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  • Fight Against Doping: EU, Swiss Raids, Tour de France


    EU Gets Tough on Doping

    The European Union said on Thursday that countries that did not approve anti-doping laws by the end of this year should not be allowed to host major international sporting events.

    According to the World Anti Doping Agency report released earlier this year, 23 European states had not signed on to the UNESCO convention, which calls for states to adopt anti-doping laws in accordance with the WADA Code.

    The decision was reached after a meeting of European sports ministers on Thursday.
    Some of the countries that WADA says have not signed the treaty are Belgium, Italy, and Ireland.

    Drug Raid in Swiss Town

    For the second time in six years, the Swiss town of Ticino on the Italian border has been raided in response to an investigation of an international doping ring.

    According to the Ticino prosecutor’s office, a pharmacy was raided for selling products for "doping use", EPO, hormones, and steroids.

    Prosecutors said the materials were going to Italy.

    In the past, several cyclists have admitted to obtaining drugs in Ticino.

    New Tour de France Route, New Method to Prevent Doping

    Tour de France race directors unveiled the 2008 route of the Tour de France and hoped that “the race will once again take center stage”.

    Organizers said that any rider who does not have a clean “passport” from the International Cycling Union will not be able to compete.

    The “passports” are records of riders’ medical history and will allow officials to see how a rider’s body has changed over time.

    At a UCI Congress earlier in the week, a measure was approved to make it mandatory that every rider have a passport.

    Opinions from athletes on the measure have been mixed.

    Spaniard Alberto Contador, winner of the 2007 Tour de France, was quoted as saying “if it's going to improve the sport's image, then it's seriously good news. We'll have to see how it works at a practical level, it may be difficult to control so many riders”.

    WADA President Richard Pound, who had previously been skeptical of cycling’s anti-doping efforts said “this is a new day” and “we are trying to work with cycling to help insofar as we can. We've had enough of [doping] affairs.”

    Speaking to the divided body of leaders within UCI, President Pat McQuaid said, “either we fix this beyond doubt or cycling as we have known it, in all its glory, will become a travesty of a sport, a fraud for the public, and a shame for us in this room”.

    Jean Francois Pescheux, director of competition for the Tour’s management company said “we’re setting off with good hope. We have to otherwise
    UCI President Pat McQuaid is afraid Cycling could lose its credibility to doping. (Getty Images)  
    cycling is heading for catastrophe. If the 2008 season is a repeat of 2007 and 2006, then it's the end of cycling and I think everyone is aware of that”.

    Athletes Involved in “Raw Deal” to be Named

    Drug Enforcement Administration agent Jack Robertson says he wants to be able to share information gained in Operation Raw Deal with anti-doping officials in the United States. Operation Raw Deal targets manufacturers and retailers of drugs worldwide.

    Speaking at the U.S. Olympic Committee Assembly in Houston last weekend, Robertson said that athletes “at all levels” were involved. Raids targeted nearly 60 labs and snared more than 11 million doses of performance enhancing drugs.

    "If an athlete is dumb enough and is cheating, they're going to pay the cost of supporting that,” Robertson said.

    Robertson says many new leads have come from the raids.

    Medalist Says She was Offered Drugs Prior to Olympics

    Australia’s silver medalist in the 4x200m says she was offered performance-enhancing drugs before competing in Athens, but won’t say who offered her the drugs.

    Almost every prominent Aussie swimmer and sports official is calling for Elka Graham to name names.

    AOC President John Coates says he hopes Graham “will see the light and go and talk to [the Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority]”.

    ASADA officials have offered Graham a confidential meeting to name the athlete.

    Grant Hackett three time gold medalist and world record holder in the 1500m and 800m freestyle said “she must come clean so we can nail the drug cheat. Unfortunately it casts doubt on recently retired swimmers across the board.”

    Coates wrote a letter to Federal Sports Minister George Brandis urging him create laws encouraging athletes to give evidence against drug users.

    Elka Graham is not saying who offered her drugs prior to the Athens Olympics. (Getty Images).  
    Banned Again

    After appealing his suspension from the Italian Athletics Federation and winning, Giuseppe Gibilisco has landed on the wrong side of the Italian Olympic Committee.

    Gibilisco was banned for two years and appealed FIDAL’s ban; CONI then appealed that decision.

    Gibilisco won a bronze medal in the pole vault in Athens.

    Doping Briefs

    American company Thermo Fischer was named supplier of drug testing supplies for Beijing. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed…

    A geneticist has spoke staff members of Congress that gene doping could replace performance-enhancing drugs as the way athletes get ahead. Theodore Friedmann said that technology was moving fast enough that this would be inevitable. “This science is inevitable, and it’s not too early to think about public policy in this area” Friedmann said…

    The president of the German Cycling Federation has called on WADA to standardize the fight against doping on Tuesday. Rudolf Scharping said at the UCI congress “I heard an athlete at the athletics world championships in Osaka started an event with a 57 percent haematocrit ratio.” Cyclists are only allowed a ratio of 50%. "It is necessary to have a system in which the measures, the standards, the limits are comparable or similar," said Scharping…

    Bulgaria’s Teodora Kolarova has been banned for two years after testing positive for testosterone in June. Kolarova denies doping...

    Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor says the growth of doping cases in athletics will not tarnish the sport’s image. Sotomayor said “doping has been there for long and those who do it will get caught some time or the other, but that does not demean the sport as such.” Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine after winning the 1999 Pan Am Games gold medal…

    The UCI is protesting the Spanish Cycling Federation’s decision to clear cyclist Iban Mayo of doping charges. Mayo tested positive for doping during the 2007 Tour de France. After a second test proved negative, the Spanish Cycling Federation on Monday cleared his charges. The UCI argues that Mayo’s second test result is not negative and testing has not yet finished…

    Former T-Mobile cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz, who tested positive for abnormally high testosterone levels prior to this year’s Tour de France, has given evidence to the disciplinary committee of the German Cycling Federation about doping methods on his team during the 2006 season. The German rider hopes to reduce his two year ban for cooperating with the federation...

    Compiled by Ed Hula III.

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