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Thursday 26, Oct 2017

  British Government Rules Out Criminalization Of Doping In Sport

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British sports minister Tracey Crouch has said drug cheats in British sport will not be jailed.

The UK government was prompted to review anti-doping rules after recent scandals. Italy, France, and Australia are among some of the countries that have already criminalized doping. A big majority of anti-doping agencies worldwide do not want doping to be criminalized as they are of the view that getting convictions will be difficult and sporting sanctions are more relevant.

Crouch said an extensive review found that criminalizing doping could make it tougher to investigate. The British sports minister added we looked into this very carefully, and conducted an extensive review into the issue around criminalization and we actually genuinely believe that the system we have here in the United Kingdom is one of the most robust systems in the world. Crouch also commented that we feel that the idea of criminalization would change the burden of proof, would make it actually harder to investigate these incidents and that actually you could end up with a lesser punishment if you went through the criminal procedures. The sports minister also remarked that we genuinely think that the system we have in place is the right one.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), and others have warned against criminalization. It has been argued that countries that have made it an offence have struggled to prosecute under the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof as sport uses the ‘balance of probabilities’ standard in anti-doping cases.

However, Crouch argued that UK Anti-Doping should get more powers to tackle cheats and their enablers. The sports minister was also persuaded by UK Anti-Doping of the need for a review of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). Therapeutic use exemptions have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons ever since Fancy Bears, the Russian hacking group, stole medical data from WADA and revealed the use of banned substances for “medicinal purposes”, unlike others who are not permitted to use these drugs.

The sports minister condemned Greg Clarke, the Football Association Chairman, who recently made comments about gay athletes. Former basketball star John Amaechi, one of Britain’s most high-profile gay athletes, recently disclosed that Clarke paid a visit to his office in March to discuss how the FA could persuade gay male players to come out while still in the game.

Amaechi, now a leading psychologist, communicated to Clarke that this was the wrong strategy. The former basketball star also said the Football Association is required to do much more to promote diversity and equality throughout the organization. In reply, Clarke remarked he would get Amaechi sacked and the British government would never intervene. Crouch agreed to the point of Amaechi about FA inaction on homophobia and remarked she has been asking the Football Association “to do more” for some time. The sports minister said anybody involved in football should feel confident enough to be able to come out. Crouch also commented that she thinks the entire Mark Sampson (who made racist remarks to players Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence) affair and other events have really tarnished what it is the FA was trying to achieve.

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Monday 30, Jan 2017

  Riders Should Publish Anti-Doping Data For Transparency

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Former Cyclo-cross world champion and pre-race favorite for the Worlds, Mathieu van der Poel has remarked riders should be open to make their anti-doping controls public.

The comments of Van der Poel same after Kevin Pauwels posted his doping control form on Twitter and Van der Poel himself swiftly following Pauwels. Reigning world champion Wout van Aert was urged to publish his anti-doping controls too but he remarked he would not be doing the same as his two competitors.

Poel, the Dutch cyclist who currently competes in the Cyclo-cross and road bicycle racing disciplines of the sport for the Beobank–Corendon team, recently escaped serious injury despite a nasty crash in the DVV Trophy race in Loenhout.

Van der Poel said he respected the decision of Wout van Aert but added publishing the documents would help with transparency of the sport. Van der Poel said at his pre-Worlds press conference that publishing his data for himself and not meant to provoke Wout van Aert. Poel added Aert is perfectly entitled not to do so and also comment that just because you do not make something public, it does not mean that you have something to hide.  Van der Poel added it is his privacy and added but perhaps it is good that we do all this publicly in the future. Poel added each test for him should be put online and further said there needs to be more transparency, and it could be a pivotal moment in the sport.

Van der Poel added therapeutic use exemptions are open to misuse and the rules around them should be stricter. Poel said he is not saying nothing should be allowed, but it is unfortunately misused in many ways. The rider said it is best to take rest if someone is struggling with something. Poel added TUEs can naturally be used, but it is not the healthy way and said it also seems a good idea to then stay a month on the sidelines instead of the current line of ten days if it is the only way to ride a World Cup. Poel also said maybe you are doing nothing wrong, but he would not personally do it secretly but at a press conference with a doctor immediately and added but again, it is not healthy.

Van Aert was forced to deny requesting a TUE for cortisone after Van der Poel deliberately or unintentionally stoke the fire of doubt against Van Aert. Van Aert had to skip the final round of the World Cup in Hoogerheide and has been suffering from a knee injury of late. In a press conference, Van Aert said he had been suffering from an inflammation of the knee for the last few days and added but he has not been using cortisone or other TUEs.

Riders are required to declare the use of any supplement or medication on the supplied forms when visited by doping control officers. The anti-doping control form of Poel showed he had been using multivitamins and beetroot juice.

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Thursday 26, Jan 2017

  Former Cyclist Raises Doping And Sexism Accusations

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Former Olympic and world champion cyclist Nicole Cooke has blasted the functioning and questioned the existence of British Cycling and Team Sky.

Cooke, who announced her retirement from cycling on 14 January 2013 at the age of 29, said cycling is “a sport run by men, for me” and added that the wrong people have been fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, and with the wrong tools. The 2008 Gold Olympic medalist also remarked he had been encouraged as a 19-year-old to dope by two members of her own British team. Cooke remarked she was the Briton on her team in Italy and she was encouraged by two members of the management of her team to dope. The cyclist went on to say that she had passed the information onto the forerunner of UK Anti-Doping when she was encouraged to dope as a 19-year-old but nothing was done.

Commenting on the “mysterious” bag containing medication that was transported by Simon Cope, Cooke said Cope was doing what he was told to do but it is surprising to learn that Cope, British Cycling women’s team manager, had no other task left to perform besides delivering the bag. Cooke went on to ask why Cope, whose salary is paid out of the public purse, was asked by his managers to serve as a courier for Bradley Wiggins and spent some weeks riding a moped in front of him as part of a training regimen instead of performing his responsibilities for the women’s team.

Cooke disclosed she was given four Therapeutic Use Exemptions during her career, namely to treat a serious knee injury. Cooke said she had a TUE for this treatment receiving the same steroid that Bradley Wiggins used more recently and added it could at the time could only be used with a TUE, whether in or out of competition. Cooke said that injection failed to address the medical problems and she continued not to race and ended up having surgery in May 2004. Cooke said the TUEs issued by the Team Sky/British Cycling medical team for this same steroid are of great concern. The former cyclist raised eyebrows on the functioning of British Cycling and Team Sky by saying the more relevant question rather than the strange coincident chronology of the ailment perhaps is to ask the Team Sky/British Cycling  medical team how often has this steroid been issued to athletes out of competition. Cooke said it is important to know if the steroid is used properly to help recover from career threatening injuries or has it ever been used to assist athletes losing fat and gaining power in the out of competition preparation for major events.

Cooke also said very little was ever done to support female road riders during her career. Recounting her own exposures to sexism, the Commonwealth, Olympic, and World road race champion said odd riders at times would be supported for a period while they were ‘in favor’ but mostly that support was only ever transient. Cooke went on to said that plans were in place in 2008 for the male only Team Sky that would use a variety of British Cycling Lottery funded staff in dual roles. The project, overseen by Dave Brailsford and others, was designated as “male only” and no successful appeal that it should be a male and female team was possible. Cooke said it was “run exclusively by men, exclusively for men”.

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Monday 17, Oct 2016

  Former Cyclist Reveals Ways Of Exploiting TUE Loopholes

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Former professional David Millar in a revealing opinion piece published in the New York Times titled ‘How to get away with doping’ has provided a detailed account of his personal use of use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) during his career.

Millar offered an account about the powerful effects of Kenacort and how the World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, have failed in their oversight of the list of drugs available with a Therapeutic Use Exemption and in their administration of the application process.

Millar said Kenacort was so powerful that it was ultimately destructive. The former cyclist said the substance, apart from being a catabolic agent, would also suppress the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections. Millar said he took Kenacort only twice after 2001: for the 2002 Vuelta a España and the 2003 Tour de France. The ex-cyclist went on to reveal that he used to take an initial 20 to 40 milligram dose, and then topped up with 10 to 20 milligrams about 10 days later both times in order to prolong the effects into the final week of the three-week stage race and to avoid too rapid a descent off it. Millar added he was taking this powerful, potentially dangerous drug as a performance enhancer, yet he was doing so within the rules — thanks to the T.U.E. loophole.

Millar was arrested by French police in 2004 and confessed to making the use of Erythropoietin (EPO) in 2001 and 2003. The UCI imposed a ban of two years on him in August 2004 and Millar was stripped of his 2003 individual time trial world title and was fired by his Cofidis team.

Millar made a return to racing in 2006 with Saunier Duval–Prodir but would leave the team at the end of 2007 season to join the newly created Slipstream–Chipotle outfit. The American team and its owner Jonathan Vaughters on a strong anti-doping stance with Millar becoming a spokesman for ‘clean cycling’.

Millar wrote in the New York Times article that he served a ban of two years but he was at least free of all the deception and disgust. The Scottish former professional road racing cyclist said he was determined to do everything in his power when he returned to the sport for preventing the next generation of riders having to make the decisions he had made. Millar said telling his story is his way of helping to prevent other athletes’ careers being poisoned as his was. The former professional cyclist also wrote he believes the “the biggest races are today being won by clean riders.”

The Scottish former professional road racing cyclist added the Fancy Bears hack of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the release of Therapeutic Use Exemptions for athletes such as Team Sky’s Tour de France winners Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome has opened the world’s eyes to a disturbingly gray area in sporting law: the therapeutic use exemption, and shown the system is open to abuse.

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Tuesday 11, Oct 2016

  WADA Should Be More Powerful, Says IOC

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has remarked it wants to give more power to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the fight against drug-cheating by athletes.

The IOC announced it was agreed at a meeting of world sports leaders that the World Anti-Doping Agency should oversee the testing of athletes while sanctions would be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Presently, testing is conducted by either national anti-doping agencies or international sports federations, who also decide sanctions. The role of WADA currently is primarily a regulatory one which includes compiling the list of banned substances.

The so-called Olympics Summit also proposed that WADA should have more control over national anti-doping agencies, and should supervise national anti-doping programs.

WADA president Craig Reedie said the anti-doping agency welcomes all constructive proposals aimed at reinforcing clean sport. Reedie added the meeting was another step towards strengthening WADA and the global anti-doping system. The World Anti-Doping Agency president also commented that the recommendations that were put forward today will be considered along with others that we have received from stakeholders on such key topics as WADA’s governance and funding model, consequences for non-compliance, investigations, and testing.

The proposals of IOC are expected to be approved at WADA’s next meeting in November. Reedie remarked we are to be given substantial additional authority and substantial additional power, so he is fairly happy with that. The WADA chief added we have been given powers on compliance and we are going to produce a whole range of potential sanctions for different degrees of non-compliance, so that is in our hands and we will do that. IOC President Thomas Bach agreed that the annual budget of WADA would now need an increase. Recently, Reedie said the annual budget of around $30 million, funded partly by national governments and partly by the International Olympic Committee, is not enough. The IOC vowed to help WADA increase its annual budget if it made changes in line with its recommendations.

The IOC urged WADA to significantly improve its information security standards in the wake of the Fancy Bears hack that revealed details of therapeutic use exemptions of athletes for banned substances. The IOC also called upon WADA to lead a more robust, more efficient, more transparent and more harmonized anti-doping system.

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations (iNADO), which represents the national anti-doping bodies, remarked it would not be right to give more power over testing to the same body that rules on the cases that follow. iNADO added there were several “troubling omissions” from the plan of IOC and added there is nothing explicit about state-sponsored doping in Russia, or about the moral responsibility of the IOC to push Russian sport and sport leaders to necessary cultural change in that country for genuinely protecting clean sport.

The meeting, in a show of unity after sharp divisions caused by the Russian doping scandal, came following a spate of public attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency by several International Olympic Committee members.

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Monday 19, Sep 2016

  Tour De France Winner Denies Link To Doctor Convicted Of Doping

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Bradley Wiggins, the first British man to win the Tour de France, is facing a fight for his reputation after recently-leaked documents showed he used banned performance enhancing drugs.

Wiggins used Triamcinolone, the same drug Lance Armstrong tested positive for at the 1999 Tour de France.

Wiggins has been forced to deny that the controversial Belgian doctor Geert Leinders was involved in his obtaining so-called therapeutic use exemptions. This was after details of the therapeutic use exemptions granted to him and fellow Tour de France winner, Chris Froome, were leaked.

The leaked documents suggested three TUEs were obtained by Bradley Wiggins for the treatment of asthma and allergies between 2011 and 2013, each before his major target race for that season. The British cyclist also had to clarify apparent inconsistencies between what he wrote in 2012 about the use of needles and the details that have emerged via the Fancy Bears hackers.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Wiggins said Brad has no direct link to Geert Leinders. The spokesperson added Leinders was ‘on race’ doctor for Team Sky for short period and so was occasionally present at races dealing with injuries sustained whilst racing such as colds, bruises etc. It was further commented by the spokesperson of Wiggins that Leinders had no part in Brad’s TUE application and added Brad’s medical assessments from 2011-2015 were processed by the official Team Sky doctor, and were verified by independent specialists to follow WADA, UCI, and BC guidelines. The statement also reads Brad’s passing comment regarding needles in the 2012 book referred to the historic and illegal practice of intravenous injections of performance-enhancing substances, which was the subject of a law change by [world cycling’s governing body] the UCI in 2011. It was also commented that the Triamcinolone injection that is referred to in the Wada leaks is an intramuscular treatment for asthma and is fully approved by the sport’s governing bodies and Brad stands by his comment concerning the use of illegal intravenous needle injections.

Belgian doctor Geert Leinders was a Team Sky doctor between 2011-2012 and Bradley won the Tour de France in the latter year. Leinders was later banned for life for doping offences committed during a previous stint at the tainted Rabobank cycling team between 2001-2009.

David Walsh, the Sunday Times journalist who brought down Lance Armstrong, suggested that a 2012 injection of Triamcinolone was given as a preventive measure rather than to treat existing symptoms ahead of Wiggins’s historic Tour victory. The journalist said the team that wanted to be seen as whiter than white had been dealing in shades of grey and added what they did was legal, but it was not right.

The British professional road and track racing cyclist, who rides for the UCI Continental team WIGGINS and was awarded a CBE in 2009, won the Paris–Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and the time trial at the Olympic Games in 2012.

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Saturday 17, Sep 2016

  Therapeutic Use Exemptions Can Be Abused, Says McLaren

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Dr Richard McLaren, who authored the exploding report on state-sponsored doping by Russia, has remarked the system of therapeutic use exemptions for athletes is open to abuse.

Hackers Fancy Bears this week released stolen TUE medical files of athletes. The records released mostly detail TUEs that allows banned substances to be taken for verified medical needs of athletes.

The hacked files included those of three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and five-time Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins. The medical files of golfer Charley Hull, rugby sevens player Heather Fisher and rower Sam Townsend were also made public. British Olympic champions Laura Trott and Nicola Adams had files released on Friday. Trott had TUEs for Salmeterol and Salbutamol, which are used in the treatment of asthma and expired on 31 July, 2013.  The 31-year-old Froome remarked he had already made public his use of therapeutic use exemptions. Froome twice took the steroid Prednisolone for “exacerbated asthma” while Wiggins used Salbutamol to treat chest conditions and asthma.

Canadian law professor and sports lawyer McLaren remarked one would have to conduct investigations on specific sports as to whether or not too many TUEs are being used with respect to particular substances. McLaren remarked one of the common TUEs is for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication – there may be abuse there and added that is one area that probably needs to be looked at – how frequently are certain medicines being used in particular sports.

Methylphenidate, which is prescribed for ADHD, is a stimulant that helps improve brain function in people with the health complication. However, it also has the ability to improve the performance of an athlete and is only allowed to be used by elite performers with medical approval.

McLaren also questioned response of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to his Russian state-sponsored doping investigation that is believed to have prompted the hackers to break into the systems of WADA and release files of athletes. The Canadian law professor and sports lawyer said the IOC downplayed the findings of his report that concluded the sports ministry of Russia “directed, controlled and oversaw” manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes between 2011 and 2015.

The WADA report author also said the IOC turned it into an issue about individuals. McLaren also remarked the report looked at individuals not because they had committed doping infractions, but to ascertain whether they were part of a system that was operated outside of their national governing body, and was being run by the state. He also commented he was “confident” sufficient proof of Russian state-sponsored doping, “beyond a reasonable doubt” was disclosed by the report. McLaren added they were not interim conclusions but they were final conclusions, and not allegations, as was suggested by various organizations including the International Olympic Committee.

McLaren also commented decision by the IOC to impose a ban only on individual Russian athletes guilty of doping offences in the past turned that on its head and turned it into an issue about individuals and their rights to compete, which was nothing to do with the report.

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Tuesday 08, Jul 2014

  Rodriguez Won 2007 MVP After Testosterone Exemption

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According to a new book, Major League Baseball officials allowed New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez to make use of Testosterone during his 2007 MVP season.

The book, Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era by Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts revealed that Alex Rodriguez was one of two players that season who were granted therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for androgen deficiency medications. It was further revealed that exemption to A-Rod was given two days before the start of spring training. According to the book excerpt, Major League Baseball entered into evidence several exemptions that were requested by Rodriguez since he joined the Yankees. It is surely a huge surprise for many as MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred called Testosterone “the mother of all anabolics” and remarked that testosterone exemptions are very rare as some people who have been involved in this field feel that with a young male, healthy young male, the most likely cause of low testosterone requiring this type of therapy would be prior steroid abuse.

Rodriguez hit a major-league leading 54 homers with 156 RBI during the 2007 season. The baseball star was recently suspended from baseball for using banned performance enhancing drugs that he purchased from the now-defunct Biogenesis Clinic.

A-Rod also applied for two other exemptions in 2008. According to the book, A-Rod, the American professional baseball third baseman for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball, was given permission to use Clomid that is prescribed to men diagnosed with hypogonadism and may also be used to prevent the formation of excess estrogens associated with the use of harsh and aromatizable steroids. MLB however denied him permission to use Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) that is used for weight loss while also producing Testosterone.

In a statement, MLB said all decisions regarding whether a player shall receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) under the Joint Drug Program are made by the Independent Program Administrator (IPA) in consultation with outside medical experts, with no input by either the Office of the Commissioner or the Players Association. It was added that the process is confidentially administered by the IPA, and MLB and the MLBPA are not even made aware of which players applied for TUEs and the TUE process under the Joint Drug Program is comparable to the process under the World Anti-Doping Code.

The MLB officials also added that the standard for receiving a TUE for a medication listed as a performance-enhancing substance is stringent, with only a few such TUEs being issued each year by the IPA. It also revealed that MLB and the MLBPA annually review the TUE process to make sure it meets the most up-to-date standards for the issuance of therapeutic use exemptions. MLB officials also remarked MLB and the MLBPA have publicly issued the IPA’s annual report as recommended by the Mitchell Report since 2008 about which documents how many TUEs were granted for each category of medication and further added that we believe this high level of transparency helps to ensure the proper operation of the TUE process.

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Thursday 06, Feb 2014

  Dana White Supports TRT Ban

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Dana white supports trt ban

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has called therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy a form of “cheating.”

White has supported the proposal of the Association of Ringside Physicians to eliminate TUE in combat sports.

The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) recently issued an announcement that decried the practice of athletic commissions granting TUE for testosterone replacement therapy. It was remarked by ARP that the incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare and the use of anabolic steroids such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified. ARP added that the use of any type of steroid, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. It also added that testosterone replacement therapy may give an unfair advantage to a combat sports athlete contradictory to the integrity of sport and the Association of Ringside Physicians consequently supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy.

White’s hard-line stance on TRT is believed to have come after Vitor Belfort’s request for a TRT exemption when he will meet 185-pound champion Chris Weidman this summer. White remarked Belfort drives him crazy and both of them were not on good terms a few months ago.

Velfort is one of the many fighters using testosterone replacement therapy. The UFC fighter has been widely criticized for using the treatment in spite of his tainted history with the abuse of performance enhancing drugs. The Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is #2 in official UFC middleweight rankings as of January 27, 2014.

Popularly known as “The Phenom“, Vitor Vieira Belfort failed a steroid test for testosterone at Pride 32: The Real Deal on October 21, 2006, before his Pride fight in Las Vegas where he lost to Dan Henderson. Belfort tested positive for 4-hydroxytestosterone, an illegal substance and claimed he bought an over the counter supplement containing the substance. He also explained that he may have received the substance as the result of rehabilitative injections administered to him by Brazilian endocrinologist Dr. Rodrigo M. Greco after a surgery for repairing a torn meniscus in his knee in the summer of 2006. Belfort was suspended for nine months from the date of hearing on December 21, 2006 after the Nevada State Athletic Commission said Belfort was still in violation of banned substances policy even if the practitioner did not inform him that the post surgical injections (containing testosterone) contained anabolic steroids. In Nevada, no fighter who has tested positive for anabolic steroids in the past has received a therapeutic use exemption.

Belfort, at the age of 19, became the youngest fighter to ever score a victory inside the octagon. Vítor participated in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships and fought against the likes of Alistair Overeem, Bobby Southworth, Heath Herring, Gilbert Yvel, and Daijiro Matsui. On May 18, 2013, Belfort faced final Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and promotional newcomer at UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold and won the fight in the first round via knockout.

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