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Monday 29, Jun 2015

  My Credibility Is Not Very High, Says Bjarne Riis

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In an interview with Danish television channel TV2, Bjarne Riis has admitted that he was complicit in the use of doping products at Team CSC when he was the director.

Riis also admitted he blood doped himself during his career and knew that Tyler Hamilton was blood doping with disgraced Spanish doctor Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. The Danish former professional road bicycle racer, who won the 1996 Tour de France, said he is well aware of the fact that his credibility is not very high.

The former cyclist made these remarks after a 97-page Anti-Doping Denmark report concluded that Bjarne Riis, former Riis Cycling managing director Alex Pedersen, directeur sportif Johnny Weltz (now a directeur sportif at Cannondale-Garmin), and many Danish former riders all violated anti-doping rules. None of them will however face disciplinary action due to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s eight-year statute of limitation rule in force at the time.

The ADD report also disclosed that the ex-coach gave the telephone number of the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes to Tyler Hamilton.

The report published by ADD was based on interviews with present and former riders, aides, and officials, including rider Michael Rasmussen. The interviews were conducted by telephone or email with people involved in cycling since 1998.

Rasmussen, who was interviewed for two days in January 2013, admitted in 2013 that he doped for more than a decade. In 2007, Rasmussen was leading the 2007 Tour de France and was sacked by his team after he lied about his whereabouts when he missed pre-race doping tests.

During the investigation by Anti-Doping Denmark, Riis spoke to ADD and admitted to blood doping and confirmed he had personal knowledge about practices related to blood doping. It was also revealed during the investigation that he had requested Danish rider Bo Hamburger provide Erythropoietin (EPO) to Jörg Jaksche. Riis also said there was a widespread use of Cortisone at Team CSC without medical justification. Riis, nicknamed The Eagle from Herning, said there are some things in the report that he does not agree with but he will not elaborate on them. The ex-cyclist said the report concluded that he failed as a leader and he confirmed and regret that deeply.

Later, Riis issued a statement to repeat his feelings of failure and regret and said he supports recommendations of the ADD report. The former professional cyclist said he believes the ADD recommendations could make a critical contribution for the future of cycling. Riis also went on to add that he is absolutely convinced that cycling as a sport is much cleaner today, partly due to the Biological Passport.

Bjarne Riis, the former general manager of Team CSC, admitted on 25 May 2007 that he used banned substances to come first in the 1996 Tour de France. The Tour reconfirmed his victory in July 2008 but with an asterisk label to indicate his doping offences. Following the 1998 Tour de France, Riis acquired the nickname of Mr. 60 percent to suggest he has used doping. The 60 percent is an allusion to a high level of red blood cells that indicate EPO usage.

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Thursday 25, Jun 2015

  Former Tour De France Winner Escapes Ban

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Former Tour de France winner and Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis has managed to escape a ban even though it was revealed by a report by Denmark’s anti-doping agency (ADD) that he decided to ignore use of banned performance enhancing drugs by riders on the former Team CSC.

A statue of limitations for doping cases applies and no disciplinary charges can be brought as many of the revelations contained in the report are dating back more than 10 years. It was suggested by the Anti-Doping Denmark report that there would be grounds without a statute of limitations to bring doping cases forward against a number of Danish riders who have admitted either their own doping violations or where the interviews have given the investigation group knowledge about their alleged offences.

According to the 97-page report published on Tuesday, senior Team CSC members Johnny Weltz (now a directeur sportif at Cannondale-Garmin) and Alex Pedersen (former Riis Cycling Managing Director) were also aware of the doping practices.

This report was based on interviews with 50 present and former riders, aides, and officials, including the Danish rider Michael Rasmussen. In 2013, Rasmussen admitted he doped for more than a decade. The cyclist was leading the 2007 Tour de France when he was sacked by his team for lying about his whereabouts after he missed pre-race doping tests. Rasmussen, who was interviewed for two days in 2013, said he experienced a widespread use of banned cortisone on Team CSC with the acceptance of team doctors and its leaders. The former cyclist also remarked his teammate Tyler Hamilton also received cortisone.

It was revealed by the report that Bjarne Riis provided Tyler Hamilton with the number of the disgraced Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. It was revealed that Riis told Hamilton that Fuentes is the best in the business and he is the doctor to go to for blood doping. Fuentes was not interviewed by Anti-Doping Denmark. It was also revealed in the ADD report that Riis admitted to being aware that Tyler Hamilton was working for blood doping with Dr. Fuentes and he did not act to stop it. Riis also confessed to blood doping during his own illustrious career and said he had personal knowledge about blood doping practices.

In 2007, Riis admitted he made use of Erythropoietin (EPO), the banned blood booster, to win the Tour de France in 1996. Riis later managed CSC that later became Team Tinkoff-Saxo.

The ADD report was inspired by a US Anti-Doping Agency investigation that saw Lance Armstrong getting stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from professional cycling for doping offences. The report by Anti-Doping Denmark also included an allegation by Danish rider Bo Hamburger that Bjarne Riis asked him to acquire EPO in 2000 for German Team Telekom rider Jorg Jaksche. This allegation was confirmed by Jaksche to the ADD investigators but it was denied by Riis who said though he did coach the two cyclists, he was not aware that either of them was doping.

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Thursday 07, Aug 2014

  UCI Chief Wants Vinokourov And Riis To Testify

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UCI Chief Wants Vinokourov And Riis To Testify

Brian Cookson, the UCI president, has called upon Alexandr Vinokourov and Bjarne Riis to testify before the independent commission on the doping history of cycling. Cookson urged Riis and Vinokourov, the heads of the two most prominent teams in this year’s Tour de France, to make this effort to help the sport move from its disgraced past.

At the Tour de France finish in Paris, Cookson said he would like both of them to come to the commission. The UCI head remarked the commission doesn’t have powers of subpoena, but there is a court of public opinion here which is really important and those two people and others as well need to bear that in mind if they want to continue to operate in our world, opinion in the world of cycling would be much more favorable towards them if they came forward.

Cookson said he believes the cycling’s independent commission could help in the process of rebuilding within the sport. The UCI President said we have got a rule that says if you have got a major anti-doping violation you can’t be involved with a team, but our advice is that it’s difficult to employ that retroactively. He added so what he wants to try to do is find ways in which we can reassure people that the people who are involved in the sport who may have had a history have renounced that and given a commitment to work with us in a way that respects the rules, and is clean. Cookson added such and such a guy may have done wrong things but he was penalized for that, served his sanction and he has also spoken to the commission and told them about what happened. He went on to add that it is unrealistic to say we have to wipe out those people forever and ever and remarked there are teams that have tried that – his friends at Team Sky – and they have tied themselves in knots and other teams have tried other ways and found other complications.

Brian Cookson remarked he would not favor compelling former dopers who want to work within cycling to first testify to the commission. Cookson said he would rather want that it was by consent rather than compulsion and those people can come forward now. The UCI chief also said he would like to appeal to those people to show good faith at least and he expects them to come forward to the commission, to tell what happened, how it happened, and why it happened.

   The UCI President said he is “delighted” that Lance Armstrong has testified to the commission and remarked that it underlines that people are coming forward, people of significance, and that should encourage others to step forward because what we want to do is learn some lessons, take some action and address this situation of people who’ve been involved in doping being involved with teams.

In 2007, Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping but now is in charge of the Tour de France winner’s Astana squad. Riis, in charge of Tinkoff-Saxo, admitted to using erythropoietin to win the 1996 Tour. Riis was initially expunged from the record but subsequently reinstated.

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Tuesday 04, Mar 2014

  Cyclist Gets 8-Year Doping Ban

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Cyclist Gets 8-Year Doping Ban

Patrik Sinkewitz, the former Mapei-Quick Step and T-Mobile rider, has received a ban of eight years for doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Following the GP Lugano in early 2011, the 33-year-old had tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH) where he raced with the Italian team ISD-Neri. Sinkewitz underwent a doping control on February 27, 2011 at the end of the Grand Prix of Lugano in Switzerland and the analysis of his samples revealed the presence of recombinant growth hormone (“recGH”).

However, the German arbitral tribunal for sports-related disputes (Sportschiedsgericht der Deutschen Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit (“DIS Arbitral Tribunal”)) cleared the rider of doping charges the following year. NADA, Germany’s national anti-doping agency, appealed to the CAS and the heavy penalty indicates that Patrik Sinkewitz has not been sanctioned for doping for the first time. The CAS Panel in charge of this case, composed of Prof. Christoph Vedder, President (Germany), Dr. Dirk-Reiner Martens (Germany), and Prof. Dr. Martin Schimke, (Germany) found that NADA has clearly established that the blood samples of Sinkewitz revealed the presence of recGH. Sinkewitz is also ordered to pay a fine of EUR 38,500.

Sinkewitz had tested positive for testosterone during the 2007 Tour de France, a race in which a drug-free promise was made by T-Mobile after earlier confessions to doping from former riders including Bjarne Riis and Erik Zabel.

Patrik Sinkewitz decided to sue the International Cycling Union and remarked that cycling’s world governing body wrongly communicated to hum that “a substance” was found when they were actually investigating a blood value. At that time, Sinkewitz’s attorney Rainer Cherkeh challenged the validity of the tests and remarked the scientist and HGH expert working for us showed clearly and in detail that there is not scientifically sure validation data. UCI press officer Enrico Carpani explained at that time that the UCI has always said human growth hormones were being tested but we didn’t want to officially announce the date of scientific validation of the test in order to allow an element of surprise. Carpani added that without making a pronouncement about Patrik Sinkewitz’s case, who still can ask for a B sample analysis, we can say that the validation of the human growth hormone test is a major new step in the fight against doping.

Sinkewitz refused to have his B sample tested and was then sacked by T-Mobile. He later admitted to making use of EPO and banned blood transfusions. The rider blamed his positive drug test on Testogel, a testosterone ointment, and received a reduced ban of one year in November 2007 for cooperating with the agencies. His recent ban will keep Sinkewitz out of cycling till November 2022.

The professional German road racing cyclist, who competes for the Meridiana-Kamen team, started his amateur career with Mapei-Quick Step. In 2003, he turned professional with Quick Step-Davitamon and then moved to T-mobile Team in 2005 where Sinkewitz enjoyed a good season. The German rider was able to finish fourth in the Vuelta al País Vasco and twice finished stages in the first five.

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Thursday 10, Mar 2011

  Bjarne Riis’s name removed from record books

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Bjarne Riis's name removed from record booksThe name of Bjarne Riis has been removed from the record books of Tour de France after he confessed using drugs in the 1996 race.

The announcement was made by organizer Christian Prudhomme and told to the Guardian.

The organizer did not commented when asked if Erik Zabel of Germany, who confessed to using EPO during the 1996 event when he took his first victory in the award, will be awarded the same punishment.