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Wednesday 28, Jan 2015

  Former Team Sky Doctor Given Life Ban

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The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has imposed life ban on former Rabobank cycling team doctor and board member Geert Leinders, according to an announcement by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD), and Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands (Doping autoriteit).

The Belgian physician was banned for his involvement in supply of performance enhancing drugs to riders. The investigation of Leinders started with the discovery of evidence by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in 2012 during the course of its investigation of doping in cycling.

A three-member panel of the North American Court of Arbitration for Sport made the decision to ban Leinders, according to USADA. The panel agreed with the charges that the charges that the alleged doping offenses involved aggravating circumstances to justify a lifetime period of ineligibility. It was found by the North American Court of Arbitration for Sport Panel that the physician administered banned performance enhancing drugs and methods, including EPO, blood transfusion paraphernalia, testosterone, insulin, DHEA, LH, and corticosteroids without any legitimate medical need to athletes under his care.

In a statement, Travis T. Tygart, head of USADA, said it shocks the conscience that a board member and team doctor would abuse his trusted position by overseeing and participating in this type of dangerous and fraudulent activity. Tygart also added that ridding those in the system who attempt to justify doping as a means to an end is the only way to truly clean up cycling for current and future generations of athletes.

Leinders was the team doctor in 2007 with Rabobank when Michael Rasmussen was expelled from the Tour de France for evading doping controls in buildup to the race. In 2009, Geert Leinders left Rabobank and later worked for some riders from Team Sky.

Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD) director Lone Hansen said in a statement that Rasmussen cooperated and testified in the case. Hansen added athlete eyewitness testimony can play an important and powerful role in the investigative process, and in this case, Michael Rasmussen’s cooperation and testimony was integral to the outcome. The ADD Director added this case was an important opportunity for ADD to collaborate with our partners at USADA and Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands to pursue a level playing field in cycling, and we know that continued global collaboration is the only way to provide a level playing field for all athletes in all sports.

Herman Ram, Director of Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands, said this case demonstrates that intelligence gathering and investigations in close cooperation between independent anti-doping organizations can lead to the prosecution and sanctioning of not only athletes but also – and more importantly – of athlete support personnel. The Director of Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands also remarked we appreciate the collaborative work done on this case, and we will continue our efforts to bring to light the full truth about the culture of doping.

The physician is prohibited from training or advising athletes and participating at any event sanctioned by USA Cycling, the International Cycling Union, or any other sports agency that follows the World Anti-Doping Agency codes.

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Sunday 09, Nov 2014

  Canada Does Not Have Organized Doping System

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Canada Does Not Have Organized Doping System

An independent agency working on behalf of Cycling Canada has remarked that there is no overarching doping program in the country. The agency however disclosed in a report that Canada must improve its efforts to build a better educational platform for discouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs.

The report, entitled “National Consultation on Doping Activity in the Sport of Cycling,” emphasized on different areas of sport ethics like decision making, testing, and the culture of cycling and performance enhancing drugs. The report said there may have been isolated cases of performance enhancing drug use but they were not part of a national culture of performance enhancing drug use in elite cycling.

In a release, Greg Mathieu, chief executive officer of Cycling Canada, said we are pleased to hear that the report confirms that there is no ‘culture of doping’ in Canadian Cycling. Mathieu added we have been very clear in the past that Cycling Canada does not tolerate any athletes who try to cheat on their way to better performances and also remarked that we believe that it is possible to win at Olympic Games, World championships, or any other international or national events without the use of any doping agents.

The findings come after a series of confessions from professional cyclist from North America to using performance enhancing drugs through the “Reasoned Decision” of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The USADA repot centered on Lance Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team.

Danish rider Michael Rasmussen in his autobiography, “Yellow Fever,” had remarked that he taught Canadians Ryder Hesjedal, Michael Barry, Seamus McGrath, and Chris Sheppard on how to use Erythropoietin (EPO). While Michael Barry admitted to using PEDs during his time on the USPS team the other two cyclists later admitted to using performance enhancing drugs on another instances.

Sheppard received a two-year suspension in 2005 after recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO) was found in his system. The cyclist was subjected to an out-of-competition urine test at his home in Kamloops on May 29, 2005. In 2013, Canadian mountain biker and Olympian Seamus McGrath admitted to doping. The cyclist had won silver in cross country at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and received bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

McGrath was placed ninth in the cross country event at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, admitted to doping after accusations by Rasmussen. His team Garmin-Sharp said Hesjedal had testified to the US Anti-Doping Agency and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) much before the story of Rasmussen came out. Barry confessed to doping after he was named in the USADA report in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. The cyclist said that he realized doping had become an endemic problem in professional cycling not long after he joined the US Postal Service team in 2002. Barry claimed he stopped doping in 2006 after he joined the T-Mobile team. Michael Barry admitted to using Erythropoietin (EPO), Human growth hormone (hGH) and Testosterone and accepted a six-month ban beginning September 10, 2012.

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Thursday 14, Nov 2013

  Canadian Cyclist Admits Doping

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Canadian cyclist admits doping

Canada’s top cycling star, Ryder Hesjedal, has admitted to mistakes after he was accused of using banned drugs by former Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen. It was claimed by Rasmussen in his new book Yellow Fever that he taught Hesjedal how to take EPO.

According to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, Hesjedal would not face any penalties because the offence occurred outside the limitation period. It however remarked that is disappointed that Hesjedal waited more than a decade to publicly disclose his past involvement in doping and added his conduct has deprived many clean Canadian athletes from the opportunity to shine in the sport of cycling.

Rasmussen, in his newly released autobiography, disclosed that he taught Hesjedal and two other Canadian mountain bikers, Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard, how to use erythropoietin when they stayed at his house for two weeks in August of 2003. The Danish cyclist claims that all achieved great results after they left his place.

A champion rider who switched from mountain bike racing to road racing after the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Hesjedal finished second at the 2003 world mountain biking championships. He was on the verge of winning gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens had he not suffered a punctured tire in the mountain biking category, claims Rasmussen. Hesjedal won the Giro d’Italia in 2012 and won the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year for the achievement.

The 32-year-old Victoria native Hesjedal said he accepts responsibility for those mistakes and remarked he will always be sorry. He went on to add that he was open and honest about his past when contacted by anti-doping authorities more than a year ago. Hesjedal’s management team said the cyclist would not speak to the media as an investigation is ongoing.

After his public admission, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirmed that they interviewed the cyclist earlier this year as part of an investigation into doping in Canadian cycling.

Hesjedal won’t be punished as the World Anti-Doping Code has an eight-year statute of limitations, the CCES said. It added that the Center does not disclose information as it gathers intelligence about what is going on in the sport community. According to a statement by USADA, Travis Tygart, CEO of the USADA, said that in the past discipline and sanctions have been announced where there is actionable evidence of doping within the statute of limitations. Tygart added athletes like him and others, who have voluntarily come in, taken accountability for their actions and have been fully truthful, are essential to securing a brighter future for the sport of cycling.

Jonathan Vaughters, a former professional racing cyclist and general manager and CEO of Slipstream Sports, said Ryder was completely open and honest and transparent with USADA and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, so we’ve known about this for a while. Vaughters added he is satisfied that the Canada’s top cycling star is clean and has been clean for years.

The national body that organizes and promotes cycling in Canada, Cycling Canada, issued a statement that it was shocked and saddened to learn that Ryder Hesjedal was involved in doping over a decade ago.

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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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Tuesday 09, Jul 2013

  Riis Aware Of Doping, Says Rasmussen

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Riis Aware Of Doping, Says Rasmussen

Anti-doping authorities have been told by Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen that Saxo-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis knew about widespread doping in his team. The cyclist remarked Riis had full knowledge of the widespread use of doping substances in his cycling team and cited several sources with knowledge of the matter.

The news came as the Saxo-Tinkoff team owner left the Tour de France and denied his exist was linked to a probe by Denmark authorities into the use of doping by cyclists.

Danish newspaper Politiken wrote on its website that it was unlikely Riis would ever face disciplinary action though US cyclist Tyler Hamilton and Joerg Jaksche of Germany have both told Anti-Doping Denmark that Riis knew about the doping practices. Riis won the 1996 Tour de France but admitted that he used erythropoietin to win. Despite his doping admission, his win has not been officially erased from the race’s record books.

Jens Evald, a law professor at Aarhus University, remarked the contents of the testimonies are very interesting, but they are all eight years or more back in time, and the statute of limitations is just eight years.

Rasmussen, the cyclist who was kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France when he was wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey, had admitted on 31 January 2013, of using EPO, growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, insulin, IGF-1, cortisone, and blood transfusions in the period 1998-2010. At that time, team manager Claus Hembo said we will welcome him back when his sanction is served, but then as a sports director with Christina Watches – Onfone powered by DANA. Hembo added this will be done for a man with a cleaned conscience, and as a man who strongly dissociates himself from doping, and who will forever obligate himself to be of service to the authorities in the front line of the battle against doping. After this, his attempt to increase the €700,000 euro damages awarded to him in 2008 backfired after he lost in his claim for €5 million.

Rasmussen’s most notable victories include four stages of the Tour de France, one stage of the Vuelta a España and a win on the Italian classic Giro dell’Emilia in 2002 besides winning the best climber classification in the 2005 and 2006 Tour de France. Michael Rasmussen is known for peeling off unnecessary stickers from his bike. The Danish cyclist started his career as a mountain biker, and he won the Mountain Bike World Championships in 1999 before becoming a stagiaire with the professional cycling team CSC-Tiscali in 2001. In 2002, he secured a one-year contract and switched from CSC-Tiscali to Rabobank in 2003 following a string of good results in August and September. The Danish cyclist was accused by mountain bike racer Whitney Richards of trying to get him to transport a box in early 2002 on the pretext that it contained his favorite cycling shoes though the box contained packets of Hemopure, a bovine-hemoglobin-based blood substitute that might potentially have been used in a doping program.

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Monday 22, Apr 2013

  CONI Given Access To Mantua Files

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CONI Given Access To Mantua Files

Just a few days before the 2013 Giro d’Italia begins in Naples, the Italian national Olympic committee (CONI), is to be given access to evidence gathered by prosecutors as part of the Mantua investigation into doping in cycling. The doping scandal involves big names like Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego and the date for that hearing was fixed by preliminary hearing judge Gilberto Casari, who also permitted CONI to be joined to the case as a civil party.

The investigation is focused on a pharmacist based in Mariana Mantovana, Guido Nigrelli, and his relationship with the Lampre team, with a number of past and present riders and staff among those implicated. The judge’s authorization came after the session was suspended for 40 minutes while the judge considered lawyers’ requests. This incident is different from another probe that is being conducted from Padua and focuses on banned doctor Michele Ferrari and his alleged relationship with riders from a variety of teams.

Former world champion Ballan, who is currently recovering from a bad crash while training for the current season, and 2004 Giro d’Italia winner, Cunego, are among the 31 people said to be potentially facing charges as a result of the Mantua investigation. The list of suspects includes former Lampre team manager and Giro d’Italia and world championship winner Giuseppe Saronni, Danish ex-pro Michael Rasmussen who confessed to doping earlier this year, and current riders including Astana’s Simone Ponzi, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s Mauro Santambrogio, and Daniele Pietropolli, who is now in his fourth season with Lampre.

Alessandro Ballan, the Italian professional road bicycle racer for UCI World Tour team BMC Racing Team, is best known for winning the World Road Race Championships in 2008 and suffered a severe training crash during a descent as he was riding with his team in Spain. Ballan fractured his left femur, broke a rib and ruptured his spleen, which had to be removed and spent a little more than a week in intensive care. Damiano Cunego, the Italian professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Merida and his biggest wins are the 2004 Giro d’Italia, the 2008 Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2004, 2007, 2008. Cunego finished second in the UCI Road World Championships in 2008 and in the 2008 UCI ProTour. He, in 2008, won the Klasika Primavera and the Amstel Gold Race, with two powerful sprints against Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck, with victory in the latter propelling him to the top of the UCI Pro Tour rankings.

The preliminary hearing into the case will consider whether formal charges should be brought against those who have been implicated or not, as well as whether evidence obtained by phone-taps should be admissible. It is not the first time that the Italian Olympic Committee has been involved in the investigation. Its anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri, summoned some of the riders implicated, including Ballan, for interviews at his offices in Rome two years ago although he decided to take no further action pending a criminal trial taking place.

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Wednesday 03, Apr 2013

  Doping On Cycling Team Was Tolerated By Rabobank

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Doping On Cycling Team Was Tolerated By Rabobank

A Dutch newspaper has revealed that Team Rabobank tolerated the use of doping up until at least 2007. It was revealed by de Volkskrant that the riders were allowed to use their own products and medical staff of the team ensured that they didn’t hurt their health.

Three former riders, including Michael Boogerd, one of the Netherlands’ most popular riders, were said to have been involved in the HumanPlasma blood doping ring. A key witness in the Humanplasma scandal, Stefan Matschiner, revealed that three riders of the team were customers of the Swiss blood doping expert.

Boogerd had admitted to using banned blood booster EPO, cortisone and, late in his career, blood transfusions and said he used the banned substances from 1997 to 2007, the end of his career. He even admitted using the Austrian blood lab, Humanplasma, for transfusions. The cyclist won the Amstel Gold classic in 1999, edging Lance Armstrong in second place, and had two stage wins in the Tour de France.

Six former riders – Danny Nelissen, Marc Lotz, Thomas Dekker, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, and Grischa Niermann — and former manager Theo de Rooij have admitted doping. Nelissen confessed to using EPO while riding for the team and confirmed that a doping system was implemented after the Rabobank had endured a low-key start to the 1996 season. Nelissen remarked the pressure of supporting a family had influenced his decision to dope. He claimed he had EPO administered by the team doctor Geert Leinders at the Tour de France in 1996 and 1997.

Rolf Sorensen of Denmark admitted to doping in the 1990s and said he used EPO and cortisone. Theo de Rooy who was team manager from 2003 to 2007 did not deny that there was doping on the team and remarked if there was doping, that was a deliberate decision by the medical staff but claimed not to know of the HumanPlasma involvement.

Theo de Rooy added it was the responsibility of each rider to determine how far he would go into the medical field and said the team management did not encourage or pay for doping, and was not officially allowed. He went on to remark that he had disciplined riders who wanted to organize their own medical care outside the team structure. De Rooy left the team shortly after Rasmussen was removed from the 2007 Tour de France after the 16th stage and was handed over a ban of two years July 2007 to July 2009, for lying about his whereabouts. The cyclist later admitted to using EPO, growth hormones, insulin, testosterone, DHEA, IGF-1, cortisone, and blood doping, for most of his professional career.

Team Rabobank announced its withdrawal from sponsoring the team in October 2012 after 17 seasons in the peloton. The team however announced its intention to continue as a ‘white label’ under a new foundation yet to be established and made an announcement that it would participate in 2013 under the name Blanco Pro Cycling Team (successor of the former Rabobank), with the intention to find a sponsor for 2014 or to stop the team otherwise.

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Friday 29, Mar 2013

  Danish Olympic Riders Were Doping, Says Rasmussen

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Danish Olympic Riders Were Doping, Says Rasmussen

Three of the riders on the Danish Olympic team were doping when they competed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, former professional bicycle rider Michael Rasmussen has told anti-doping authorities.

In late January, the Dane who was kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France when he was wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey admitted to doping for 12 years and revealed he has been cooperating with authorities, including the US Anti-Doping Agency, about his drug links and cheating past. The 38-year-old revealed he used EPO, cortisone, insulin, human growth hormone, and blood transfusions from 1998-2010 when he was riding for various teams such as CSC-Tiscali and Rabobank.

According to Politiken newspaper, the former cycle star while being questioned by representatives of the international doping agency, WADA, as well as authorities in the Netherlands, Denmark, and the US explained how doping was part of the preparations of the Danish cycling team for the Olympic Games just over eight years ago. It was remarked that one of the five members of the Danish road cycling team – Frank Høj, Bo Hamburger, Nicki Sørensen, Lars Michaelsen, and Michael Rasmussen – allegedly smuggled the drugs into the Olympic camp. One of the Danes was successful in breaching the otherwise top-notch security at Olympic Games to smuggle a syringe through the control by concealing it in the battery compartment of a media device. The five cyclists shared an apartment in the Olympic Village and spent a lot of time together before the race and discussed the possibility of doping and three of the five riders injected a cortisone product.

The head of the Danish cycling authority and the team leader for the Danish team during Athens 2004, Jesper Worre, was shocked to hear the news and remarked we need to get to the bottom of this because it’s absolutely insane if that actually happened. Worre added we will try to get an overview before commenting and were not present during Rasmussen’s questioning and don’t have insight into the case. He further added that he knew nothing of such occurrences.

The information must be verified before action is taken, Jens Evald, a law professor at Aarhus University and former head of Anti-Doping Danmark, contended. Evald added that everyone that was present at the questioning is part of a confidentiality pact and just because Rasmussen says it is does not mean that it is a truthful statement and said one has to be careful not to conclude anything until the information has been verified.

        Meanwhile, Hamburger and Michaelsen both denied to Ekstra Bladet tabloid that they were doping during the 2004 Olympics. Sørensen, who is still active as a rider for Team Saxo-Tinkoff, also denied doping and said he thinks the accusations about the Olympics in the media are very unpleasant and he just wants to say that they are unfounded. Sørensen added he is willing to speak with Anti-Doping Danmark and DCU about the story.

The head of the Danish athletics association, Danmarks Idræts-Forbund, Niels Nygaard said that it would be very sad if the news was indeed true and remarked it is always sad when Danish athletes are doping, but it is even more of a shame if the Danish cyclist were doping during the Olympic Games.

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Saturday 09, Mar 2013

  Michael Rasmussen Confesses To Years Of Doping

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Michael Rasmussen Confesses To Years Of Doping

Retired Danish professional bicycle racer, Michael Rasmussen, has admitted to doping for 12 years. The cyclist who competed in road racing and mountain biking revealed he has been cooperating with authorities, including the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) about his drug links and cheating past.

The cyclist, who won the best climber classification in the 2005 and 2006 Tour de France, told a press conference that he was quitting the sport immediately. Rasmussen remarked that he had provided extensive details to Danish and Dutch authorities, the US Anti-Doping Agency, and the World Anti-Doping Agency, in a series of secret interviews in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

The 38-year-old Rasmussen was thrown off the 2007 Tour de France for failing to reveal his whereabouts to drug testers before the month-long race. He ticked off a cocktail of drugs he used from 1998-2010 and was riding for various teams such as CSC-Tiscali and Rabobank at the time. Michael Rasmussen admitted to using EPO, cortisone, insulin, human growth hormone, and blood transfusions and said he know he cheated and lied and cheated other riders and accept his punishment. The Danish cyclist said he is no longer carrying a heavy burden like he have done for the last many years and is happy that he don’t have to sit and lie anymore when he is being asked about his past. Surprisingly, Rasmussen never tested positive throughout his cycling career, but served a two-year suspension for the deception over his whereabouts.

He claimed that he was in Mexico when he was in Italy and missed three drug tests and intimated at the time that he lied about his whereabouts because he was cheating on his wife. It was reported that year that Rasmussen had used extensive amounts of EPO and growth hormones and would carry five bags of blood transfusions for emergencies if he was suddenly called upon for a blood test, although the claims were denied by him at that time.

The cyclist was first accused of doping allegations when his former agent, Stefan Matschiner, admitted blood doping his athletes and triathletes up until 2008. Matschiner claimed he supplied blood products to some former clients of Eufemanio Fuentes, the tainted doctor involved in the Operación Puerto doping scandal.

Anti-Doping Denmark said Michael Rasmussen has confessed to having used doping throughout most of his career, including in 2007 when he wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and when he was unavailable for out-of-competition testing in the crucial period before the race. The Danish cycling federation confirmed USADA is seeking further testimony to shore up future arbitration hearings against US Postal director Johan Bruyneel and the team doctor Pedro Celaya.

Rasmussen, like disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, fought his drugs sanction, and took his sponsors, Rabobank, to court to gain performance bonuses. The cyclist now faces a reduced ban of two years, down from a possible eight-year sanction, for his cooperation with authorities and his team sponsors are planning to use him as an example to promote clean sport while he has retired from cycling.

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Thursday 07, Mar 2013

  Dutch Ex-Cyclist Admits Doping

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Dutch Ex-Cyclist Admits Doping

A former Dutch professional cyclist who once edged Lance Armstrong to win the Amstel Gold Race had admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.

Michael Boogerd, the spring classic specialist, admitted to making the use of performance enhancing drugs for a decade during his career. Boogerd revealed he used EPO and cortisone besides using blood transfusions in the last period of his career and added that he doped from 1997 to 2007, a period that covered almost his entire professional career.

Boggerd rendered an apology for keeping the doping culture alive and said he is sorry that he cannot accept that doping was wrong. The cyclist admitted to using the Austrian blood lab, Humanplasma, for transfusions and said he flew to Vienna for blood transfusions and stored his own blood for later use though he did not name anyone who helped him dope and remarked doping was his responsibility and choice.

The confession by the Dutch former cyclist came after several reports linked the former Rabobank rider to doping practices, including going to the Vienna lab. The cyclist, who retired in 2007, had two Tour de France stage wins and won the Amstel Gold classic in 1999, narrowly beating Lance Armstrong, who was banned for life from cycling and stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles and later confessing to doping during his seven-straight Tour victories.

Bogart won a Tour stage in 1996 and his best overall finish in the Tour was fifth in 1998. His greatest triumph was widely regarded as the 2002 Tour 16th stage win in the French Alps, including a solo climb to the finish in La Plagne. After announcing his retirement, the Dutch cyclist became a regular cycling commentator for NOS.

With this confession, Boogerd is the latest rider from the now disbanded Rabobank team to admit doping after Michael Rasmussen, a climbing specialist who won stage victories in the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta, who admitted to taking everything from testosterone and growth hormones to blood transfusions from 1998-2010 for boosting his performance. In 2005 and 2006, Rasmussen finished the Tour de France wearing the polka dot jersey as the best climber and was the overall leader of the 2007 Tour until he was kicked off for lying about his whereabouts when he missed the pre-race doping tests. The cyclist later admitted that he had lied and was given a two-year ban from cycling.

Last year, Rabobank ended its long sponsorship of professional cycling and said the trust in the cycling world has gone after the publication of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s report on Lance Armstrong and Bert Bruggink of the board of governors said that we are no longer convinced that the international professional cycling world is capable of creating a clean and honest sport.

A judicial inquiry was recently opened by Belgian authorities into Dr. Geert Leinders, who worked for the Rabobank and Team Sky cycling teams. An investigation was launched by the prosecutor’s office in Dendermonde after a Dutch newspaper claimed the Belgian doctor played a key role in alleged doping practices at the former Rabobank team.

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