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Saturday 14, Dec 2013

  Former UCI President Admits Wrongdoings

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Former UCI President Admits Wrongdoings

Hein Verbruggen, the former UCI president, has remarked that he might have spoken to former American professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong after he failed a drugs test at the 1999 Tour de France.

Armstrong recently accused Verbruggen of coming up with something and the ex-UCI head said he did advised Lance Armstrong to produce a prescription after the event, in apparent breach of anti-doping rules. Armstrong, in his first Tour post-cancer, tested positive for Cortisone after he won the prologue time trial.

Verbruggen, who served as UCI president from 1991-2005 and is still honorary president of cycling’s world governing body, had earlier attacked the credibility of Armstrong. He described the allegations made by Armstrong as illogical. This was after Lance claimed that the then-UCI president asked to come up with the prescription for avoiding another doping scandal, just a year after the Festina affair threatened to sink the 1998 Tour de France. Armstrong added that Verbruggen had remarked this is a real problem for me, this is the knockout punch for our sport and so we’ve got to come up with something.

Verbruggen said he might have told Lance that the world governing body of cycling requires a prescription but he is sure that was handled by the UCI’s anti-doping department and not him. He also remarked that the prescription could be done afterwards according to UCI rules. However, the UCI rules state that the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) should be declared prior to testing and it is clear from facts that an exception was made by the UCI for Lance Armstrong, who went on to win the first of his seven Tour de France titles.

This admission by the UCI’s honorary president may find himself in huge trouble as the conversation between the head of the cycling’s governing body and Armstrong, who had tested positive, raises serious questions about the judgment of Hein Verbruggen and suggests a possible breach of anti-doping protocol. The ex-UCI president however said he is willing to participate in a new commission currently being set up by the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency and expressed confidence that he will be exonerated. It was recently indicated by UCI that Verbruggen may be called before a separate independent commission being set up to investigate Armstrong.

After Armstrong’s allegations against Verbruggen, Craig Reedie, the new president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said it is essential that Lance Armstrong should take part in the drive to clean up the sport through a truth and reconciliation process. Reedie remarked he read the interview of Armstrong with interest and it rather illustrated that the sport had a serious problem all those years ago and it has brought it to a serious head. In defense of the current UCI regime, they have been very active in trying to tackle the problems of the past. He added that Lance Armstrong is certainly seen in the public eye as the biggest sinner of that generation but if he chose to take part in a properly organized independent commission it would give them the best chance of achieving a proper result.

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Wednesday 06, Nov 2013

  Doping Is Not Widespread, Says Top Rugby Figures

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Doping is not widespread, says top rugby figures

Scottish rugby coaches and players have dismissed claims by a teenage player who recently remarked that doping is widespread in the amateur version. The coaches and players called on the player making the allegations and anyone else with suspicions to help them uncover evidence of cheating.

The 19-year-old, said to be a player for one of the ten National League clubs, claimed that players throughout the club games were taking some kinds of substances. These claims are rumored to be associated with the recent suspension handed to Melrose teenager Sam Chalmers, who was banned for two years after he admitted that he tried using anabolic steroids to cope with demands to make himself bigger and stronger.

The young Scottish player, who made doping allegations on BBC, remarked he would say roughly two people per team are on some sort of substances, which could be fat-stripping supplement or a bulking supplement or something like that, from the Premiership to the Championship. He added when people go off-season and they bulk up, you hear people chatting that they’re on something or there’s other signs as well. He went on to remark that it is almost like a quick fix because they want to be like a professional so they want to get there as quick as they can and they don’t really care what they do to their health. He also remarked they just want to be there to be the best they possibly can. You see guys who are getting picked, and they’re not the most skilful players, but they’re huge and you think, ‘that’s the only reason you’re picking them, because they’re big’.

Leading club coaches John Dalziel and Peter Laverie insisted that use of anabolic steroids was not common. Dalziel said he was shocked to learn about the positive test of Chalmers. He added these players are now given regular education from their clubs and the SRU, which includes nutritionists telling them about what they need to be fit, strong, to replace lost protein and vitamins from training, and to put on weight if they need to while being healthy, and we have professional medics that explain the dangers of doping.

Laverie remarked any kid in Scotland who gets involved at age-grade level, even in the large initial squads, receives the full SRU education program on drug abuse, nutrition and many other parts of the game, and it is repeated every year, when each squad comes together. He added that club players now regularly come and ask about inhalers or medicine, and are used to having things checked. Laverie also said he meets with all Premiership coaches regularly and none would condone players taking illegal substances and added he has to say that he has never seen any signs of drug and alcohol abuse in club rugby.

Gregor Townsend, the head coach at Glasgow Warriors, remarked Scottish rugby prides itself on being very thorough in testing for drugs and making sure that if there is anyone out there taking them there is no way of getting round the testers. Townsend said he was shocked when he heard about Sam and added this is a total surprise to me.

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Saturday 02, Nov 2013

  Armstrong Says Lifetime Ban Is “Death Penalty”

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Armstrong Says Lifetime Ban Is “Death Penalty”

Former professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong has remarked that he received the “death penalty” for making use of banned performance enhancing drugs and lying about it for over a decade. The cyclist still wants to compete and hopes his lifetime ban from cycling will be lifted one day.

Lance remarked the ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who support me and believed in me and they got lied to and recalled that his confession before his children was the toughest. Armstrong remarked he deserved to be punished for years of doping that helped him win a record seven Tour de France titles but believes that the USADA sanction was much harsher than the sanctions dished out to other self-confessed cheats, who were given lesser sentences for testifying against him. The cyclist remarked he does not believe that is unfair but it is different and said he deserved to be punished but not sure if he deserves the death penalty.

In January this year, Lance Armstrong confessed to using banned drugs on Oprah Winfrey talk show after years of denials. He admitted to using cortisone, growth hormone, testosterone, blood doping, and EPO but denied that he continued using drugs when he made his comeback in 2009. He added there was no truth in allegations that one of his representatives tried to pay off USADA to drop their investigation into him. Lance remarked he was ashamed of what all he had done and said the doping scandal has taken a huge toll on his mother. The cyclist remarked he had lost about $75 million when his sponsors deserted him last year after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released its damning report on him.

Armstrong further remarked that quitting the Livestrong foundation was the lowest point in his life and that was a humiliating moment.

In another development, UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson has hinted that he would favor a reduction in the life ban imposed on Armstrong if he comes clean about the extent of doping culture that helped him win the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times. Cookson remarked other drugs cheats had been treated more generously than Armstrong and that he would like to see “a more level playing field”. The UCI president hopeful added it may be necessary to offer reduced sentences to those who testify, even Lance Armstrong but added he is not very comfortable with offering Lance Armstrong much hope for the future but he guess that wouldn’t be in my hands anyway – that would be in the hands of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Meanwhile, Armstrong surrendered the Olympic bronze medal he won in Sydney in 2000 and tweeted the medal should be arriving quickly at the Swiss headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. In a respite to the banned cyclist, U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. of the Eastern District of California in Sacramento ruled that the First Amendment protects Armstrong’s dishonesty after the cyclist was accused by a class of consumers whom Lance Armstrong and his publishers allegedly misled to believe that his autobiographies, It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, and Every Second Counts, were truthful and honest works of nonfiction biography or autobiography when, in fact, defendants knew or should have known that these books were works of fiction.

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Wednesday 28, Aug 2013

  Former German Cyclist Admits To Doping

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Former German Cyclist Admits To Doping

@Andreas Klier has admitted using performance enhancing drugs during part of his career spanning 17 years. The retired German professional road racing cyclist, who competed as a professional between 1996 and 2013 is the current director of team Garmin-Sharp. His confession came not before the United States Anti-Doping Agency announcing a six-month suspension on Klier.

The USADA revealed the former cyclist provided what it described as “important information” into its ongoing investigation of cycling. Klier admitted to using substances such as erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone, and cortisone along with blood transfusions between 1999 and 2006. In a statement issued by Garmin-Sharp, Andreas Klier remarked he has been involved in professional cycling for 17 years, and for those 17 years cycling has been his life. He added some of his best memories and moments happened on his bike, and some of his worst too and along the road to the top of the sport, many years ago, he selected the wrong path, and he has been very sorry for it ever since. The former rider issued an apology to his family, sponsors, peers, fans, and riders who competed clean during that time.

During early stages of his career, Klier was a teammate of riders like Jan Ullrich and the American Kevin Livingston. The German cyclist  turned professional in 1996 with Team Nürnberger and then raced with TVM (1999-2000), Team Telekom (2001–2008), Cervélo Test Team (2009–2010), and Garmin-Cervélo in 2011 and 2012. After announcing his retirement on May 13, 2013, Klier moved into a managerial role with his final professional team, Garmin-Sharp.

Andreas Klier revealed that the latter part of his 17-year long career was clean. Klier remarked he stopped what he was doing and started competing clean well before he ever joined Slipstream, but said he is proud to be a part of an organization that makes racing clean its only priority. He went on to add in his heart and mind he knows that telling the truth about his past to the proper authorities is the right thing to do to continue to help the sport he loves moving forward. Klier accepted responsibility for the mistakes he made in my past and the punishment that comes along with them. The ex-German rider also remarked he has seen both worlds of the sport and he believes that today it is in the best place its ever been. The ex-rider added the young riders racing now have never faced the same choices he did, and he will do everything he can for the rest of his life to help continue to help build the sport that he loves.

USADA revealed the ban on Klier started on August 12, 2013 and the ex-rider has been stripped of results gained since July 21, 2005. Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA, remarked we are thankful for the assistance in this case provided by our international partners at the German National Anti-Doping Agency and appreciate Klier’s willingness to provide full and truthful testimony about the culture of drug use in cycling. Tygart added our investigation into the sport of cycling is ongoing, and we will continue to fight for the rights of all athletes who want to have the full truth revealed so that the sport can finally move forward toward a truly clean future.

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Saturday 10, Aug 2013

  Cunego Among 28 Charged With Doping

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Cunego Among 28 Charged With Doping

Former Tour of Italy winner @Damiano Cunego was among 28 people connected to the Lampre team who were charged with doping-related offenses.

The biggest wins of the Italian professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Merida included the 2004 Giro d’Italia, the 2008 Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2004, 2007, 2008. Considered the best Italian cyclist for classics after the retirement of Paolo Bettini, Cunego finished second in the UCI Road World Championships in 2008 and in the 2008 UCI ProTour.

       In his first season as a professional with Saeco in 2002, Cunego won the Giro d’Oro and the Giro Medio Brenta and won the seventh stage and the overall classification of Tour of Qinghai Lake in 2003. During 2004, Cunego finished the season number one in the UCI Road World Cup, the youngest rider to achieve it, at the age of 23. He won the Klasika Primavera and the Amstel Gold Race in 2008 with two powerful sprints against Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck that propelled him to the top of the UCI Pro Tour rankings and finish second in the 2008 UCI Road World Championships. Cunego ended the 2008 season with the victory of the Japan Cup, confirming himself as one of the best Classics Specialist in the world.

In addition to Cunego, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and a host of riders, officials, and doctors have been called in by the Padua prosecutor’s office to explain themselves. The disgraced former Tour winner Michael Rasmussen is also listed along with the likes of Marzio Bruseghin and Mauro Santambrogio. Summons have been issued to Cunego and Bassan, sporting directors Giuseppe Saronni and Guido Bontempi, and team chemist Vittorio Nigrelli, suspected of being the “brains” behind the doping operation.

Prosecutor Antonino Condorelli remarked that the 28 in collaboration with each other are accused of having bought, administered or otherwise favored the use of doping products with the aim of altering the sporting performances of Lampre athletes. The story first broke two years ago, following a three-year investigation by Condorelli.

The team is accused of having given their riders the banned blood-booster EPO, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, and testosterone. The case will be heard on December 10 by Judge Gilberto Casari.

A Lampare statement reads: The charges are technically neutral in relation to any affirmation of responsibility and we will be able to demonstrate, in the appropriate domain, how wrong these accusations are. From 2008 to 2011, the team was subject to a doping investigation following revelations made by former cyclist Emanuele Sella after he had tested positive for EPO derivative CERA, although nothing came of the investigation. In a statement, Lampre-Merida said: The team reaffirms trust in the athletes and the team members involved in this case, and is confident that during the hearing it will be possible to demonstrate their non-involvement in the subject of the charges. It added that the certainty of being able to demonstrate the non-involvement brings about the question of who, once that issue has been clarified, will take responsibility for the burdens and offence placed upon the team.

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Monday 01, Jul 2013

  Winning Without Doping Was Not Possible, Says Armstrong

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Winning Without Doping Was Not Possible, Says Armstrong

In an interview with Le Monde, Lance Armstrong brought the dirty past of the Tour de France by saying he could not have won the Tour seven times without doping.

The disgraced cyclist said he still considers himself the record-holder for Tour victories, even though all seven of his titles were stripped from him last year for doping. Armstrong also added that his life has been ruined by the investigation of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that exposed as lies his years of denials that he and his teammates doped.

The American rider claimed that it was “impossible” to win the Tour without doping when he was racing and also said he was not the first athlete to dope and there would always be a doping culture but cycling was being made a “scapegoat” for the practice in all sport. When asked if it was possible to perform without doping, Le Monde quoted Armstrong as saying “”That depends on which races you wanted to win. The Tour de France? No. Impossible to win without doping. Because the Tour is a test of endurance where oxygen is decisive.”

Armstrong’s comments were sharply criticized by American rider Tejay van Garderen of the BMC team who said if he’s saying things like he doesn’t think that it’s possible to win the Tour clean then he should be quiet – because it is possible while UCI President Pat McQuaid called the timing of the comments as very sad. In a statement, McQuaid said I can tell him categorically that he is wrong and his comments do absolutely nothing to help cycling and went on to add that the culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean. The UCI President also remarked that riders and teams owners have been forthright in saying that it is possible to win clean – and I agree with them.

The American former professional road racing cyclist’s comments were also criticized by Australia’s Cadel Evans who rubbished the claims of Armstrong by saying he had shown it was possible to triumph without cheating by winning the Tour in 2011. The Australian BMC rider said he sometimes reads in the press what Armstrong says and he respects him as a human being but really I just focus on doing my own job as best I can and fortunately we are supported by a great group of people.

These comments were enough for Lance Armstrong to retract from his statement and say that his claims only applied to the period in which he dominated the sport. Last year, Armstrong was exposed as a serial drug cheat in a devastating US Anti-Doping Agency report that plunged cycling into crisis about the extent of performance enhancing drugs in the peloton. Armstrong, who won the Tour a record seven times between 1999 and 2005, was stripped of his Tour titles and banned from the sport for life. He later admitted in a television interview that he used a cocktail of drugs, including the blood booster EPO, testosterone, and blood transfusions, to win the Tour.

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Monday 01, Apr 2013

  Stefan Schumacher Says He Doped

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Stefan Schumacher Says He Doped

A German professional road racing cyclist who won the bronze medal in the 2007 Road Race World Championship, two stages in the 2006 Giro d’Italia, and two stages in the 2008 Tour de France has admitted regularly knocking back a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs, and compared it to eating pasta after training.

The former Gerolsteiner rider Stefan Schumacher said he used took EPO, growth hormones, and corticoids (steroids) and remarked doping became an integral part of the daily routine, like a plate of pasta after training. Schumacher, who now races for the Danish team Christina Watches-Onfone, was caught in October 2008 when a sample taken during Tour de France contained CERA, a variant of the banned blood-booster erythropoeitin (EPO). First professionally employed with Team Telekom in 2002, Schumacher also tested positive at the Beijing Olympics. He was also implicated in a doping case in 2005 when he tested positive for an amphetamine but was cleared by the German cycling federation of a doping offense.

Schumacher, riding as leader of Gerolsteiner, won both time trials in the 2008 Tour de France beating Swiss favorite Fabian Cancellara, and took the yellow jersey of race leader after the first. He then signed a two-year contract with Quick Step.

On October 6, 2008, the media reported that the German cyclist had tested positive for the controlled substance CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator), a new generation of EPO but Schumacher continues to assert his innocence though Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevre has said Schumacher’s contract would not be honored. In 2008, two of Schumacher’s team mates, Italian Davide Rebellin and Austrian Bernhard Kohl, also failed tests for EPO-CERA.

The cyclist was banned by the UCI for two years on 19 February 2009 but the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) reduced Schumacher’s ban in January 2010, allowing him to ride again per August 2010. His name was raised in connected in April 2009 with a positive test for performance enhancing drugs at the 2008 Summer Olympics and both the “A” and “B” samples tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He was disqualified after the positive test, and appealed against the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sports, but dropped his appeal in April 2010.

Meanwhile, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and national cycling federation (BDR) have welcomed the admission of Schumacher that he had used banned substances. DOSB general director Michael Vesper and BDR chief Rudolf Scharping said in a joint statement the admission comes too late and Stefan Schumacher could have spared himself and his sport some things if he had told the truth earlier but they added that his admission comes early enough to draw consequences for the fight against doping and it is expected that through his statements, the people behind it will be caught and punished.

The 31-year-old German rider was quoted as saying that he would be prepared to share what he knows with the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Cycling Union, and others “if that is wanted.”

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