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Sunday 22, Dec 2013

  Anti-Doping Drive On Track, Says Cycling Legend

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Anti-Doping Drive On Track, Says Cycling Legend

Sean Kelly, legendary Irish cyclist, has remarked it is now impossible to cheat in cycling and this is all due to the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Kelly, speaking ahead of Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge, said such a deceit would never happen again because of the reforms implemented by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport’s governing body. The 57-year-old, who won 193 professional races including seven consecutive editions of the Paris-Nice event in a career that spanned from 1977 to 1994, said products were out there before controls were able to detect them but now he thinks it’s the reverse, with biological passports, you can see if there are any abnormalities. He added it’s impossible to cheat now and he is very confident that those days are over.

Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused the cyclist of using banned drugs. The cyclist admitted in January this year of using performance enhancing drugs throughout his career.

Britain’s Chris Froome will bid next year to become the first cyclist to win back-to-back Le Tours since Miguel Indurain won five in a row in the early 1990s. Kelly believes the focus is now to prove dominance that can be attained without drugs. He remarked we cannot go back to a situation like we had in the past because that would be the death of the sport and now things are looking good, everybody is more confident and sponsors are coming back in and we have to keep on this road.

Kelly went on to add that innocent people have been branded as cheats, and it’s not right and that’s where he thinks the UCI really has to look at clarifying the difference between substances and categorizing them. Kelly, a veteran of 193 race wins, twice tested positive for banned substances during his career but claimed both instances were due to “minor and stupid” accidental intakes. He remarked you can’t just point the finger at Armstrong as there was an era of 15 to 20 years where doping grew and a lot of big names were taken out.

Kelly said the top five cyclists in his time were on good money, but now you can have an eight-year career, win five races and be made for life. He also remarked more pressure comes from greater salaries and sponsors wanted to get more exposure and teams all wanted a slice of the cake because they had to survive but that doesn’t mean you have to go to drugs. Kelly added you can have a good sport without it and riders just go a little bit slower, the race isn’t as fast and aggressive, but the racing is still as good and we’ve seen that over the past couple of years. He also said many of the guys want to take it forward now and make it a clean sport and it was a problem at its height and many just wanted to get out of that scene and it went on for far too long.

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Tuesday 30, Oct 2012

  Former Swiss Rider Denies Doping Network Links

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Former swiss rider denies doping network links

An accomplished rider in both the Grand Tour events and one-day races, Switzerland’s Tony Rominger, has denied his management company having links to what is believed by Italian investigators as a network designed to finance doping, aid evasion of taxes, and money laundering.

Italian officials are investigating the activities of sports doctor Michele Ferrari in the wake of a report against cyclist Lance Armstrong and his USPS team from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) wherein the agency accused Armstrong of overseeing a widespread doping program. The cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, a decision that was recently endorsed by the governing body of cycling, the UCI.

It was alleged by two Swiss newspapers that cash from operations of Ferrari went through the management company of Tony Rominger. Rominger issued a statement saying, “Tony Rominger formally contests these accusations of tax evasion and money laundering being reported in the media,” and added that he had no contact with Ferrari for “very many years.” Rominger added that he had never been called upon to provide information to the penal, civil or administrative judicial system — either Swiss or Italian.

The accusations were immediately and vehemently denied by the professional road racing cyclist who won the Vuelta a España in 1992, 1993, and 1994, and the Giro d’Italia in 1995. The cyclist also won the Mountains Jersey twice in the Vuelta a Espana, in 1993 and 1996 and the the Points Jersey in the 1993 Vuelta a Espana. In the 1992 World Championship Road Race, Rominger was placed fourth behind Gianni Bugno of Italy, Laurent Jalabert of France, and Dimitri Konyshev of Russia. In the 1993 Tour de France, Rominger finished second behind Miguel Indurain of Spain. The cyclist had a successful career but was overshadowed by the prowess of Indurain (winner of  five consecutive Tours de France from 1991 to 1995, the fourth to win five times) in the Grand Tours.

Meanwhile, Indurain has openly extended his support of Lance Armstrong and said he believes in the innocence of Armstrong. He went on to dispute the strength of evidence against the cyclist and remarked that he believes Armstrong will come back and appeal and try to show that he played fair for all those years. Indurain also took issue with the investigation process and challenged the validity of the evidence produced against the seven-time Tour de France champion, Armstrong who was stripped of all his titles and banned for life by the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) relying on witness testimony from 11 former teammates and 15 other riders.

Despite the fact that the governing body of cycling accepted the sanctions imposed on Armstrong by USADA, the UCI president, Pat McQuaid, delivered a different message to the world by calling USADA evidence and methods into questions and raising grounds for a possible appeal – either by Armstrong himself, or by the World Anti-Doping Agency – against the conclusions of the report. McQuaid also challenged the USADA jurisdiction in stripping Armstrong of his titles under the WADA Code and publishing its report after the cyclist waived his right to a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing.

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