800m runner who is now banned for abnormalities in her biological passport also remarked Russian athletes had avoided out-of-competition testing by using false names during foreign training camps.

David Howman, the general director of the World Anti-Doping Association, described Hajo Seppelt’s documentary allegations as “shocking”.

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Saturday 01, Nov 2014

  Tiernan-Locke Says He Has No Respect For The Doping Sanction

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Tiernan-Locke Says He Has No Respect For The Doping Sanction

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, the former Team Sky rider who was banned from cycling for two years in July, hits back at UCI President Brian Cookson. The cyclist remarked he has no respect for the doping sanction placed on him after Cookson described him as “foolish” for comments he made about the governing body and its disciplinary procedures.

Tiernan-Locke described the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) hearing into his case as a “Mickey Mouse court” when he appeared at the Exmoor Beast sportive. The cyclist added he will make a return to professional bike racing when his doping ban ends in December 2015 and remarked he will take some kind of coaching in the meantime.

Speaking at the Tour de France route presentation, Cookson said it is very foolish and not a wise thing for Jonathan to term UKAD anti-doping hearing as a Mickey Mouse court. Cookson said Jonathan has to look at the terms and conditions of his sanction and added that he is afraid that he is banned from coaching or any event in any capacity that has anything to do with the UCI or any national federation affiliated with the UCI. Cookson went on to add that the cyclist would be wise to accept his sanction and if he wants to return in two years, then let us see what happens. Tiernan-Locke responded by saying that he would not waste his time reading the terms and has no respect for the sanction. The cyclist added he has no faith in the governing body and said he will continue coaching and giving advice to athletes and nobody can stop him from doing that.

The 29-year-old from Devon became the first Sky rider to be banned under anti-doping rules.  The former Team Sky rider was banned for anomalies in his biological passport. The 29-year-old has maintained that the discrepancy was due to dehydration brought on by a binge drinking session 32 hours earlier. Tiernan-Locke was stripped of his 2012 Tour of Britain title after the positive test and is also stripped of his result from 2012 World Championship road race. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is ineligible to race until December 31, 2015. The contract of Jonathan was terminated by Team Sky after his anti-doping suspension was confirmed. Sky team principal Dave Brailsford had remarked Jonathan’s contract has been terminated and added whilst there have been no doubts about his time with us, his doping violation – from readings taken before he joined this team – means there’s no place for him in Team Sky. We’ve a well-known stance on anti-doping and our action is the inevitable outcome of a violation.

The UCI, in a statement, had revealed that it confirms receipt of the United Kingdom National Anti-Doping Panel’s decision on the Jonathan Tiernan-Locke case. It added that a two-year ban was imposed on the rider as a result of his anti-doping rule violation based on his Athlete Biological Passport and he is declared ineligible until December 31, 2015 and disqualified from the 2012 Tour of Britain and the 2012 UCI Road World Championships, competitions during which abnormalities were clearly identified.

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Monday 06, Oct 2014

  Reduced Sanction For Disgraced SA Cyclist

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The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has announced a two-month reduction in the doping sanction of cyclist David George who tested positive for EPO in 2012.

George was cleared to compete last month after he provided substantial assistance to SAIDS. The reduction was in line with the SA Anti-Doping Rules (Article 10.5.3) where an athlete provides substantial assistance to an Anti-Doping Authority. The same panel that ruled on George’s initial sanction evaluated the substantial assistance submission application by the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport on behalf of the athlete and accepted the substantial nature and quality of the assistance.

The detailed reasoned decision has been sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency, Cycling South Africa, and the UCI (the world governing body of cycling). These entities have the right to appeal the reduction in sanction if they are not satisfied that the assistance provided by the athlete did not satisfy the criteria as outlined in the Anti-Doping Rules.

George, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, failed an out-of-competition test on August 29 for Erythropoietin (EPO). Erythropoietin has the ability of increasing the count of red blood cells and can improve the oxygen carrying capacity of the body. Announcing the positive test, SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant said the cyclist’s biological passport indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO and added that a subsequent urine test came back positive for the banned EPO drug. Galant also remarked George’s biological passport, which analyses the athletes blood profile indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO. EPO testing gives us a window of between 6 and 12 hours for testing because that’s how long it will show up in a test.

The South African cyclist did not ask for his B sample to be tested and accepted his punishment. In a statement, George said he knows the result will ultimately be the same and this decision will be communicated to Cycling South Africa (CSA) and Drug-Free Sport shortly and according to protocol. Apologizing to his sponsors, George had remarked Cycling, as you know, has been a confusing space, and although it has given him incredible moments it has also given him experiences that no person or young athlete should have to go through.

David George represented South Africa at two Olympics, in 1996 and 2000. The cyclist won silver in the road race at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and bronze in the time trial in the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998. The marathon mountain biker competed for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service from 1999-2000. George made a successful transition from the road to mountain biking. The cyclist won the overall in the MTN Ultra Marathon series, Old Mutual Joberg2c and the BoE Sani2c stage race. George moved to the Tacconi Sport Vini Caldirola team after turning pro with US Postal in 1999 and spending two years there. The cyclist then moved to the Tacconi Sport Vini Caldirola team and then to the CCC Polsat squad. The cyclist competed with Team Barloworld between 2003 and 2005, but was initially without a pro team for 2006.

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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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Thursday 10, Jul 2014

  UCI Efforts To Stamp Out Doping Applauded By IOC

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Anti-doping efforts initiated by UCI, the world governing body of cycling, have impressed the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.

The IOC remarked Brian Cookson, the UCI president, and other UCI officials met Bach in Lausanne and briefed him on measures for protecting clean athletes and the integrity of the sport of cycling. Bach remarked the efforts of UCI to protect their sport from manipulation of any kind, in particular doping were indeed impressive.

Bach spoke positively of the progress being made by the UCI after having a meeting with the UCI President, UCI director-general Martin Gibbs, and IOC counterpart Christophe De Kepper in Lausanne. Bach remarked the UCI informed me of all the measures they are taking to protect their sport from manipulation of any kind, in particular doping and added these efforts are indeed impressive. The International Olympic Committee President added it was great to see all the stakeholders equally committed to the fight for clean athletes and remarked we also discussed the UCI’s contributions to Olympic Agenda 2020, which will be looked at in even greater detail by Working Groups, and we are thankful for their input.

Cookson thanked Bach for a positive discussion covering a range of issues and said it was very useful to talk with him on the Olympic Agenda 2020 review and, in particular, discuss how cycling can play its role in those plans. Cookson also said among other things we believe cycling can be a big part of the IOC’s sustainability and legacy work by helping bid cities transform themselves into places where cycling is a preferred way of getting around, making those cities better places to exercise, live and work.

The election manifesto of Cookson comprised primarily of adopting a “zero tolerance” approach to doping in cycling to combat problems in the sport. After defeating Pat McQuaid to become the UCI President last September, Brian Cookson decided to establish an independent audit for looking into the approach of the International Cycling Union (UCI). The audit recommended “urgent” improvements to the anti-doping practices of the world governing body of cycling. It recommended that the possibilities for advance-testing should be eliminated and a Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee should be established.

The audit team added that risk assessment should be regularized and documented as per the International Standard for Testing and communication between the CADF and LADS relating to results management should be clarified and formalized. It also remarked that UCI and Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) rules and procedures should be altered to align them with the revised World Anti-Doping Code. CADF looks after anti-doping for the UCI.

The audit team included Anne Cappelen, director of systems and results management at Anti-Doping Norway and Marjorit Nurmi, quality manager at the Finnish Anti-Doping Agency. After this audit, Cookson remarked he was pleased that the audit found that the Biological Passport program is outstanding and that results management is excellent and had remarked that the UCI will now make the necessary changes to policies, structures, and procedures in order to further improve the program and ensure compliance with the 2015 WADA code.

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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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Sunday 08, Jun 2014

  Biological Passport For Every World Cup Player Under Preparation By FIFA

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Biological Passport For Every World Cup Player Under Preparation By FIFA

FIFA, the world governing body of football, is on an ambitious mission these days to ensure that every player who participates in the Football World Cup has a drug test and carries a ‘biological passport’.

For the first time, the governing body is planning to use the biological passport that will follow players throughout their career, offering details about urine and blood tests. A team of FIFA doctors and nurses since March this year have been carrying out random urine and blood tests at internationals and team training camps. A few weeks ago, France and Argentina were visited at their camps to prepare for the tournament. Some of the most eminent football stars including Brazilian star Neymar, Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon, and Spain’s Andres Iniesta were among those who provided samples at last year’s Confederations Cup. Over the last 18 months, stars from Chelsea, Barcelona, Santos, and Monterrey were tested during international club competitions.

In a recent interview, Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer remarked that we can test anybody, anytime, anywhere, any amount of times. Football players can now expect drug testing right from the first matches of the World Cup which starts June 12. Dvorak added there has not been anything alarming so far and said the hematological parameters are normal. FIFA has collected at least two test samples from most players while some players have given as many as four samples. Dvorak went on to add that they understand what we are doing and they consider that kind of examination as part of their professional life.

FIFA tests loom for discrepancies in hemoglobin and red cells that may indicate the use of EPO doping or use of other banned performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic androgenic steroids to improve performance. The world governing body of football also checks hormone levels and steroids in the urine. However, Dvorak acknowledged that the drug testing logistics in Brazil face difficulties. The World Anti-Doping Agency withdrew its accreditation for the only anti-doping laboratory in Brazil last year. FIFA will send urine and blood samples to a laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, which will add $250,000 (180,000 euros) to the doping clampdown costs.

The primary cause of concern is that there will be a race against time to get samples from far-flung World Cup cities such as Manaus in the Amazon and Fortaleza as blood samples must be analyzed within 36 hours of being drawn. Dvorak remarked there are a few games that are difficult but the majority of the samples will arrive at the laboratory between 24 and 48 hours. The chief medical officer of FIFA said some of the matches are critical, the critical matches we will look at very carefully.

Football has rarely seen declared cases of performance enhancing doping with the biggest doping case coming from Argentina star Diego Maradona who was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after he tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine. According to FIFA.com, the world body’s website, cannabis and cocaine have made up the majority of drug failures in football in recent years.

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