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  • Fight Against Doping -- Missing Drug Tests Found, Rogge on Retests


    10/16/08

    IOC President Jacques Rogge says he has "no fear" of scandal when the IOC retests blood and urine samples from Beijing. (ATR)
    Rogge Doesn't Expect Scandal from Beijing Retests

    IOC President Jacques Rogge says he does not expect that big scandals will emerge from the new round of drug testing ordered on samples from the Beijing Olympics.

    Last week, the IOC ordered the new tests for CERA, an EPO-like substance for which testing was unavailable in August.

    "We are going to review, we think, those athletes who have a profile that could lead to suspicion," Rogge told Around the Rings last week at the PASO meeting in Acapulco.

    "I have no fear," said Rogge about whether he expects the 800 tests to be carried out will trigger a wave of scandal.

    "You know my commitment to fight against doping. There could be more cases coming out, definitely I do not think many. If it’s positive, every positive test is sad on its own, but it is progress for the fight against doping so I am not afraid of them."

    Missing Drug Tests Found, WADA wants Answers

    The IOC says they found the 300 drug tests that went missing after the Beijing Olympics. That did not placate officials at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which is still calling for a response from the IOC.

    A spokeswoman for the IOC said a "communication problem" was the reason the tests went missing.

    "It is our understanding the results of these tests were communicated to the IOC by the end of August. All were negative," she said. "The results have now been transmitted to the independent observer team."

    A report from the independent observers monitoring the doping procedures of the Games said: "once the [Beijing ] laboratory had apparently delivered all reports to the independent observer team it transpired that around 300 test results were missing in comparison to the doping control forms."

    The once missing blood and urine samples are needed if an athlete has to be retested for performance enhancing drugs. There were concerns that if the IOC couldn't quickly locate the samples its reputation in the fight against doping would be hurt.

    Yesterday, WADA Chief Executive David Howman said, "we require an answer. If there is no answer, we require an explanation [from the IOC]." WADA requested a formal response from the IOC.

    Two Blows for Cycling in Germany

    Cycling in Germany suffered two major setbacks this week as a direct consequence of recent doping scandals.

    Perhaps the biggest blow came after the Germany’s two main public broadcasters put the brakes on their Tour de France coverage. ARD and ZDF both said the recent drug scandals involving riders Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl caused them to "greatly reduce" the value of the Tour and cancel plans to show next year’s event.

    Schumacher of Germany and his Austrian teammate were found to have failed a drug test for CERA. Kohl admitted to using the drug while Schumacher denies any wrongdoing. The two are the third and fourth riders from the 2008 Tour de France to fail drug tests.

    "I succumbed to temptation because the pressure on me to succeed was incredibly huge," Kohl said at a press conference Wednesday.

    Kohl won the Polka-Dot Jersey at the Tour, awarded to the best climber in the event, and finished third overall.

    Organizers of the Tour of Germany announced they were cancelling the next Tour after the news of the drug tests surfaced.

    "We have held intense discussions over the last few days and decided at the conclusion not to organize the 26th
    Bernhard Kohl admitting to using banned substance CERA during the 2008 Tour de France. (Getty)
    edition of the competition given the current situation in cycling," organizer Andreas Kroll said on Tuesday. "Professional cycling has an enormous image problem at the moment which we can't currently change."

    The race would have taken place Aug. 29 - Sept. 6, 2009.

    In an interview with cyclingnews.com, UCI President Pat McQuaid responded to the most recent scandals calling them "willful cheating" and called for a four year ban for cyclists caught doping.

    "Currently the world anti-doping code gives a maximum two-year sanction in the case of a positive test. From the first of January there is a bit more flexibility in it, and we can go up to a four year ban in the cases of something regarded as willful cheating.

    "In these cases, considering that these guys were given the product and then went and took it for the Tour de France, it would be very much classified as willful cheating. Next year a rider in that position would face a four year ban," he said.

    ...Briefs

    ...IOC Member Sergey Bubka says the IOC is gaining ground in the fight against doping. "No doubt, since 1999 when WADA was created we now are much stronger. It
    Sergey Bubka claims the IOC is gaining ground in the fight against doping. (ATR)
    is a difficult task, I understand, and it takes time,but this is reality what we are facing." He added that his role as a member of the Disciplinary Commission is a serious one. "It is very important job as you can see we have some cheaters. I would say I would not prefer to have this disciplinary committee but it is reality, it is important task. We are obliged to do it so no one can cheat."

    ...Ivan Basso agreed to pay a fine of $15,000 to avoid prison time. Basso was under investigation from authorities in Spain for doping as part of the recently closed Operation Puerto investigation. Basso’s lawyers said he accepted the fine to put this episode behind him and focus on cycling. Basso admitted he "attempted doping" but never followed through.

    ...U.S. federal prosecutors want Trevor Graham to go to prison for lying to doping investigators. Graham, who coached Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and others, lied about his connections with BALCO, a steroids supplier. "In the process, he played a key role in corrupting USA Track and Field to the extent that it may never recover from the damage he helped to inflict," prosecutors said in a court filing. Graham is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 21. Graham won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics and, according to his lawyers, has been reduced to driving a school bus part time.

    ...Brazilian footballer Dodo will appeal his two year suspension for doping. Dodo’s lawyers claim that the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which imposed the ban, did not have the authority to hear the case.

    ...The UCI has come under serious criticism for allowing Lance Armstrong to return to cycling. The Union says all inactive riders must be registered with their National Anti-Doping Organization for six months before acing again, but allowed Armstrong to compete in January’s Tour Down Under, which begins a few days before the date of his six month of being registered. "It's scandalous. How can the UCI hope for the riders to respect the anti-doping rules when it doesn't even do so itself? What will this lead to next?" said one of several team bosses who wished to remain anonymous. The head of German cycling echoed those sentiments. "In these times, everyone should strictly obey the rules," Rudolf Scharping told DPA.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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