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…Because Nobody Can Win Anything in Sports Anymore Without Being Acused of Cheating July 30, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Alberto Contador, Doping, Dr. Eufemiano Fuente, Dr. Werner Franke.
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Werner Franke, a German described as an expert in anti-doping efforts, accused Alberto Contador of being “the greatest swindle in sporting history.” Franke claims to have possession of documents from Operation Puerto with Alberto Contador’s name on them, and claims to have records of banned products used by Contador.

Appearing on German ZDF television, Franke proclaimed “The name of this Mr Contador appears on several occasions on the court and police documents….All of this has been simply concealed and hidden under the carpet whilst the name Contador was erased from the list of suspicious riders.”

In discussing a summary of the evidence that spanish police amassed against riders caught in the Operation Puerto investigation last year, VeloNews Correspondent Andrew Hood wrote last week;

After a thorough review of the document, VeloNews found only two mentions of Contador. Neither of those two references could be linked to illicit doping products or doping practices, officials later decided.

The first reference to Contador is mentioned on a list of then-Liberty Seguros teammates (spelling mistakes remain as is) that appear on a document later to identified as a list of training schedules for members of the team:

En el documento 3 se observan marcados de distinta forma los nombres de los corredores: Dariuz BARANOWSKY; Josefa BELOKI; Ginpaolo CARUSO; Alberto CONTADOR; Allan DAVIS; David ETXEBARRÍA; Igor GONZÁLEZ DE GALDEANO; Roberto HERAS; Jorg JAKSCHE; Isidro NOZAL; Sergio PAULINHO; Nuno RIBEIRO; Luis León SÁNCHEZ; Michele SCARPONI; Marcos SERRANO y Ángel VICIOSO.

The second reference includes initials of riders’ name that appeared on another training document:

En el reverso del documento 31 se localizan unas anotaciones manuscritas con el título “INDIVIDUALIZACIÓN” en el que se identifican a distintos corredores del equipo LIBERTY-SEGUROS WÜRTH por sus iniciales: R. H. (Roberto HERAS), M. S. (Marcos SERRANO), J. B. (Joseba BELOKI), I. G. (Igor GONZÁLEZ), A. V. (Ángel VICIOSO), J. J. (Jorg JAKSCHE), A. D. (Alan DAVIS), L. (sin identificar), A. C. (Alberto CONTADOR) .

Contador’s name was also heard in taped phone conversations of Fuentes, but authorities said his name appears only in reference to conversations about race results.

So, we have confirmation that Contador’s name appeared, along with his Liberty-Seguros-Wurth teammates, in two of Fuentes’ documents, but police, judges and UCI officials reviewing the documents last year concluded the same thing; that there was no indication that Contador was doping. Hood goes on to write, “Even the elusive Fuentes, speaking last year on Spanish radio, said he never worked with Contador.”

Prof. Franke alleges that this has all been swept under the rug, by which he must be referring to the public dismissal of charges against Contador and four other riders who had been included in initial lists of riders whose names appeared in Fuentes documents, and were therefore under suspicion. Again, from VeloNews July 26, 2006;

“Five Astaná riders who were forced out of the 2006 Tour de France because of alleged links to a blood doping investigation have been formally cleared by Spanish courts.”

“Joseba Beloki, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Allan Davis and Alberto Contador have all received a written document officially clearing them of any links to the ongoing “Operación Puerto,” the Spanish newspaper El Diario Vasco reported Wednesday.”

“The five riders received a legal document signed by Manuel Sánchez Martín, secretary for the Spanish court heading up the “Operación Puerto” investigation, stating, “there are not any type of charges against them nor have there been adopted any type of legal action against them.””

If Prof. Franke does have evidence that actually links Contador to doping it would be awfully good of him to share that with the authorities, UCI, WADA, and the press so it can be examined. It’s possible…given everything that has transpired in the sport in the past year, but it is also possible that we have switched from cleaning up the sport to mounting a press sponsored witch hunt. Personally, I want to see the documents before I rush to judgement on Contador. A lot of people who have been fighting bitterly to clean up the sport must have decided to look the other way in Contador’s case, or maybe just maybe he really is clean.

UPDATE: Some further information on Werner Franke. Professor Franke is 67, and former President of the European Cell Biology Organization. Professor Franke taught at the University of Freiberg and was head of a department at the German Cancer Research Center. Professor Franke and his wife have researched and written extensively on the subject of athletes doping, and abusing drugs. They are perhaps most noted for exposing research conducted in the former East Germany which lead to programs of illegal treatments of young athletes. He is an ardent critic of drug abuse in sports. Professor Franke is also a member of the American Society of Cell Biology, which has a brief biography of him on its website.

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Doping Doctors July 26, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Doping, Dr Michele Ferrari, Dr. Eufemiano Fuente, Michael Rasmussen, Michele Ferrari, Operation Puerto, Rabobank, Tour de France.
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I don’t know anything about who the Italian doctor is behind the Michael Rasmussen scandal, but there is one who springs to mind. I’m sure l’Equipe will have the complete story by morning press time….

Dr. Michele Ferrari

Dr. Michele Ferrari’s Training center

More about Dr. Michele Ferrari

And no dicussion of doping doctors would be complete without mentioning Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto scandal. There is no way that Dr. Fuentes could be involved with current doping events, but who knows about his associates.

The Tour in Torment July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Andreas Kloden, Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Christian Moreni, Dennis Menchov, Doping, Michael Boogerd, Michael Rasmussen, Patrik Sinkewitz, Rabobank, T-Mobile, Theo DeRooy, Tour de France.
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In an unbelievable and dizzying turn of events, 17 riders across three teams have been withdrawn from the Tour in the past 30 hours. 9 riders of Astana, (including 5th place Andreas Kloden and 8th place Andrey Kashechkin), 7 riders of Team Cofidis (all of whom had participated in a sit down protest against riders doping at the start of the stage today), and the Yellow Jersey wearing Rabobank rider, Michael Rasmussen, who had all but guaranteed himself a spot on the podium in Paris with a win in today’s stage.

It is not clear whether any or all of the remaining riders in Rabobank will continue with the Tour when it resumes tomorrow so 7 more riders may withdraw voluntarily by morning, including 17th place Michael Boogerd and 23rd place Dennis Menchov.

Only three riders have failed doping tests during the Tour, Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) who was already withdrawn by the time the results were announced, Alexander Vinokourouv, who had just won 2 out of the last 3 stages when his results were announced and Christian Moreni, who was dramatically arrested by French officials at the finish of today’s stage. However, the zero tolerance environment that is evolving within the sports’ official bodies (the UCI and national federations), within the event organizations and within the ranks of sponsors, has resulted in the decimation of the tour’s competitors and a PR bloodbath that may change the face of professional racing for decades to come.

It should be noted that Rasmussen has been tested repeatedly before and during this year’s Tour (he claims 14 tests) and has not failed any tests to date. However, in the face of the drastic and dramatic moves by organizers, teams and their sponsors in the Sinkewitz, Vinokourov and Moreni incidents, many were calling for Rabobank, or the Tour, to act and remove Rasmussen from the race before his behavior did any more damage to the reputation of the Tour or the heralded Maillot Jaune. Apparently the revelation that Rasmussen was training in Italy in June when he missed out of competition doping tests, not Mexico as he claimed, was all that Rabobank and its team manager Theo DeRooy could take. DeRooy has said that he will give the other Rabobank riders the option of continuing on with the race tomorrow when Stage 17 begins.

Regardless of what the Rabobank riders decide to do, this Tour de France has become one of the craziest sporting events in recent memory. Great riders who are clean have lost the chance to compete and win, good riders who are trying to win their way onto teams for next year are sitting at home, and sponsors who have honored and polished the sport for years are packing their bags. Hopefully, the damage that is done will set the stage for a rebirth of professional cycling, and a new era in the Grand Tours, but for the innocent riders who are hurt because of this there is no way to recover the time and opportunity lost.

Rasmussen Out!!! July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Christian Prudhomme, Davide Cassani, Doping, Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, RAI, Tour de France, UCI.
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Hours after he won Stage 16 of the race and nearly guaranteed himself a spot on the podium in Paris on Sunday, Rabobank has pulled Yellow Jersey Michael Rasmussen from the Tour de France, allegedly because he lied to the team about his whereabouts when he was to have been tested for out of competition doping.

UPDATE: AFP is reporting that “Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme – who at one point had phoned UCI president Pat McQuaid to berate him over not informing organizers over Rasmussen’s missed tests – said that there was not much more he and his co-directors of the race could have done.

“We did all we could do to get rid of him,” Prudhomme told AFP.”One cannot mock the Tour de France impunitively like those riders,” he added, referring to Rasmussen, Cristian Moreni – who also exited on Wednesday after failing a drugs test – and Alexandre Vinokourov who was thrown out on Tuesday. ”

UPDATE 2: It is now being reported that not only did Rasmussen misinform his team as to his true location during the months leading up to the Tour de France, but apparently Rabobank was informed today that Rasmussen was training in Italy with an “as yet un-named doctor”, suggesting that Rabobank may know more about what he has been doing during the period in question than we yet know.

UPDATE 3: Cyclingnews reports “According to hln.be, former professional Davide Cassani, now a commentator for Italian TV station RAI, made a statement to Danish TV on Wednesday in which he claimed to have seen the Rabobank leader training in the Italian Dolomites on June 13 and 14. Rasmussen had previously declared that he was in Mexico from June 4 – 26. “When Rasmussen was confronted with this information he confirmed to [team manager] Theo de Rooy he was at that moment in Italy,” said Rabobank press officer Jacob Bergsma. “That was the reason De Rooy decided to get him out of the Tour and the team.””

143 Left…. July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Cofidis, Doping, Stage 16, Tour de France.
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The withdrawal of Team Cofidis, following the announcement that Christian Moreni failed a doping test taken following Stage 11, reduces the field to 143 riders. While the departure of the Cofidis riders does not change the standing of any of the GC contenders, the tail end of the peloton has moved up 15 spots in the past 24 hours…all for the wrong reasons.

The remaining riders and their standing in the GC are listed here.

Cofidis Withdraws From the Tour July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Doping, Geoffroy LeQuatre, Ivan Parra, Nick Nuyens, Rik Verbrugghe, Staf Scheirlinckx, Stephane Auge, Sylvain Chavanel, Tour de France.
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Following the example set by Team Astana yesterday, Team Cofidis withdrew its entire team from the Tour de France today following the announcement that one of its riders, Italian Christian Moreni failed a doping test taken following Stage 11.

The top rider on the Cofidis team was clearly Sylvain Chavanel who had climbed beautifully in the Alps, winning the Polka Dot jersey in stages 5, 6, and 7 before giving it up to Michael Rasmussen, and had risen as high as #8 in the GC standings before fading in the Pyrenees. Also affected are British rider Bradley Wiggins who had finished 4th in the Prologue, French rider Stephane Auge who won the Polka Dot jersey in stages 3 and 4, and Belgian riders Nick Nuyens, Staf Scheirlinckx and Rik Verbrugghe. Cofidis had already lost Geoffrey LeQuatre and Ivan Parra to injuries.

Update: Christian Moreni is now in French police custody, charged with using and trafficking doping products. His team manager, Eric Boyer, reports that he has admitted to doping and apologized to his family, his team and the Tour. It was also reported that the team withdrew itself at its sponsor’s request, not that of the Tour organizers. Cofidis and Team Manager Eric Boyer have declared strongly against doping and the team has been part of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC) which formed in London at the start of the Tour and announced yesterday. The MPCC requires strict adherence to the UCI Code of Conduct by its member teams, and complete transparency on medical and training issues between the teams.

Like a Sieve… July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Christian Moreni, Cofidis, Doping, L'Equipe, UCI.
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Franch daily L’Equipe has reported another leaked report from the labs employed by the UCI to perform blood tests on samples supplied by the riders before and during the Tour de France. The report claims that a blood test taken at the end of Stage 11 in Montpelier resulted in a positive result indicating blood doping. Tests were taken that day from Robert Hunter who won the stage, Michael Rasmussen, Maxim Iglinskiy, Erik Zabel, Lilian Jegou, Cristian Moreni, Kim Kirchen, and Patxi Vila. [Update: It has subsequently been announced that the rider who failed the doping test was Christian Moreni, and his team has withdrawn from the Tour de France].

Amazing how every one of these results ends up in L’Equipe before being released.

UPDATE: UCI is reporting that Christian Moreni of Cofidis is the rider who tested positive for blood doping after Stage 11. He had finished 102nd that day and was in 53rd place in the GC at the time.

Oh Merde…Vinokourov Fails Doping Test, Astana Withdraws July 24, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Andreas Kloden, Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Doping.
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In a rebound that amazed all yesterday, Alexander Vinokourov may have had some help.  It has been announced that Vinokourov failed a test for homologous blood doping following yesterday’s Stage win.  It has also been announced that Team Astana is withdrawing from the Tour de France.

This is terrible news for the sport and the Tour de France, coming even as suspicions are swirling around Yellow Jersey holder Michael Rasmussen for his failure to make himself accessible for testing, and sponsors around the world are re-assessing their support for professional cycling.

Astana’s other riders including Andreas Kloden and Andrey Kashechkin will be denied the opportunity to compete for the Yellow Jersey, with Kloden in particular theoretically still in the running for the podium in Paris.

More on this as it develops.

Millar Slams Rasmussen July 24, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in David Millar, Doping, Michael Rasmussen, Tour de France.
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David Millar, once punished for using EPO, and now a strong voice against doping, spoke out harshly against Michael Rasmussen. Citing Rasmussen’s failure to register his location while training, as required so he could be tested outside of events, Millar believes the Yellow Jersey wearing Rasmussen has irreperably damaged this year’s Tour.

With the Tour and professional cycling already reeling from a series of high profile doping scandals, the Tour organizers need a clean race, and a clean winner. Organizers have worked hard to re-establish the credibility of the riders and teams participating, but the suspicions swirling around Rasmussen have undermined that.

Rasmussen was dismissed from the Danish national team for the infractions, and will not be riding in either the world championships or the olympics for Denmark as a result.

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Riis to sit out Tour July 5, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Bjarne Riis, CSC, Doping, Team CSC.
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CSC director Bjarne Riis announced on Thursday he will not be present to follow his riders during this year’s Tour.

In May the 43-year-old Dane admitted to doping during his career, notably during his 1996 Tour de France victory. He was subsequently stripped of the title last month by Tour officials.

read more at Velo News

Too many riders using medical certificates: UCI chief June 30, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Doping, UCI.
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International cycling’s top official said the system where medical certificates are presented to explain the use of otherwise banned substances is being exploited. International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid on Saturday called for new and more stringent anti-doping rules to close possible loopholes.

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Tainted Tour – Doping Allegations Linger Over the Tour de France June 29, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Doping, Tour de France.
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In the wake of a steady stream of doping confessions and allegations, Tour de France team sponsors and organizers are insisting on tougher standards, and the face (and faces) of the Tour will be dramatically different this year. Teams are taking steps to screen their own riders and race organizers are taking extraordinary measures to insure a clean race.

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