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Tuesday 17, Sep 2013

  Armstrong Gives Back Olympic Bronze Medal

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Armstrong Gives Back Olympic Bronze Medal

Former American professional cyclist @Lance Armstrong has tweeted that he had given back the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Mark Higgins, who has been a manager and spokesman for Armstrong for several years, handed over the medal to USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and Lance Armstrong declined further comment.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has remarked that it will not reallocate the bronze medal of Armstrong. The IOC follows the same way in which the governing body of cycling decided not to declare any winners for the Tour titles once held by Lance Armstrong. This means Spanish rider Abraham Olano Manzano, who finished fourth in Sydney, will not be upgraded and the bronze medal originally awarded to Armstrong will be left vacant in Olympic records.

Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service teammate, Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia, won the gold and Jan Ullrich of Germany won silver. Ekimov was the teammate of Lance Armstrong during the time period in which USADA outlined widespread doping on the team. Ullrich had confirmed in an interview that he used blood-doping treatments during his career. The IOC previously stripped Tyler Hamilton, a former Armstrong teammate, of his time-trial gold medal from the 2004 Olympics after he acknowledged doping.

A spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed the fact that Olympic bronze medal awarded to Armstrong had been returned. Patrick Sandusky said the United States Olympic Committee has received the bronze medal awarded to Lance Armstrong at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He further remarked the International Olympic Committee and the USOC had previously requested that the medal be returned and the USOC has made arrangements to return the medal to the IOC.

Armstrong was asked to give back the medal after he confessed to using banned performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. The cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling. His doping confession came months after the United States Anti-Doping Agency detailed widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by the cyclist and his U.S. Postal Service team.

Lance Edward Armstrong had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005 and is the founder of the Livestrong Foundation, originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The cyclist started his career in 1992 as a professional cyclist with the Motorola team. Armstrong was diagnosed in October 1996 with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Lance Armstrong became a professional triathlete at the age of 16 and became national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990 at 18 and 19, respectively. During 1992-96, Armstrong collected the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling: the Thrift Drug Classic in Pittsburgh, the K-Mart West Virginia Classic, and the CoreStates USPRO national championship in Philadelphia. In 1996, Armstrong became the first American to win the La Flèche Wallonne and again won the Tour DuPont. The cyclist has recorded an aerobic capacity of 83.8 mL/kg/min (VO2 max), which is much higher than the average person (40–50), but less than other winners of Tour de France like Miguel Indurain and Greg LeMond (92.5).

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Sunday 23, Dec 2012

  Katusha Defend Doping Record

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Katusha Defend Doping Record

Team Katusha, the Russian road bicycle racing team which participates in the UCI World Tour, have defended their record on doping after the world governing body of cycling dropped them from the top flight. The team is now putting its faith in the Court of Arbitration for Sport to regain their elite status.

The license commission of the UCI last week rejected the application of Katusha for competing in the World Tour next year due to the doping record of the team over the past four years. The team that finished second in the World Tour standings this year have appealed the decision to the Lausanne-based CAS.

Katusha General Manager Vyacheslav Ekimov after the team’s official presentation in the Italian city of Brescia said the team received a statement from the UCI, explaining to us the reasons for their decision. Ekimov remarked that the team was told that Katusha have had the most doping cases among all the Pro Tour teams, citing four cases between 2009 and 2012 and added that the case of Alexandr Kolobnev should not be counted because he was later cleared of any doping charges.

At the 2011 Tour de France, Kolobnev escaped a suspension for failing a drug test after the Russian cycling federation took into account extenuating circumstances in his case. Ekimov added that the UCI blamed the team for Denis Galimzyanov’s positive test, even though the rider had admitted that it was his own mistake and said the cycling’s governing body do not do enough testing within the team for catching doping cheats. Galimzyanov tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), the banned blood booster, in April. The top sprinter of Russia was subsequently fired by Katusha and said he took the drug by himself without telling anyone in the team and Galimzyanov was banned by the anti-doping agency of Russia for two years, starting from April 13, 2012.

Ekimov, a long-time team mate of disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong, when questioned about his own doping record said the cycling’s world governing body never mentioned his name, Denis Menchov, or that of Michele Ferrari. Katusha leader Menchov’s integrity came under a cloud after French sports daily L’Equipe produced its doping suspicion index in which Menchov was rated at 9; the doping suspicion index lists riders who are given a rating of suspicion on a scale from 0 – not suspicious – to 10 – highly suspicious. Menchov denied the allegations and said it was just a case of sour grapes by the French. Triple Olympic champion Ekimov,  who was awarded his third Olympic gold medal after American Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his Athens 2004 time trial title because of doping, questioned the methods employed by the UCI.

Every Katusha rider, including world number one Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, expressed their loyalty to the team, remarked Ekimov who also added that all our major sponsors are also committed to the team even if we are excluded from the elite. Ekimov said in case the CAS decision goes against them, we’ll think of an alternative plan.

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Friday 02, Nov 2012

  Doping Inquiry Into Cycling Bronze Opens

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Doping Inquiry Into Cycling Bronze Opens

On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee opened an investigation into the role of Lance Armstrong in a doping scandal that has tarnished the image of professional cycling besides wiping out his seven Tour de France titles. The investigation would also mean that the cyclist may lose his Olympic bronze medal he won in the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The cyclist finished behind winner and U.S. Postal Service teammate Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia and Jan Ullrich of Germany and now his medal will go to Abraham Olano Manzano of Spain, who stands to move up to bronze if Armstrong is stripped of the medal. Vyacheslav Ekimov was upgraded to the gold after the IOC stripped a former Armstrong teammate, Tyler Hamilton, of his gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics after he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.

A former Armstrong teammate who won the time-trial bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, Levi Leipheimer, may also have his medal revoked after he confessed to doping. He is presently serving a reduced, six-month suspension after cooperating with the USADA inquiry. Alberto Contador, the Spaniard who was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title after testing positive for clenbuterol, finished fourth behind Leipheimer in 2008.

The Olympic involvement of other riders and officials implicated in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report will also be examined by the IOC. The USADA report detailed “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” After the release of this report, it was sent to the governing body of cycling (UCI) and World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). The UCI endorsed the sanctions imposed on the cyclist by USADA and said Armstrong had no place in cycling. The United States Anti-doping Agency banned the seven-time winner of Tour de France for life and stripped him of all his titles after August 1, 1998.

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement that it will start the process regarding the involving of Armstrong, other riders, and their entourages. The medals could come up for review at the executive board meeting of the IOC next month in Lausanne, Switzerland. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee is also evaluating the plans of UCI for an independent investigation for examining the allegations about the own conduct of the federation and its relations with the cyclist as raised by the report by USADA.

The IOC said it has taken note of the decision made by the governing body of cycling and welcomes every measure taken to shed light on the full extent of the episode and to help the sport of cycling reform to move forward. It also added that that finding of the independent commission that will be looking into the role of the UCI and the recommendations for a healthy future for the game are awaited. However, the IOC may find itself in a dilemma whether to apply the eight-year statute for revising Olympic results or not. IOC vice president Thomas Bach said the report by the USADA took an intriguing approach that leaves the eight-year period open to discussion.

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