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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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Friday 05, Dec 2014

  Documentary Alleges Russia Of Athletics Doping

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Documentary Alleges Russia Of Athletics Doping

A documentary screened on the German TV network MDR has alleged that up to 99 percent of the Russian Olympic team use doping products. The German television also alleged that the northern Eurasia country is funding a comprehensive “East German-style” doping program for athletes at national and international levels.

ARD also revealed that the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion Mariya Savinova admitted to using Oxandrolone (Anavar), the banned steroid. The ARD documentary linked widespread doping in the country to Russian officials and athletes in other sports, including swimming, cycling, biathlon, cross-country skiing, and weightlifting. It was also reported that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, accused coaches of providing her with banned substances. Her husband, former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov, said Russian sports federations would come to the Russian doping control officers offering “extra cash” for hushing up positive tests.

In another development, French sports daily L’Equipe reported that a bribe of 450,000 euros ($550,000) was paid by Liliya Shobukhova, who won the Chicago Marathon from 2009-11 and the London race in 2010, to cover up a positive doping case.

Andrei Baranov, the agent for three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova, disclosed before the ethics commission of IAAD that Liliya paid more than $600,000 to avoid a doping suspension. L’Equipe reported that Shobukhova was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she violated doping rules in 2011 after she paid the money in January, June and July, 2012 as three installments. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has now gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport asking for a four-year suspension on Shobukhova. In a statement, the world governing body of athletics said it understands that there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

ARD claims it has evidence linking the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, Valentin Balakhnichev, who also serves as the treasurer for the IAAF, in the Shobukhova case. Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov were also implicated in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system. ARD also claims that it has footage of Vladimir Kazarin, Vladimir Kazarin, discussing how he gave Oxandrolone tablets to another athlete. It also alleged that Russia assisted its athletes to avoid drug testing while training abroad and that Russian athletes would use fake names when they check into a hotel to avoid testing.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said these are serious allegations and he understands an investigation is already under way by the IAAF ethics commission and we await the full findings. World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman remarked the allegations are shocking and it will ensure that all matters raised are fully investigated. The World Anti-Doping Agency has already forwarded evidence of the type exposed in the documentary to the IAAF ethics panel. WADA powers allow it to declare the northern Eurasia country non-compliant and withdraw accreditation of the Moscow lab to work in sports.

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Monday 17, Nov 2014

  Germany To Jail Athletes Using Banned Substances

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Germany To Jail Athletes Using Banned Substances

Germany is set to introduce anti-doping law next year. Under the law, German athletes found guilty of using doping products could face imprisonment of up to three years.

The 46-page draft of the new law, which will be adopted in 2015, would be resulting in prosecution for athletes who fail both the A and B doping tests. In extreme cases, the proposal also includes a maximum sentence of up to 10 years for those found guilty of supplying athletes with doping substances. Possession of doping products under the new anti-doping law would also be a punishable offence, irrespective of the amount. This law would apply to around 7,000 sportsmen and women regularly tested by Germany’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) excluding amateur and mass sports. Regular German courts could now sentence dopers behind bars. This draft, however, is applicable only to those “earning a significant amount from sport”.

Germany’s Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said the aim of the law is to preserve the integrity of sport and to combat doping. Germany’s minister of justice Heiko Maas remarked that is a statement for clean sport and a challenge to those who dope and added we believe that this is a milestone and the law has been long over-due. De Maiziere added we want to say this is not just something that concerns sport, but this is a punishable behavior, which society as a whole believes should be punishable.

In 2009, Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière refused to draft an anti-doping law despite many doping scandals. Thomas de Maizière had then remarked he is cautious to instantly implement strong legal regulations. Now, Thomas de Maizière along with justice minister Jeiko Maas has drafted the anti-doping law. Under this law, data and documents from Germany’s courts or state prosecutors would have to be handed over to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) of Germany on request.

The new anti-doping law in waiting was welcomed by sport heads. Clemens Prokop, president of Germany’s Athletics Association (DLV), said the anti-doping law is a huge step in the effective battle against doping. Germany’s football team manager Oliver Bierhoff also supported the draft and said sport can be clean only with tough, drastic sanctions. President of the Germany’s Cycling Association (BDR), Rudolf Scharping, commented that he hopes this law also removes the in-between men and the criminal network of doping.

In another development, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the doping ban of German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle from two years to six months. Sachebacher-Stehle, a former two-time Olympic champion in cross-country skiing, tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine at the Winter Games in February. A three-man CAS panel ruled that positive test of the athlete at the Sochi Olympics was the result of a contaminated supplement and her degree of fault was “minimal.” The CAS ruled that the athlete took the substance inadvertently in a dietary supplement. Sachebacher-Stehle was stripped of her fourth-place finish in biathlon mass start by the International Olympic Committee.

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Wednesday 06, Feb 2013

  Doping Bans Increased To Four Years By WADA

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Doping Bans Increased To Four Years By WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency has come up with amendments to the World Anti-Doping Code to provide tougher punishment for athletes using forbidden substances.

On Tuesday, the changes to the Code were discussed at the organization’s extraordinary meeting as part of the European Council’s session in the French city of Strasburg.

 Natalia Zhelanova, head of the Russian Sports Ministry’s Anti-Doping Department, said the new edition of the WADA Code directly affirms that the testing can be performed at any place and any time by any anti-doping organization which has jurisdiction over an athlete and the standard period of disqualification for the first doping offense is extended [from two] to four years, besides for a number of exceptions. It was further added by Natalia that all of the results of the athlete shown during the disqualification term will be annulled even in case of a retroactive ban. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations for legal action on possession and use of performance enhancing drugs was also extended from eight to 10 years and to 14 years for other offenses, including prescription and distribution of doping products.

The head of the Russian Sports Ministry’s Anti-Doping Department also remarked that there were suggestions to discard the B-Sample but it kept its place in the code after a heated debate. The B-sample is presently used to confirm or invalidate the presence of doping in the athlete’s first sample, the A-sample.

The new amendments to the World Anti-Doping Code will come into force starting January 1, 2015. A number of signatories to the WADA code argued for stronger sanctions in the wake of the debate sparked by US athlete LaShawn Merritt’s success in overturning an International Olympic Committee rule that would have banned him from London 2012.

John Fahey, president of WADA, had remarked in the past that here is a strong desire in the world of sport, from governments and within the anti-doping community, to strengthen the sanction articles in the Code from the number of submissions we received and the scope for anti-doping organizations to impose lifetime bans will get widened by doubling the length of suspension for serious offender. The WADA president added that the funding of the anti-doping agency would be frozen for a second successive year at approximately $28m (£17.5m). Fahey added that it is widely accepted that doping is a major issue no longer restricted to the sporting world, and that it must be addressed by society as a whole.

It was revealed that the bans of four years would be handed out for serious doping offenses such as the use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, masking agents, and trafficking.

Darly Seibel, the spokesman for the British Olympic Association, said WADA is moving in the right direction by sending the right message as a deterrent to those who might consider breaking the rules as a two-year sanction for a serious first-time doping offense was insufficient. WADA spokesman Terence O’Rorke said here won’t be any need for [the IOC rule] because the athletes will be missing the next Olympics if the rationale is if more four-year sanctions are delivered.

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