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Archive for  June 2013

Sunday 30, Jun 2013

Tour de France Winner Admits To Doping

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Tour de France Winner Admits To Doping

Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, during an interview with German weekly Focus has admitted for the first time that he received blood doping treatment from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

In the past, Ullrich had previously acknowledged having unspecified “contact” with Fuentes and said he couldn’t remember how many times he had received treatment from Fuentes. The cyclist from Germany said that while he had made bad decisions during his career, he did not harm or defraud anyone and added that almost everyone took performance-enhancing substances then. Ullrich added that for him fraud starts when he gains an advantage and that wasn’t the case and he wanted to ensure equality of opportunities. The rider added that he only wants to look forward, and never again backward.

The 39-year-old Ullrich, in the interview, said he had access to treatment from Fuentes but insisted using no other substance than his own blood. The doctor was jailed for a year by a Spanish court in April 2013 for performing blood transfusions on top cyclists. The 1997 Tour de France winner said nearly everyone at that time was using doping substances and he used nothing that the others were not using. Ulrich now wants to put his doping past behind him, but Germany’s Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has already said it will investigate. The anti-doping agency said it is important that Ulrich not only admits his crime, but also mentions the names of other participants in the background for the sport to be clean.

Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Federation, remarked Jan Ullrich had his opportunity a few years ago or a truly credible confession and he missed his chance and now, as far as I am concerned, he’s trying to work with some rhetorical maneuvers, which helps neither him nor the sport of cycling. Rudolf Scharping, president of the German Cycling Federation, said the confession by Ulrich should have come five years ago and added that it is far too late to try and clean things up and he could have helped the sport of cycling if he had laid everything out on the table much earlier.

The German cyclist’s confession comes six months after US cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted doping throughout his career and was banned for life, as well as being stripped of his seven Tour titles. The results of Jan Ullrich have also been erased from the history books after finishing second to Lance Armstrong three times in the Tour. In February 2012, Jan Ullrich was found guilty of a doping offense by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It was ruled that Ullrich was “fully engaged” in the doping program of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, exposed in the Operation Puerto probe. Ullrich was stripped by the court of his third-place finish at the 2005 Tour and after a while, Ullrich retired in 2007. The cyclist was retroactively banned in August 2012 and all of his results since May 2005 were erased.

The cyclist received support from an unexpected quarter with Lance Armstrong tweeting, “Jan Ullrich? Warm hearted. Amazing athlete. Great competitor. Loved toeing the line with you my friend.”

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Saturday 29, Jun 2013

Spanish Police Arrest 84 In Doping Crackdown

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Spanish Police Arrest 84 In Doping Crackdown

The Spanish interior ministry has announced that police have arrested 84 people and dismantled two criminal gangs accused of importing and distributing sports doping substances across Spain.

It was further disclosed by the ministry that the raids were conducted over a period of ten months in ten regions of the country, with half the arrests in the country’s three largest cities: Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. In all, the authorities seized about 707,000 doses of anabolic steroids, blood boosters, and growth hormones and these substances were distributed through Spanish private homes and sports centers, according to the ministry statement. The ministry also revealed that one of the involved gangs imported the illegal products from Portugal, and the other imported their substances from Greece and China however the ministry desisted from disclosing the identities of those arrested but said they included a pharmacist.

The Ministry said in a statement that officers have dismantled two organizations importing the products, which can cause severe damage to health. The security forces, in their first operation, arrested 75 people accused of using the postal service to introduce doping drugs from Portugal to then sell on in gyms and private homes in Madrid, Valencia, the Basque Country and Asturias. Forty-seven homes were searched by police seizing more than 24,000 doses. According to estimates by the Spanish police, the organization could have introduced doping substances valued at more than 11,000 euros per day during the first trimester of 2013. The second ring made use of social networks for advertising and luring potential clients and introduced the drugs from China and Greece in postal packs. The Spanish police was able to seize 683,000 doses of steroids, EPO, and growth hormone and arrested nine people.

Spanish lawmakers this month approved a new measure that is intended to counter the doping concerns that have damaged the reputation of different sports in the country. The new measure will expand the range of doping tests and imposes larger fines for those dealing in illegal substances along with creating a more autonomous national anti-doping agency to fight the use of performance enhancing drugs. Many believe that this is a desperate attempt by the country because of Madrid’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics where it is competing with Istanbul and Tokyo, with the host city expected to be chosen in September. This measure is also expected to bring the country in line with the international norms and dispel the impression that Spain is soft on doping.

The country also wants the world to forget the controversial decision of a Spanish judge after she ordered the destruction of seized blood samples in the Operation Puerto doping scandal, a move that was criticized by the World Anti-Doping Agency and eminent sports personalities like Rafael Nadal. The verdict was even criticized by Alejandro Blanco, the president of Spain’s Olympic committee, who remarked the judge’s verdict had been “a mistake and a disaster” for Spanish sports but insisted that the outcome of the investigation should not undermine Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Summer Games.

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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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Thursday 27, Jun 2013

BOA Lifetime Ban On Drugs Cheats Is Impending UKAD Work

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BOA Lifetime Ban On Drugs Cheats Is Impending UKAD Work

The chief executive of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), Andy Parkinson, has warned that the lifetime ban on drug cheats by the British Olympic Association (BOA) is impeding the battle to stamp out the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport.

The new rule of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on banning an athlete from competing in the next Games after they have tested positive was also criticized by Parkinson who said it would be easier if everyone followed the standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which have established a suspension of two years as the fairest penalty for an athlete testing positive for banned drugs for the first time. Parkinson added that we seen in the United States and also in the United Kingdom how going beyond the anti-doping rules established by WADA creates confusion and impedes our role and also said the World Anti-Doping Code, agreed at an international level, encourages athletes to provide substantial assistance which can be grounds for a reduction in the sanction period.

Any athlete who tests positive for banned drugs is automatically prevented from representing Britain in the Olympics, under the rules of the BOA but the Britain’s anti-doping chief believes that athletes would be more willing to cooperate with them if there was an incentive for them to be allowed to compete in the Olympics.

Parkinson said if, as is the case with the eligibility rules of the International Olympic Committee and here in the UK the British Olympic Association, we remove all incentives for athletes to share their stories and information with us, then we will continue to struggle to catch those who are supplying performance enhancing drugs and often operate on the edges of sport with relative impunity and it is clear that this is a hard message to get across and to agree on, largely because these eligibility rules are easy to defend, but if we cannot be seen to be working with all athletes, then what hope do we have in really getting to the heart of the doping problem and to those that traffic and supply. He also added that the fight against doping now more than ever requires a mature and coordinated effort to work together and UK Anti-Doping has firmly established itself in its first year and offers the chance to continue to play a lead role at home and overseas to better protect the rights of athletes to compete in doping-free sport.

The views of Parkinson echoed that of Dick Pound who claimed in 2008 that he did not believe that the BOA rule would survive, if it was challenged legally.

Since 1992, by-law 25 has been on the BOA’s statute book when it was decided by the then chairman Sir Arthur Gold that Britain must take the moral high ground in the fight against doping. The British Olympic Association is now the only national Olympic committee to maintain this hard-line stance but have always maintained that it will “vigorously” defend any attempt to remove the anti-doping by-law.

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Wednesday 26, Jun 2013

Paralympic Medal Winning Powerlifter Suspended

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Paralympic Medal Winning Powerlifter Suspended

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced has Nigerian Paralympic medal winning powerlifter Folashade Oluwafemiayo has received a two-year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance at the 2013 Fazaa International Powerlifting Competition in Dubai.

Oluwafemiayo, who won silver in the women’s 75kg event at London 2012, returned an adverse analytical finding in a urine sample provided on February 26 for Furosemide (a loop diuretic), which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) classifies as a masking agent for performance enhancing drugs. She was stripped of the 125kg world record and gold medal she clinched at the competition and received a fine of €1,500 (£1,300/$2,000). Furosemide is included on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned drug list due to its alleged use as a masking agent for other drugs and has also been used to prevent Thoroughbred and Standardbred race horses from bleeding through the nose during races.

After her suspension, Egyptian Geehan Hassan, who originally won silver with a lift of 117kg, will receive gold, bronze medalist Marzena Łazarz of Poland will take silver with 97kg and Libya’s Sahar El-Gnemi who finished fourth will be awarded the bronze medal with 90kg. A statement from the IPC reads Folashade Oluwafemiayo in accordance with the IPC Anti-Doping Code will serve a two-year suspension for the offence beginning on April 19 2013, the date from which she was notified of her Anti-Doping Rule Violation and added that the IPC remains committed to a doping free sporting environment at all levels as a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC).

The Nigerian powerlifting games star, after winning a Silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic games, married her male powerlifting counterpart Tolulope Owolabi on November 3, 2012 at Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria after having their traditional engagement in April 2012. The wedding was attended by the Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, the Director of Sports, Patrick Ekeji and some other top officials in the Sports Ministry.

Oluwafemiayo’s case came just a few days after Uzbekistani powerlifter Ruza Kuzieva was hit with an identical ban testing positive for a prohibited substance at the fifth Fazaa International Powerlifting Competition earlier this year. She was given a ban of two years for returning an adverse analytical finding for Methandienone, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and therefore prohibited under the IPC Anti-Doping Code, in a urine sample provided during the competition in Dubai on February 23. Suspension of the athlete began on April 19 and this means she will now lose all results, medals, points, records and prizes from February 23 onwards, including the bronze medal she won she set the junior world record with a lift of 52kg besides receiving a fine of €1,500 (£1,270/€2,000). An IPC statement reads the principle of strict liability applies to anti-doping matters and therefore, each athlete is strictly liable for the substances found in his or her sample, and that an anti-doping rule violation occurs whenever a prohibited substance (or its metabolites or markers) is found in his or her bodily specimen, whether or not the athlete intentionally or unintentionally used a prohibited substance or was negligent or otherwise at fault.

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Tuesday 25, Jun 2013

‘Insane’ Tests At London Olympics Queried By Doping Chief

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‘Insane’ Tests At London Olympics Queried By Doping Chief

Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK anti-doping, has labeled the amount of tests carried out at the London Olympics as “insane” after 5,000 tests in three weeks led to just nine positive findings during the London Games of which only three were from athletes tested during their competitions – the other six were out-of-competition tests.

Parkinson is the first Chief Executive of UK Anti-Doping and was appointed to the position in August 2009 and headed up the anti-doping operation at UK Sport as Director of Drug-Free Sport and prior to this held the position of Head of Operations. Andy, before joining UK Sport in 2006, was Medical and Scientific Director at the International Paralympic Committee and was elected as Chair of the Ad hoc European Committee in May 2012 for the World Anti-Doping Agency (CAHAMA), effective from November 2012.

Britain’s anti-doping chief called for Olympic organizers to be allowed to test competing athletes in the months leading up to Games rather than in the three-week period of the event. He added the resources can be better deployed and five thousand is an insane amount of samples in just three weeks of the Games, and six out of the nine positive tests were before the athlete took to the field of play and remarked if you said the London Olympic Games has 5,000 samples but spread over three months that has to be a much better use of resource and a better use of money and most of us would accept if there is doping occurring then it is before the event itself.

The anti-doping chief also remarked that the ongoing review of World Anti-Doping Code could allow major event organizers to extend their jurisdiction for the months in advance of the Games and the challenge you have got is organizing committees who want their programs to be judged as of high quality and the way they do that is numerically and pointed out that Sochi’s anti-doping director announced last week that 2,500 drug tests will be conducted at next year’s Winter Olympics, about 350 more than at the 2010 Games.

Parkinson added that the Lance Armstrong doping scandal was an eye opener and wake-up call for those who relied solely on traditional tests at events and remarked Lance never returned a positive test and we need to be thinking very differently if we are going to catch serial cheats. He went on to add that he was encouraged the IOC president Jacques Rogge has backed quality over quantity in terms of tests, but that organizing committees would have to be carefully watched to ensure they did not use this simply as an excuse to save money. The Britain’s anti-doping chief also described as “astonishing” that a Spanish judge had ordered blood bags seized during the Operation Puerto doping investigation to be destroyed and said rather astonishingly the judge said all the blood bags are to be destroyed – that’s to put it mildly a shame and not the best example of how law enforcement can work with anti-doping authorities. The judge’s decision is still the subject of ongoing legal action by Spanish anti-doping authorities who want the blood analyzed.

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Monday 24, Jun 2013

Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

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Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

The USADA report on testing numbers by sport in 2013 has revealed that whole track and field conducted 496 tests (392 out of competition, 104 in competition) while tennis only had 19 (all out of competition). The report also disclosed that out of all the sports that the USDA listed, tennis comprised just 19 of the 1,919 tests, while curling had 35 tests and the luge 25.

Don Catlin, president and chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, remarked if you’re only taking two steps when 100 are needed, it’s not going to work and also added that if you started with the top 100 male players, that would be a good representation and then if you test them five times a year but [tennis] probably doesn’t want to and if you don’t start with something of that magnitude, you’re not going to get far. Catlin, who ran the respected UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, in March 2013 issued a damning indictment of the sport’s attempts to step up its drug-testing program and questioned whether it has the money or the desire to make it work. He remarked the theory (of the passport) is you get the right person at the right times and test them four to five times and then they’ll move toward a mean (in their levels) and then if they depart from that mean in the future you can nab them.

These revelations may not appease tennis authorities after the International Tennis Federation’s anti-doping program budget in March this year was given a boost by the Grand Slams and the two tours, going from about $2 million annually to $3.6 million, to allow for more testing. The funding partners in the program, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Association, and four grand slam events, agreed to increase their contributions, lifting the overall budget to an estimated $3.5m. This year, the ITF will be introducing biological passports for players wherein test results would be collated over a period of time to assist anti-doping authorities to track any changes, which may indicate doping. But the proposed anti-doping measure has not gone well with Catlin, one of the world’s most eminent anti-doping experts, who said tennis is wasting its time adopting a biological passport program and added tennis is better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport as doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in and you need data over four or five years.

Meanwhile, the ITF has defended its stance and policies and remarked the Anti-Doping Working Group has identified the introduction of biological passports as a key enhancement of the detection and deterrence of doping under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, said program chief Dr. Stuart Miller and added the implementation of the passport in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency recommendations, including the required budget, is now being discussed by the four parties in the program.

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Sunday 23, Jun 2013

Doping Case Of Jamaican Runner Appears To Be A Minor Offense

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The doping case involving Jamaican star runner Veronica Campbell-Brown was “minor” and suggested that the reaction has been heightened due to the athlete’s international status, said an official of track and field’s world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The runner tested positive at the Jamaica International Invitational on May 4 for a banned substance that is believed to be a diuretic, triggering widescale international reaction, much of which was disproportionate to the offense, according to IAAF spokesman Nick Davies.

Davies remarked we can acknowledge that there is a case, but also take the opportunity to urge a sense of perspective and this seems from evidence to be a minor doping offense according to our rules, so we want to remain realistic in our reaction, pending the conclusion of the case. The IAAF spokesman also added that although we would not normally comment on active cases, all evidence seems to point to this offence being a lesser one. He also added that the situation has taken on great interest because of the international profile and appeal of Campbell-Brown and said there has been a disproportionate reaction, probably due to the fact that the athlete is a prominent Jamaican sprinter and it is very unfortunate when there are leaks (of information) – as has been the case here – since this is bad both for the athlete affected and for the sport in general.

As opposed to the mandatory two-year ban for serious cases, the penalty for minor offenses can range from a public warning to a suspension of a few months. Meanwhile, the management team of the runner released a statement acknowledging the positive test while pleading the athlete’s innocence of knowingly taking a banned substance while the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association said the current 200m World champion and a seven-time Olympic medalist was suspended from competition, pending the decision of a disciplinary panel, which will shortly review the case. The JAAA release said we also wish to point out that Veronica Campbell-Brown voluntarily withdrew herself from competition and accepted the provisional suspension.

Doping Case Of Jamaican Runner Appears To Be A Minor Offense

It is rumored that the banned drug was contained in a cream which Campbell-Brown, the first Jamaican athlete, male or female to win a global 100 meters title, was using to treat a leg injury and which she had declared on her doping control form. The Jamaican track and field sprint athlete who specializes in the 100 and 200 meters denied knowingly taking a banned substance Lasix, which also goes by the name Furosemide.

Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of only eight athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event, is the second woman in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200 m events, after Bärbel Wöckel of Germany at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics. The Jamaican sprint legend in 2001 was awarded the Austin Sealy Trophy for the most outstanding athlete of the 2001 CARIFTA Games and she won 3 gold medals (100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay) in the junior (U-20) category the same year.

The popular runner is expected to miss the 14th IAAF World Championship in Moscow in August this year.

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Saturday 22, Jun 2013

Matt White Reappointed By GreenEdge

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The eight-month doping exile of Matt White has finally come to an end and he was immediately drafted again by Australian team Orica-GreenEdge as a team director.

It was announced by the team that Orica-GreenEdge would implement all the recommendations of the report by anti-doping expert Nicki Vance and this would mean Neil Stephens will stay at GreenEdge as another director. The team also disclosed that White, who is already with the team at the Tour of Switzerland and is likely to have an important role later this month with their lineup for the Tour de France, will return on probation of 12 months.

Team general manager Shayne Bannan said the appointment of White is consistent with the framework for treating past and future offenses recommended in the Vance Report and the team has gone further by making Matt White’s appointment subject to a 12-month probationary period. Bannan added that this is all part of a constant evaluation structure we are putting in place regarding our management and we are not only fully committed to using the report as a guideline for our team, but would also like to continually use it as the best possible basis for our decision-making when approaching key elements of the sport.

Matt White Reappointed By GreenEdge

The Australian former professional road racing cyclist Matthew (“Matt”) White’s most notable results are winning a stage of the 1999 Tour de Suisse and another stage victory at the 2005 Tour Down Under. In 2012, he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs while on the US Postal squad and stood down from his role with Orica- GreenEdge on 13 October 2012. Matt White was sacked on 17 October 2012 as a national coach by Cycling Australia due to his use of performance enhancing drugs.

The former teammate of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and directeur sportif at Orica-GreenEdge, the Australian was named in the report before he confessed to doping while riding for US Postal team between 2001 and 2003. At that time, a statement was issued on the team’s official website by Gerry Ryan, the Orica-GreenEdge owner, which stated that Orica-GreenEdge is a clean team and our commitment to being clean has been a foundation principle of the team since the day of its inception and to maintain public confidence in our strict adherence to this principle Orica-GreenEdge has appointed an eminent and independent external expert to audit the rigor and effectiveness of the team’s anti-doping policies and procedures.

The statement also revealed that Orica-GreenEdge will not step back from taking any necessary decision to protect the integrity of the sport and the team and to restore the confidence of cycling fans around the world and Orica-GreenEdge believes a hard-line approach is an essential prerequisite to continue in the sport with credibility. The statement from the Australian team also stated the team has appointed Nicki Vance to lead this review and Vance established the testing and international programs for the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA), headed up the anti-doping program for the Sydney organizing committee for the Olympic Games and was a start up director for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

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Friday 21, Jun 2013

Doping Cover-Up Denied By IAAF

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Doping Cover-Up Denied By IAAF

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international governing body for the sport of athletics, such as running, jumping, and throwing, has vehemently denied any cover-up of the use of performance enhancing drugs by Italian 50km race walker Alex Schwazer.

The New York Times recently alleged that officials of the IAAF “had evidence” against Schwazer but made no effort to prevent him from competing in last summer’s Olympic Games in London. The leading newspaper added the revelation had stemmed from an investigation being conducted by prosecutors in Bolzano, Italy, into Dr Giuseppe Fischetto, the medical director for the Italian track and field federation and a member of the international track organization’s Anti-Doping Commission.

The report claimed that IAAF authorities had obtained e-mail messages indicating that as early as April 2012, officials for track and field’s world governing body, known as the IAAF, were aware of abnormal doping test results for the racewalker Alex Schwazer, who won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. It was further revealed that Thomas Capdevielle, the medical and anti-doping manager of the I.A.A.F., sent Fischetto the results of an out-of-competition blood test conducted on Schwazer and emphasized that the values recorded in Schwazer’s blood were high and the email conversations disclosed that Fischetto restated his belief that Schwazer was using illegal performance enhancing drugs.

It was further disclosed in the newspaper that Italy’s paramilitary police force, the Carabinieri, recently searched the home and office of Fischetto, as well as those of two other officials of the Italian track and field federation in Rome and they are accused of covering up the doping practices of Schwazer. The prosecutors, in their search warrant, accused Fischetto of complicit behavior that consisted in not activating any anti-doping control against the athlete, in fact allowing him to take illegal performance enhancing substances. The office of the Bolzano chief prosecutor, Guido Rispoli, said in a search warrant request this circumstance can only be explained by the desire to ‘preserve’ a national track and field star for the 2012 London Olympic Games, in the expectation that he would perform well for Italy both in the 20 and the 50 km walk race.

In response to the allegations, the IAAF said in a statement that it is aware of and shocked by the accusations made against it in the New York Times concerning the ongoing investigation in Italy regarding the case of the sanctioned Italian race walker Alex Schwazer and the world athletics’ governing body categorically refutes these claims in the strongest possible terms. The statement added that the case outlined involved abnormal blood results with respect to an Athletes Biological Passport and was handled in strict accordance with IAAF rules and those of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).

While training for the London Olympics, Schwazer eventually failed a doping test conducted by WADA and the Italian anti-doping court banned him for three and a half years for testing positive for the blood booster EPO (erythropoietin). Schwazer was removed from the Italian team before he had the chance to defend his Olympic 50km title. The racewalker later admitted to using the blood-boosting hormone EPO during a televised news conference.

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