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Thursday 26, Jan 2017

  Former Cyclist Raises Doping And Sexism Accusations

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Former Olympic and world champion cyclist Nicole Cooke has blasted the functioning and questioned the existence of British Cycling and Team Sky.

Cooke, who announced her retirement from cycling on 14 January 2013 at the age of 29, said cycling is “a sport run by men, for me” and added that the wrong people have been fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, and with the wrong tools. The 2008 Gold Olympic medalist also remarked he had been encouraged as a 19-year-old to dope by two members of her own British team. Cooke remarked she was the Briton on her team in Italy and she was encouraged by two members of the management of her team to dope. The cyclist went on to say that she had passed the information onto the forerunner of UK Anti-Doping when she was encouraged to dope as a 19-year-old but nothing was done.

Commenting on the “mysterious” bag containing medication that was transported by Simon Cope, Cooke said Cope was doing what he was told to do but it is surprising to learn that Cope, British Cycling women’s team manager, had no other task left to perform besides delivering the bag. Cooke went on to ask why Cope, whose salary is paid out of the public purse, was asked by his managers to serve as a courier for Bradley Wiggins and spent some weeks riding a moped in front of him as part of a training regimen instead of performing his responsibilities for the women’s team.

Cooke disclosed she was given four Therapeutic Use Exemptions during her career, namely to treat a serious knee injury. Cooke said she had a TUE for this treatment receiving the same steroid that Bradley Wiggins used more recently and added it could at the time could only be used with a TUE, whether in or out of competition. Cooke said that injection failed to address the medical problems and she continued not to race and ended up having surgery in May 2004. Cooke said the TUEs issued by the Team Sky/British Cycling medical team for this same steroid are of great concern. The former cyclist raised eyebrows on the functioning of British Cycling and Team Sky by saying the more relevant question rather than the strange coincident chronology of the ailment perhaps is to ask the Team Sky/British Cycling  medical team how often has this steroid been issued to athletes out of competition. Cooke said it is important to know if the steroid is used properly to help recover from career threatening injuries or has it ever been used to assist athletes losing fat and gaining power in the out of competition preparation for major events.

Cooke also said very little was ever done to support female road riders during her career. Recounting her own exposures to sexism, the Commonwealth, Olympic, and World road race champion said odd riders at times would be supported for a period while they were ‘in favor’ but mostly that support was only ever transient. Cooke went on to said that plans were in place in 2008 for the male only Team Sky that would use a variety of British Cycling Lottery funded staff in dual roles. The project, overseen by Dave Brailsford and others, was designated as “male only” and no successful appeal that it should be a male and female team was possible. Cooke said it was “run exclusively by men, exclusively for men”.

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Tuesday 24, Dec 2013

  Team Sky Rider To Face Anti-Doping Hearing

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Team Sky Rider To Face Anti-Doping Hearing

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, the British professional road racing cyclist who rides for UCI ProTeam Team Sky, is facing disciplinary proceedings after an anti-doping violation was shown by analysis of his biological passport. The cyclist pulled out of the 2013 World Championships in September after he was asked by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to explain his results.

Meanwhile, Team Sky has reiterated its stance that the readings were taken before he signed with the team in 2012 and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke denies any wrongdoing. A statement from the Devon-based rider’s management company said Tiernan-Locke vehemently denies the charges brought against him and has informed the UCI that he fully intends to contest them.

Team Sky, in a separate statement, said we understand that the violation was highlighted by an anomaly in his biological passport, in a reading taken before he signed for this team. Team Sky added that there are no doubts about his approach or performance in Team Sky and this is a team that trains, races, and wins clean. It went on to add that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will not ride for Team Sky or take part in any team activities – including training camps and all team duties – until a decision is made in this disciplinary hearing process.

In a confirmatory statement, the UCI said it has requested his National Federation (British Cycling) to initiate disciplinary proceedings in compliance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules. A British Cycling spokesman remarked that British Cycling can confirm that it has been asked by the UCI to begin proceedings against Jonathan Tiernan-Locke based on an analysis of his biological passport. The spokesman added those proceedings will be managed independently of British Cycling by UK Anti-Doping as with any other doping violation charge.

In a statement, UK Anti-Doping director of legal Graham Arthur said we are progressing on a case relating to a possible anti-doping rule violation and the matter is subject to confidentiality restrictions imposed by the anti-doping rules, and as such we are unable to comment further.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke raced for Endura Racing in the 2012 season and claimed overall wins in the Tour Mediterranean, Tour du Haut Var, and Tour Alsace and became the first British rider since 1993 to win the Tour of Britain in September of 2012.

Endura team manager Brian Smith extended his support for the cyclist and said Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is not a doper and Endura racing was a no doping stance and as far as he is concerned Tiernan-Locke was true to his word. He went on to add that the cyclist throughout the Tour of Britain was urine tested every day and a blood booster would have shown up, so it doesn’t make sense.

In the past, UCI president Brian Cookson, remarking on this case, had said he is concerned that it’s leaked out because he doesn’t think this information should be in the public domain while someone is being questioned and that’s not the same at all as them being guilty and let’s see what happens.

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Friday 28, Jun 2013

  Armstrong Urges Cycling To Come Clean

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Armstrong Urges Cycling To Come Clean

Lance Armstrong recently surprised all by jumping in to play the role of an anti-doping crusader, during a question and answer session on Twitter.

The American rider raised a question for British cycling boss @Brian Cookson who is campaigning to unseat Pat McQuaid as president of the International Cycling Union when elections come around in September. Armstrong asked Brian if he has any plans to convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to fully understand the mistakes of previous generations. Brian replied that he would back such a process, if legal and other issues can be worked out.

Lance Armstrong: “Question for @cooksonforuci – any plans to convene a Truth and Rec Commission to FULLY understand the mistakes of previous generations?”

Brian Cookson: “@lancearmstrong See my reply to @CrisTT Also would support a full truth and rec process if legal and practical hurdles can be overcome.”

(The reply to @CrisTT read: “I would prioritise the allegations which implicate the UCI in cover-ups. Must be investigated independently and quickly.”)

The president of British Cycling also remarked that he would prioritize the allegations which implicate the UCI in cover-ups – must be investigated independently and quickly. Cookson also remarked that he was also in favor of longer bans for convicted dopers, but wanted teams and the “enablers” of doping to be targeted as well as riders. The British Cycling chief added that he wanted to see cycling grow, with a particular focus on women’s cycling and was determined to safeguard place of the sport at the Olympics. The road to his election may be smooth with an extraordinary general meeting of Cycling Ireland’s members voted 91-74 against putting McQuaid forward for another term in charge. Also, McQuaid’s attempt to qualify for the presidential vote via the Swiss cycling federation is the subject of an appeal.

Cookson decided to stay mum on questions raised by journalist Paul Kimmage who had asked if he has a party to sue Floyd Landis and if suing whistleblowers is in his manifesto. He replied that Paul is one of many journalists who deserve respect for the work they have put into exposing doping in cycling and he cannot answer his concerns directly because they involve legal actions which are still live but committed to answering them in full as soon as he is able to. Cookson added that the UCI, if he gets elected in September, will not use the courts to silence whistle-blowers, journalists or other dissenting voices and this should not be taken as UCI’s inability to communicate its own point of view or correct inaccuracies or unbalanced comment when appropriate but and added that he is a firm believer in freedom of debate as being good for the long-term health of any sport.

In the last few months, there have been rumors that Armstrong has given an impression to cycling authorities about his doping activities but they have so far come to nothing. Cycling authorities have been talking for a while about a “year zero” commission for dealing with the blood-doping era of the sport since the Lance Armstrong doping scandal but the process has failed to even get started due to legal concerns about how it would work in practice, and more fundamental worries about who would pay for it.

In another development, UCI president Pat McQuaid is waiting for a visit and an apology from Lance Armstrong and said the cyclist should travel to UCI headquarters in Switzerland to tell all about his doping history and offer to help clean up the sport. He also defended himself, former president Hein Verbruggen, and the UCI by saying the facts show the UCI was always the most advanced federation in the fight against doping and the problem was the products that couldn’t be tested for at the time. McQuaid added that there were no tests available for the products and the UCI was not to blame.

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