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Thursday 20, Feb 2014

  Cycling Community Rallies Against Luca’s Drug Claims

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Cycling community rallies against luca’s drug claims

Danilo Di Luca’s comment that doping remains rife in Giro d’Italia, one of cycling’s most famous races, has provoked furious attacks from members of cycling communities.

Chiara Passerini, the wife of Australia’s Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, termed Luca a clown. Andrew Talansky, the American pro and top-10 finisher in 2013 Tour de France, said he feel genuine hatred towards Danilo Di Luca and added Luca is a worthless lying scumbag making false statements that hurt the sport he loves.

Danilo Di Luca, a former Italian professional road racing cyclist who rode for Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo recently, had claimed that 90 percent of the 200 riders competing in the Giro d’Italia dope. He further claimed that the remaining 10 percent don’t care about the race and they are preparing for other races. Luca also remarked it is impossible to finish in the top 10 in the Giro d’Italia and not dope. Luca said the best thing would be to legalize drugs so the entire peloton is on a level playing field. The cyclist added he first learned about doping as an amateur.

Meanwhile, Italian anti-doping authorities are questioning Di Luca in the wake of his sweeping claims.

The Italian cyclist was given a life ban by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) after he delivered a positive test for the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) in an out of competition test on 29th April 2013, which forced him to quit the Giro d’Italia. Luca was fined 35,000 euros, banned for life, and his results since mid-April 2013 were erased from the record books. A CONI statement had revealed that the national anti-doping tribunal has imposed a lifetime ban on Danilo Di Luca for his violation of Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency code. It added that this ban takes effect from May 24, 2013, and annuls any competitive results that Luca achieved after taking a biological test on April 29.

The 37-year-old cyclist won the Giro d’Italia in 2007 and finished second overall in 2009. Luca received a suspension in 2007 for his involvement with the Italian doping doctor Carlo Santuccione and tested positive in 2009 for using the blood-booster CERA during that year’s Giro. The rider delivered a positive urine sample during his 2007 Giro victory that reportedly recorded the hormone levels of a small child, a sign of using masking agents. Luca was however cleared for the offense after it was admitted by CONI anti-doping officials that there was not a sufficient degree of probability for a doping conviction.

Luca started his professional career in 1998 and demonstrated his talent to the world by conquering the under-23 version of the Giro D’Italia. In 2005, the cyclist switched to Liquigas-Bianchi to join the ranks of Dario Cioni, Mario Cipollini, Stefano Garzelli, and Magnus Bäckstedt. Luca won the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne and took the ProTour leader’s white jersey. Di Luca became 2005 UCI ProTour champion after his success in the 2005 Giro d’Italia where he won two stages and finished fourth. He finished fourth in the 2005 Züri-Metzgete and fifth in the Tour de Pologne.

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Wednesday 29, Jan 2014

  Italian Cyclist Receives Doping Suspension

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Italian Cyclist Receives Doping Suspension

The 2008 world road race champion, Italy’s @Alessandro Ballan, has received a doping ban of two years from Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI). The Italian’s BMC Racing team announced soon after the verdict that it had terminated its contract of Ballan.

The 2008 world road champion was banned for two years by the Italian Olympic Committee for using ozone treatment in 2009. Ballan claimed he used the ozone treatment for cytomegalovirus when he was ill and it was not to improve his cycling performance. Ballan’s name figured in the Mantova-based doping investigation that was centered on his former Lampre team. According to phone taps from investigators, the cyclist had undergone a blood transfusion in the spring of 2009, which was his final season at the Lampre team before he joined BMC.

In a release, team president Jim Ochowicz said Ballan received a two-year suspension from CONI Friday for charges in connection with his former team. He added that Ballan is no longer a member of the BMC Racing Team in accordance with the BMC Racing Team’s strict anti-doping policy. A BMC statement revealed that it is terminating the contract of Alessandro Ballan who received a two-year suspension from CONI for charges in connection with his former team.

CONI’s anti-doping tribunal ruled that Ballan had contravened article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code relating to the use or attempted use of banned substances. According to a statement by CONI, Ballan received a suspension of two years with effect from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2016 and has also been condemned to pay the costs of this proceeding, estimated at 400 euros and was also asked to pay a fine of 2,000 euros.

The Italian cyclist was suspected to being involved in a doping affair that also implicated two doctors, Guido Nigrelli and Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi, who have aided Ballan’s attempt to procure and use banned substances. CONI banned Nigrelli for life and Bonazzi for four years. According to the CONI statement, Nigrelli was punished under article 2.7 and 2.8 of the World Ant-Doping code and has ordered him to be banned from practicing for life from January 17, 2014 while Bonazzi has been sanctioned for a period of four years, from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2018.

Previously, Ballan was suspended by BMC Racing because of doping allegations but the cyclist resumed racing after being cleared by the Swiss-American team. Ballan won the Tour of Flanders in 2007 and the road race at the 2008 worlds in Varese.

Meanwhile, Australian cycling star Cadel Evans has defended former BMC teammate Ballan. Evans said he does not know all the details and so on but the only thing that appears to him is it must really be the only profession in the world that for looking after your health and trying to be healthy, you can ruin your career and ruin your whole life. The Australian cycling star said Ballan was trying to treat his health as far as he can understand.

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Tuesday 07, Jan 2014

  Ex-Cyclist Reveals Reasons Behind Doping Confession

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Ex-Cyclist Reveals Reasons Behind Doping Confession

@Stuart O’Grady, an Olympic gold medalist in 2004 and winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2007, has revealed there was no turning back from a doping confession after he confessed to his team and family before a French Senate investigation ultimately tabled inconclusive evidence against him.

The retired Australian professional road bicycle racer insisted that he committed a one-off experiment with Erythropoietin (EPO) in the infamous 1998 Tour de France where some cyclists were jailed because of doping. O’Grady said he can comfortably sit back and he knew that no one can come along and say he had a positive test anywhere else and added his grandchildren won’t be hearing any news stories about his racing past in 100 years. The ex-cyclist said he won Paris-Roubaix and his Olympic gold medal plus all his other Tour de France successes clean and he is happy for all his tests ever taken after 1998 to be re-tested.

Stuart O’Grady remarked there was no incentive for him to come forward and face the consequences for doping before the French Senate investigation forced him to after the investigation released names of thirty riders who returned suspicious or positive urine samples in retrospective testing from 1998. O’Grady, who rode as a professional between 1995 and 2013, said he knew he would be implicated and didn’t know exactly what would be revealed. The cyclist was originally listed as a rider who returned a suspicious urine sample, but Stuart O’Grady decided to come clean to his family and Orica-GreenEDGE team boss Shayne Bannan.

Immediately after his doping confession, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) had called O’Grady to resign from its Athletes’ Commission. Dave Sanders, who has mentored some of Australia’s finest road cyclists including Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans, said the doping confession of Stuart O’Grady was his greatest disappointment in a lifetime working in the sport. One of Australia’s most experienced cycling coaches, Sanders said of all the things that have happened, it’s probably the biggest thing that’s just gutted him personally in his own soul as he thought Stuart as is the greatest – the greatest – all round cyclist that’s ever come out of Australia.

In the book (Green, Gold & Bold: Australia at the 100th Tour de France, written by Olympic cyclist-turned-race director John Trevorrow and journalist Ron Reed), O’Grady remarked people told him his test came back suspicious – not positive – and why didn’t he just tough it out but said there was no going back after he opened up to Shayne and his family. O’Grady recalls in the book he just didn’t want to be at the Tour and he knew it was time to retire and added he was dreading the Alpe d’Huez stage and wasn’t sure, but he knew there was a possibility his name would be there. O’Grady added he sourced EPO two weeks before his second Tour de France, without informing his French GAN team. He went on to add it was not systematic doping and he wasn’t trying to deceive people and he was basically trying to survive in what was a very grey area.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Ex-Cyclist Reveals Reasons Behind Doping Confession

Wednesday 02, Jan 2013

  WorldTour License For Saxo-Tinkoff Opens Door For Contador’s Tour Return

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WorldTour License For Saxo-Tinkoff Opens Door For Contador’s Tour Return

Next season, Alberto Contador is all but sure to be back at the Tour de France. This was after the final-hour ProTeam license was awarded to Saxo-Tinkoff Bank that assures that the cyclist banned for using Clenbuterol will return to the Tour for the first time since 2011. After being sidelined this season due to his backdated Clenbuterol ban, the Spanish superstar will be the centerpiece in the battle for the Tour de France title.

“Contador will be back in the Tour next year,” said Sky’s 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins. “Alberto changes any races he’s in.” At the Tour presentation in October, 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) said Alberto will be back next year and you know he will be extra motivated to win and added that the Spaniard always races to win and is always a hard competitor.

The aggression of Alberto Contador in the mountains is well known for altering the dynamics of any race when he is at the start line and Contador typically races for the win in just about every race he starts. In the past, the cyclist has passionately insisted his wins have come clean and said that his doping case was triggered after eating contaminated beef; the doping incident led to disqualification of his 2010 Tour de France win, as well as his 2011 Giro d’Italia victory.

Recently, the doping-related case of the Spaniard before the Court of Arbitration for Sport was closed after a private settlement on the proposed fine was reached and the CAS therefore “officially terminated the arbitration.” The cyclist was given a suspension of two years for his positive doping control for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France and made a return to racing in August of this year and subsequently won the Vuelta a Espana.

In a statement issued, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said the CAS has been informed of an amicable settlement between the UCI and Contador regarding this issue and has officially terminated the arbitration. The details of the settlement were not released though it was reported that Contador must pay 37,500 Euros in court costs for the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency.

However, the cyclist is still under some ‘dark clouds’ after links between Contador and former trainer Pepe Martí surfaced though he was not named in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation into the U.S. Postal Service-Discovery Channel-Astana doping legacy. If that was not all, an expected trial that will involve Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, Manolo Saíz, and other key players in the Operación Puerto blood doping ring dating back to 2006 will bring back bad memories for Contador who was among nine riders not allowed to start the 2006 Tour while racing with Liberty Seguros at the time. But he is likely to make a big impact with the arrival of many quality riders, including Nicholas Roche, Roman Kreuziger, Michael Rogers, U.S. champ Timmy Duggan, and Rory Sutherland and the cyclist is doubly motivated for the Tour with a climber-friendly route on tap for the centennial edition.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: WorldTour License For Saxo-Tinkoff Opens Door For Contador’s Tour Return

Saturday 29, Dec 2012

  Riders Hold Key To Doping Reform Adoption

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Riders Hold Key To Doping Reform Adoption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday 10, Nov 2012

  Cycling Probe Judge Named By Australia

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Cycling Probe Judge Named By Australia

The Australian government has named a former judge to lead an official investigation into the governing body of cycling down under in response to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Minister of Sport Kate Lundy said James Wood, chairman of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, will head the probe.

The review will be focusing on anti-doping policies, governance, and recruitment of Cycling Australia after two senior officials rendered their resignations after admitting to making the use of performance enhancing drugs during their racing careers. Australia’s top professional cycling team Orica-GreenEDGE fired its sports director and former pro racer, Matt White, after his name emerged in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s report against the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong; White was revealed as one of the former teammates of Armstrong who used performance enhancing drugs. In a public statement, White confessed to doping and was also dropped as an elite road-racing coach at Cycling Australia because of his involvement in the Armstrong doping scandal.

Former professional cyclist Stephen Hodge, the other cyclist, resigned from his position as vice president of Cycling Australia last month after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs while competing though he was not implicated in the Lance Armstrong cycling scandal.

Lance Armstrong, the American former professional road racing cyclist became the world’s most famous cyclist, winning the Tour de France seven consecutive times, from 1999 to 2005. After being accused by USADA and his teammates of using and promoting the use of performance enhancing drugs, the cyclist was banned for life and disqualified from all his results since August 1998 though these charges were vehemently denied by the Texan rider.

Lundy said it has become important for Cycling Australia and the thousands of competitive cyclists in Australia in the wake of the resignation of the Australian officials involved in these doping programs that we move quickly to ensure the confidence and trust of the Australian public is restored in the governing body of cycling.

A report recently published by USADA alleged that Armstrong was at the center of “a massive team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history.” Many former professional cyclists have come forward with confessions of illegal doping since its publication. The Texan rider, Armstrong, continues to deny the allegations of doping but stopped fighting the charges against him after which he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.

The Australian review came after the the Union Cycliste Internationale, or UCI,  cycling’s world governing body, remarked that it would be establishing an external commission for looking into allegations that it turned a blind eye to the doping practices that Armstrong is alleged to have used.

Australia has produced a number of riders who have competed at the highest levels of the sport in Europe and traditionally punched above its weight in international cycling. In 2011, Cadel Evans became the first Australian to win the Tour de France and has not been implicated in any doping charges.

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Tuesday 13, Sep 2011

  Crash delays Alberto Contador

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Crash delays Alberto ContadorTour de France title defense for Alberto Contador, who was accused of using clenbuterol in the past, started in the worst possible manner.

Contador lost one minute 20 seconds to the other favorites after being held back by a crash nine kilometers from the finish of the 191.5-km first stage.

Gilbert, who had shunned the Tour in the last two seasons, said, “It was my goal, I knew I had a great opportunity to win the stage and take the yellow jersey, which I had never done before.”

Thursday 17, Mar 2011

  Thomas Frei suspended over EPO test

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Thomas Frei suspended over EPO testTeam of the reigning road race world champion Cadel Evans, BMC Racing, has suspended Thomas Frei. This was after the Swiss rider tested positive for the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO).

BMC president, Jim Ochowicz, said, “It has come to our attention that Thomas Frei has been informed that he was tested A-positive regarding the use of EPO.”

Thomas Frei will not be able to remain a part of the BMC Racing team for the competition as per BMC racing team’s own policy.

Wednesday 08, Dec 2010

  Thomas Frei leaves BMC Racing Team after testing positive

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Thomas Frei leaves BMC Racing Team after testing positiveThomas Frei of Switzerland has parted company with his team after admitting to using the banned blood booster erythropoietin.

The 25-year-old was suspended by the BMC Racing Team after he tested positive for EPO.

The BMC riders include the Australian world champion Cadel Evans and American George Hincapie.