Wednesday 05, Jun 2013

Aussie Ex-Cyclist Given Ban for Doping

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Matt White, who admitted to doping when his name came up in the Lance Armstrong scandal, says he received a suspension of six months.

The former Australian cyclist, who rode with Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service team, in a statement, said the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority informed him of the penalty last week. The ban started on October 13 and has now expired.

White, after the doping admission, lost his part-time role at Cycling Australia and his full-time role as a director of Australian professional team Orica-GreenEDGE.

The cyclist said, “I accept full responsibility for my actions and there is no one to blame but myself for the decisions I made as an athlete in the past.”

While, describing the pressure he felt early in his professional career while cycling in Italy as a 24-year-old, said: ”There was certainly nothing that motivated me to start doping. The thing that was a real shock to me was when I arrived in Italy in that environment – and we’re talking 1998 here – that doping was in your face,” he said.

”This was before the Festina [doping scandal] in 1998 [at the Tour de France] – this is early, mid-1998. The general public, the police, didn’t actually know the widespread abuse of drugs like EPO in the peloton.

”You would go to races and they weren’t hiding anything. I was really shocked. I grew up racing for the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport], racing for Australian national teams where we’re not exposed to any of that sort of stuff.

”I thought that I needed to use performance-enhancing drugs to keep my job. And at the end of the day, I probably did because it was so widespread it was ridiculous.”

Monday 04, Mar 2013

French Doping Agency To Do Tour De France Testing

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The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has agreed to carry out testing in June at the Tour de France. In a statement, the AFLD said the world governing body of cycling, the UCI (International Cycling Union) had guaranteed “information on the whereabouts of the riders and their biological profile data in order to carry out random tests”.

Two weeks ago, the French Anti-Doping Agency said it would not carry out tests on the Paris-Nice race that starts on Sunday and cited a disagreement with the UCI. The AFLD and the UCI have long been at loggerheads, with the AFLD saying the UCI had not followed correct procedures during testing in the 2009 Tour de France that were denied by the world cycling body.

The cycling body came under heavy fire after last year’s U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that led to the Lance Armstrong scandal after which the 41-year-old retired cyclist was was stripped of his seven Tour titles in October and admitted to doping in a televised interview.

The AFLD reviewed the conditions of its agreement with cycling’s international governing body. “In light of new evidence brought to its attention, it is possible for the (AFLD) to control international cycling competitions, especially the Tour de France,” the AFLD said.

The UCI had described the first decision “regrettable, especially that it intended to strengthen its cooperation with the French agency,” including sharing “information and the biological passport system within the limits of international law … and in accordance with the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency.”

Tuesday 05, Feb 2013

Armstrong Admission May Help Sport

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Cycling needs to take something positive from the Lance Armstrong scandal and move forward, said Alberto Contador, a two-time winner of the Tour de France who was stripped of a third title for using a banned substance.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, the cyclist called the admission of Armstrong “hard on the image of cycling, but I’m trying to take the good from it. Perhaps from this we can close this chapter on this decade and focus on the present and future of this beautiful sport.”

Alberto Contador won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 but was stripped of his 2010 title for testing positive for Clenbuterol.

“I know they’ve spoken a lot about the interview, but what he said surprised nobody in the least,” the Spaniard said.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong acknowledged that he used banned substances in winning his seven Tour de France titles. The cyclist was previously stripped of the titles and has been banned for life from cycling and from competing in athletic events sanctioned by WADA or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The United States Anti-Doping Agency submitted eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence that reveal conclusive and undeniable proof besides the testimony of Armstrong’s former teammates (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie). The disgraced cyclist exercised his legal right not to contest the evidence and accepted the imposition of a ban from recognized competition for life knowingly and disqualification of his competitive results from 1998 forward.

Saturday 01, Dec 2012

AOC Chief Demands Olympians Sign Doping Declaration

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Australian Olympic chief John Coates wants all athletes, coaches, and officials sign a declaration that they have never used banned substances before they are allowed to go to Games.

The AOC chief believes the measure is required for preventing the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) being tainted by doping in the same way cycling has by the Lance Armstrong scandal.

“If they don’t sign, they don’t go to the Games, they won’t be selected,” the AOC President said in a news release on Friday. “What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has.”

A proposal for the same will be made by Coates to the AOC board and the measure, if approved, will apply to all members of the delegation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“In my opinion we simply cannot allow the name of the AOC to be damaged, like that of the International Cycling Union (UCI), for not having taken every reasonable step possible to ensure that no person in authority on our Olympic Team has a doping history,” Coates added.

Meanwhile, Three-times Tour de France winner Greg LeMond called on UCI President Pat McQuaid to quit for his failure to handle the Armstrong affair. Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by the UCI last month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had published a report alleging the American had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.

Monday 19, Nov 2012

UCI Commission Into Armstrong Scandal Taking Shape

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John Coates, president of the Court Of Arbitration For Sport, has been invited by the International Cycling Union (UCI), for nominating an independent commission of three men that is to be set up in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Last month, the governing body of cycling said it will be establishing a fully independent investigation into various accusations that were levelled at the UCI by USADA that concluded that Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran “the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

Lance Armstrong was banned for life and all his results from 1 August, 1998 were expunged, including his seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, a move that was ratified by the UCI.

Greg LeMond, a three-time Tour winner, was among those who asked for a change of leadership but the UCI president, Pat McQuaid, and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, now honorary president, have stood firm and made an announcement that the commission will comprise three members from differing fields. The first will be a senior lawyer and the chair, the second a forensic accountant, and the third will be an experienced sports administrator.

McQuaid, said: “We would like to thank John Coates for his recommendations, which we will follow to the letter. The purpose of this independent commission is to look into the findings of the Usada report and ultimately to make conclusions and recommendations that will enable the UCI to restore confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.

“Cycling is one of the world’s most popular sports, both for participants and spectators, and it has a bright future. Those who will define that future can be found among the current generation of riders who have chosen to prove that you can compete and win clean.”

Tuesday 13, Nov 2012

Zero Tolerance On Doping Urged By Clean Cycling

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As cycling tries to claw back its credibility after the damaging Lance Armstrong scandal, the ” clean cycling” union has called for a zero tolerance approach to doping from next year.

The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) in a letter called for the international association of race organizers, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and European cycling confederation to support moves for making zero tolerance “the golden rule” in the sport.

The Movement for Credible Cycling consists of eleven professional cycling teams and enforces a strict ethical code, which offers notably for the systematic dismissal of any rider found to have tested positive for a major doping product and suspended for more than six months. The sanction should not be retroactive but “should apply only for (doping) violations committed from January 1, 2013,” the MPCC said.

The letter urged all race organizers to “adhere unreservedly” to the philosophy of the group of not sending invites to new members who do not stick to their stringent anti-doping code.

“Like team managers, all organisers, including those from the WorldTour when they hand out wild cards, have the power only to invite teams (whether they are part of the MPCC or not) who respect our internal rules”, the correspondence said.

Giving his backing to the MPCC, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme described its approach as “the future” for the sport. “The only way in which to change the culture (in cycling) is to apply draconian rules such as those that members of the MPCC apply,” he added.