Wednesday, July 14, 2010


A very nice piece by Pedro Horrillo on the unwritten laws of the peloton:

In the peloton there is an unwritten law that must be observed. When the leader stops for a piss the rest waits for him, although first he should be able to interpret the race in order to stop at an appropriate time. Another unwritten law is, and that's the one I mean, when a rider gets into a break he has to work and pull together unless he is someone from the leader's team in which case, it is logical he doesn't . Yesterday Cunego broke that rule, and there are no reasons which serve as an excuse. There are directors who do not agree with such laws, so the responsibility may not be his, but what is clear is that the riders that act this way become outcasts for the rest. It still remains much time to go on the Tour, many mountain stages, perfect ground for Cunego, but he might pay the price any day in the last week.

There is much Tour to go yet, rather a lot, as yesterday's was only the ninth stage, but the first two riders agree. "This tour is about two, Contador and I, though there is still plenty of time and everyone is free to attack," said Andy in the press conference. "We had to work a lot," Contador said in reference to working with Andy Schleck, "with our pace and the Saxo Bank's [Voigt was great once again], we have left the other riders affected."

Another rule of the peloton is the non-aggression pacts when both parties benefit from it. Albert and Andy spoke at La Madeleine after seeing that their forces were equal and that the remaining rivals were left behind. And that deal proved effective when crossing the finish line of Saint Jean de Maurienne. Now there are 41 seconds between them, and the third and fourth, Samuel and Denis, are more than two minutes behind the second.

A Tour reduced to two riders. There are 181 in the race but the winner will be one of these two. I said in the preview, analyzing the route and participants, that I foresaw either a boring or an exciting Tour, without happy medium. And the facts confirm the second possibility as the right one, a fratricidal duel between the two rivals who yesterday behaved like friends. Peace will not last, the pact was short-lived, just one day.

Scrutinizing my memory I find the Rasmussen-Contador precedent in 2007. Then whatever happened to Rasmussen is another story. Or even further back, an Ullrich-Armstrong in 2003, or a Pantani-Ullrich in 1998, but here we have different riders altogether. I agree that Contador and Andy have different skills in the time trial, but both can be defined as genuine climbers, part of those with the blood boiling in their veins until they attack. I was told that also the 1984 Tour was historic, Fignon- Hinault. I remember bits of it. And another, in 1971, between Merckx and Ocaña. According to what I have heard it was an historic war, because every day one of them won a battle bloodier than the previous day's. I missed it, I was not born yet, but this year's I won't. I hope not to be wrong.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dear Friends in Cycling

Dear Friends in Cycling

To coincide with the World Road Championships in Geelong Australia we have organised the New Pathways for Pro Cycling Conference.

The conference has been organised to bring together cyclists, administrators, experts and fans interested in the future of professional cycling. Given the current situation we feel that this project is even more important and timely than ever.

It is becoming increasingly clear that professional cycling cannot just carry on in the way it has in the past. Something needs to change if we are to salvage the credibility and sustainability of our beautiful sport.

Already we have a number of interesting presentations and speakers who will attend the conference including ex-professional cyclist Pedro Horrillo, the renowned Spanish journalist Carlos Arribas and Professor Verner Moller, author of the book The Doping Devil and more recently The Sacrifice - on Michael Rasmussen's Tour De France exit.

We also intend to have some video presentations in order for those who are not able to come to Australia to participate in the conference. Along with this we intend to video and publicly broadcast the conference online.

The conference will also see the presentation of Deakin University's research report into the attitudes of Australian professional cyclists to the administration of anti-doping law and policy.

Overall we wish to make the conference a forum where we can openly discuss the many issues facing the sport today.

For this reason Deakin University is opening its doors to the cycling world and offering a place for those involved to meet and talk not only with their colleagues but with experts who may be able to provide assistance and the tools for us to move forward.

We look forward from hearing from any persons or institutions who wish to attend and participate in the conference. We believe that with proper discussion we might be able to chart a new and sustainable course for our sport.

Yours in cycling,

The Organsing Committee
New Pathways for Pro Cycling Conference
Deakin University

Friday, June 11, 2010

“We Don't Want to Know.” - Third Installment of It’s not about the Blood!

I feel like Charles Dickens releasing a chapter by weekly installments!

“We Don't Want to Know.”

The Spanish judicial process, like any other judicial process, has not been a linear affair - with interlocutory steps and appeals by various parties including the UCI and WADA all having their effect on the course of the proceedings; such that in 2007 the Investigating Judge Serrano shelved the inquiry (Juzgado de Instruccion 2007). His finding was that he did not have enough evidence to obtain a prosecution against anyone involved as doping was not then a crime in Spain. As well as that, in the Investigating Judge's view, the facts as presented did not fit within the concept of a charge of endangering public health. At that point it seemed that for all intents and purposes in Spain Operacion Puerto was over. Nevertheless, the damage rolled on as riders implicated, some of whom who had been ‘cleared’ by their national cycling federations or national anti-doping agencies, found it difficult to obtain a ride in a top tier team. Some were sanctioned, with Basso being the highest profile rider involved. Others ended up either retiring, racing in lower level teams or racing as refugees in places such as Portugal and the United States until things blew over.

In the end the sanction imposed on most of them has not been that meted out by the courts, nor their federations. It has, however, been dealt to them by the management and sponsors of the Pro Tour teams and the race organisers. This is evidenced by Mancebo’s case referred to above and as many of the other cases show retribution for involvement in Puerto is not legal in the way we used to think about such things. Whatever the legal outcome might be retribution manifests itself in one form as an inability to obtain a contract with a decent team. Both the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) and the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) respectively, found that those involved had no case to answer. The comparison between Spain and Australia is telling, as all the rhetoric one is painted as being out of step and the home of the old ways of cycling, whilst the other in step and a home of the new ways of cycling, but both decisions were made on identical grounds.

The issue is complex and defies the simple explanations bandied about concerning the old and new cycling worlds. On one hand there is the position that Judge Serrano had refused to formally release evidence to the relevant sporting bodies until the criminal process against Fuentes and his collaborators had been completed. This order of the Court has itself been highlighted in the media wars as further evidence of Spain not being in step with the new cycling culture. However there is no great conspiracy here, simply the application of ordinary principles of justice in which disciplinary proceedings are suspended pending the outcome of criminal hearings. This approach was confirmed by the Provincial Court of Madrid in December 2009 (Audienca Provincial de Madrid 2009b) and is consistent with fundamental principles of law and natural justice and to not be bound by them would place the integrity of the criminal trial at stake. There is ample judicial authority, not only in Spain but also in Australia, to support such a conclusion (High Court 1982).

On the other hand the fact is that the UCI did receive a bundle of 56 files encompassing the bulk of the then Operacion Puerto documents of the Guardia Civil. The UCI retained a consultant to deal with the Puerto files and in early 2006 subsequently passed these on to the respective national cycling federations. It was on this basis that for example CONI disciplined Ivan Basso. In the Australian case, of the 56 bundles of documents sent to the federations, it appears that only one page actually made it to the independent anti-doping body ASADA. Without more than this one page consisting of a calendar accompanied by some handwritten and coded annotations, it is of no surprise ASADA found that there was no case to answer. The question that must be asked is where the chain of custody for these documents broke down. How did Cycling Australia, if that is where the chain broke, never manage to pass on all of the relevant documents? Nevertheless the UCI continue to hold out Australia as one of the representatives of the new cycling culture who have dealt with the Puerto problem is a comprehensive way, whilst Spain is characterised as an example of the old ways.

In February 2008 the Provincial Court of Madrid reopened the case for the first time (Audienca Provincial de Madrid 2008). The three Magistrates of the Court found on appeal that there was sufficient evidence for the endangering public health charge to be pursued and they directed Judge Serrano to reopen his investigation into that charge. However, it may be that an equally important finding of the Provincial Court was that the cyclists had never engaged in fraud in respect of their employers or sponsors. This decision is important for the not only the riders in so far as they continue to suffer at the hands of administrators and sponsors who fear the sullying of their good names, but also the continuing schizophrenic and paranoid manner in which Puerto and, more broadly, doping policy is dealt with in cycling. The Provincial Court finding suggests in fact that these very same sponsors and administrators have been all too well aware of the practices within their respective teams for too long – and thus are not in a position to have either their name sullied or to be defrauded.

The 2008 Provincial Court decision rejected the argument of fraud as being openly artificial and stated that it was not realistic to try and fit acts such as those in question in Puerto within the Spanish law of fraud. Fraud in Spain, as with most jurisdictions, requires that either those contracting the cyclists (the teams) or those running publicity campaigns in concert with the cyclists (the sponsors), to be deceived, and to be deceived seriously, hence the concept and the offence of “serious fraud”. The court stated that:
when it is notorious that for many years there has been talk of irregular practices, when there have been cyclists who have died from the consumption of drugs, frequent disqualifications and sanctions, when cycling is the mirror into which other sports look with fear, when it is known that the caravans and logistic premises of cycling teams have been searched for stimulants, when random controls are necessary after each race or stage, and the cycling teams have their own specialist doctors, to affirm that the cyclists have defrauded those who have contracted them is to close one's eyes to reality. ... there is at least an “I don’t want to know” attitude, and that is incompatible with the idea of serious fraud.

The implication of this finding is clearly that the Provincial Court felt that the sponsors, and the sport's administrators, had knowledge of the fact that there had been a number of doping cases in cycling in recent years and that doping existed within cycling. The further and more important implication is that both groups had been happy to turn a blind eye whilst it was in their interests. This finding undermines somewhat the simplistic rhetoric of cheating and fair play, often repeated by members of both these groups, that pervades the discussion around doping in cycling in contemporary times and the arguable hypocritical situation whereby it is only the cyclists who are taking the blame for the problem. For all the talk of cultural change in cycling, there is still little acknowledgment from the various levels of the sport's administration and sponsors that whilst many of them whom continue to build their own careers, they too were a part of cycling's old ways.

The Puerto files refers to various media reports, that of Roux, Manzano, Heras, Hamilton and Perez in particular. All of this suggests that the widespread use of performance enhancing substances in cycling was common knowledge. Drugs in cycling have a long history. As we know, it was Simpson's death (Fotheringham 2003) that brought the health and safety of the cyclists into focus as anti-doping controls developed during the 1960s (Houlihan 1999). It was also with Simpson's death – the Englishman who helped start the process of globalising the Tours; that doping first becomes a political matter but it still it remained an internal issue, something for the sport to deal with. The late 1990’s mark the point at which it becomes a matter for the state and it was with the 'Festina Tour', with borders being crossed that we see doping first becoming criminalised. Even at the time of the Festina affair the ethos behind anti doping measures was health and safety. Only recently as the pressures of a global market demanded has that focus shifted to the risk management backed by the rhetoric of fair play and cheating to be monitored by a bio-political passport regime.

Puerto also reveals a new post-Festina 'post-modern' approach to the organisation of doping. Festina became criminalised because of the seizure of various illegal substances in poor old Willy Voet's team car (Voet 2001). The riders, including Australian Neil Stephens, were held in police detention for days, with the almost blind Swiss rider, Alex Zuelle even being deprived of his glasses. The Festina affair exposed the old team based practices of preparation, where team doctors themselves were responsible for the team's doping program. In the aftermath of Festina that system began to break down and it seems that it was replaced by a more networked and outsourced preparation system. Operacion Puerto exposes the outsourced network model that came into existence in cycling in great detail. It also suggest that Liberty returned to a more team based approach as Saiz was aware of the dangers to his rider's health, not to say the team's reputation, if they were left alone and allowed to do their own thing. Journalist and ex-professional Paul Kimmage has recently argued that rather than dealing with its history and the problem of doping, in a post-Festina world these practices only became further perfected (Velocity Nation 2009b).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Puertas Abiertas - Second Installment of It’s not about the Blood!

The second instalment of It’s not about the Blood! Operacion Puerto and the end of modernity.

Puertas Abiertas

In May 2006 Operacion Puerto broke when El Pais published details from the leaked Guardia Civil files. Not only were Liberty Seguros embroiled but so was Hamilton, Perez, a host of Kelme riders and two of the main challengers for that year's Tour de France – Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. All of this is old news. Most that follow cycling are now all too familiar with the stories of the blood bags, the nicknames and the speculation that still continues over them. Bags of the evidence have come to light regarding Fuentes and the methods he practiced. The riders both implicated and suspected and the subsequent disciplinary and criminal proceedings against many of them have all been in the news ( 2009).

Many seem to believe that there is something else that Spanish justice needs to resolve, other than the prosecution of Fuentes and Co., which will assist cycling's renewal. This is the continual line pushed by the media, the UCI and WADA. But the point that is often forgotten in the fog is that as far as the Guardia Civil investigation and the Spanish courts are concerned the cyclists have never been suspects. Sure there were bags of evidence implicating various riders in the Fuentes' scheme, bringing to light for the first time the details of planning and administration that went on to help produce some 'great' rides (for examples see Hardie 2004b & 2004c) but never was any cyclist charged, or likely to be charged, with a criminal offence in Spain as a result of Operacion Puerto.

In this context the consistent media reports of riders being cleared of any involvement by the Spanish judiciary are meaningless. The cyclists were always witnesses and in some ways possibly the victims of the network focussed around Fuentes. The approach of the Spanish courts is abundantly clear even from the reports in the cycling media. For example one report has even sets out in detail the questions that Investigating Judge Serrano intended to ask cyclists when giving evidence ( 2006d). The questions point to the status of the cyclists as victims rather than perpetrators. The questions were:

1. Is the witness still a professional cyclist?
2. For which teams has he ridden since 2002?
3. As a professional cyclist, does he know the doctors Eufemiano Fuentes, Yolanda Fuentes, or Alfredo Córdova? Has he received blood transfusions? If so, in what laboratory and with whose authority?
4. During his career as professional cyclist, has he ever been sent by his doctor, manager, or other person to the laboratory of Dr. Merino Batres in Madrid?
5. Has he ever ridden for a team for which Manolo Saiz was technical director or manager? Did he receive blood transfusions during that time?
6. Assuming that he had suffered health disadvantages as consequence of the treatment by the doctors Fuentes and/or Córdova and/or the actions of Saiz, has he suffered any damage that he could claim in this process?

Their status as such is further illuminated by the comments made by one of the accused Merino Batres who told the police:
"Poor Mancebo, I believe that we swindled him a bit. He didn't need the transfusions for anything. He had such a high natural Haemotocrit that we couldn't do half as much for him that we did for the others" (Author’s translation).

Batres recounts how Mancebo was swindled by Fuentes and himself to the tune of 50,000 Euros in 2005 alone. As a result of being caught up in Puerto, Mancebo’s income fell from 1,000,000 euros in 2006 with the French team Ag2r to a low of 10,000 Euros when he was riding in Portugal during 2008 (Arribas 2009).

In these circumstances instead of pursuing the riders what Spain has sought to do is to deal with the public health issues arising from doping in sports and to deal with the supply of doping substances flowing into that country from what is regarded as a part of the new (and by implication ‘clean’) cycling world. The interest of the Guardia Civil was, and has always remained, the importation of potential doping products and their distribution and administration throughout Spain. The Guardia Civil believed that Fuentes was probably in collaboration with other sports doctors implicated in doping practices and that these doctors and groups that they formed constituted independent but interrelated criminal groups – acting independently but related by their object of providing medical assistance to cyclists. These groups were interlinked with those seeking to import, manufacture and distribute the substances. Simply put, Spain has gone after the dealers and the pushers and not the end users or the victims.

The conclusion reached by the Guardia Civil was that Fuentes and his gang developed and were involved in the practice of doping, which they described as the integral preparation of the riders based on illicit methods using medicines in a manner contrary to Spanish health laws. The illicit preparation methods of Fuentes used products which were imported into Spain without passing the normal controls applied to the importation of medicines, they were using the medicines for purposes other than those that they were designed, and that many of the products used were beyond their use by date. The January 2009 appeal decision in Puerto has highlighted the grounds upon which the case against Fuentes and his cohort will proceed (Audienca Provincial de Madrid 2009a). These include that the practice endangered public health in:

that they did not extract blood and conduct transfusions in adequate premises;
that they did not transport blood in adequate recipients;
that the identity of the donors were not adequately recorded;
that there did not exist a system to guarantee that the blood was stored at the correct temperatures or that the fridges and freezers had adequate back up electricity in the case of black out; and
that the operation of extracting and transfusing blood was conducted in a clandestine manner.

As the story of Pantani's relationship with Fuentes suggests these practices of preparing cyclists raise other important public health concerns. It is on this basis that the Guardia Civil and Spanish justice continue to pursue the charge of endangering public health.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It’s not about the Blood! Operacion Puerto and the end of modernity.

I am going to start posting excerpts of my work on Operacion Puerto here. Not the complete stuff but bits. Some of this has already appeared in Spanish in the Journal NÓMADAS. 26 | Enero-Junio.2010 (II)Revista Crítica de Ciencias Sociales y Jurídicas | Critical Review of Social and Juridical Sciences

It will also appear soon in an anthology on Doping and Legal Rights.

The First Installment:

It’s not about the Blood!

Operacion Puerto and the end of modernity.

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change."
Il Gatopardo or The Leopard.

“In the history of cycle sport, fabrications crowded out facts from the very outset.”
Benjo Maso

[The introductory two parts have been cut out - straight to the nitty gritty]

Operacion Puerto – It’s Not About the Blood.

Operacion Puerto (Operation Mountain Pass), is the name given to a criminal investigation conducted by the Spanish Guardia Civil and it encapsulates the manner in which the reality of the material processes occurring have become hidden and confused by the media crisis (for some academic comment on Puerto see: Pottgiesser 2007, Lippi 2008, Strulik 2008, Hardie 2007, Rebeggiani 2008, Lippi 2007, Rosen 2008, Atkinson and Young 2008, Moller 2008). The manner in which the Puerto drama has been dragged out and portrayed in the media and by many in positions of power within cycling brings into stark view the situation that Moller describes concerning trial by media. For administrators and policy makers, their aims - good administration and the making of good policy - appears at times to have taken second position behind a perceived need to engage in the sustaining of an ill-informed and self interested slanging match which seeks to denigrate and override the niceties of the mechanisms of modernist justice. Rather than being a simple black and white question as it is generally portrayed, polarised around the binaries of 'clean' and dirty, or 'fair play' and 'cheating', what Puerto reveals is that the issue is one of critical complexity where the public stances and the media's portrayal of the situation belie the forces and movements at play as cycling’s helmsmen seek to transform it into a global commodity of the society of the spectacle. Puerto reveals a space of critical opalescence, where rumour, suspicion, media, law and politics all converge into a media constructed zone of indistinction (Galison 2003, Agamben 1998, Agamben 2005, Hardie 2007). Puerto reveals a space where the global system in construction pushes forth, utilising the tools of the exception, functionality, spectacle and just war to over determine modernist values and law. It characterises as a hindrance, as tardy, as dysfunctional, as an outdated formality, the grand institution of modern Spanish justice.

In May 2006, the Spanish daily newspaper, El Pais published a series of stories concerning the Guardia Civil investigation of a network involved in the medical preparation of a number of professional cyclists and other athletes (Arribas 2006 Arribas, Hardie 2009). At the centre of the storm was the Madrid based gynaecologist, Dr Eufemiano Fuentes. It is history now that the reporting of El Pais subsequently sent the cycling world into turmoil as the extent of Dr Fuentes' preparation programs were revealed and the affair quickly took on a life of its own. At first the focus was on the Spanish team, Liberty Seguros, with the title sponsor quickly withdrawing their financial support. The riders of the Manolo Saiz directed team had to cover up their sponsors name with tape as they raced the 2006 Giro d’Italia (Tan 2006, Hood 2006). Almost immediately other names began to emerge, such as Ullrich and Basso, not only subsequently calling into doubt their performances in that edition of the Giro, but also cutting that year’s Tour de France favourite list to shreds (Cyclingnews 2006).

The media's focus since that time has been on the cyclists involved and how they should be punished. This has also been the main focus of the UCI – constantly calling for the riders to be disciplined in a manner which, deliberately or not, misunderstands what Puerto, as a criminal and judicial process, is all about. This line of attack is not only reserved for the media. Senior officials of both the UCI and WADA do nothing to shed light on the complexity of the situation (Stokes 2009, Hood 2009, Cyclingnews 2009b). But to begin to understand Puerto one needs to consider why in the first place the police had been engaged in the surveillance of Fuentes, Saiz and others.

By piecing together the documents it appears that this surveillance seems to have emerged out of the intersection of two seemingly unrelated concerns for Spain. The first was the ongoing investigation by the Spanish Guardia Civil into the importation of prohibited medicines such as Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IG-F1) from Australia in Operacion Mamut (Mammoth) (Guardia Civil 2004). Mamut had uncovered a network of importation and distribution of IG-F1 from an Australian company, Gropep. That company, which is based in Adelaide, South Australia, was originally funded by an Australian governmental authority, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the University of Adelaide. At the time of the investigation Gropep had in fact planned to licence the right to manufacture IG-F1 to the Mamut suspects (Cyclingnews 1998). When the Guardia Civil followed the trail of Gropep’s IG-F1 to and throughout Spain its distribution eventually led them to the doors of Dr Fuentes and his cohorts. In the first instance it was this illegal importation and subsequent supply that the Guardia Civil were interested in cracking. Their interest was not Fuentes, Saiz nor their collaborators, even more clearly it was not the cyclists involved. However the fact of the matter was that it was the trail of IG-F1 from Adelaide that led the Guardia Civil to Fuentes and his collaborators.

During the course of the Mamut investigation the Guardia Civil became aware of the declarations of the ex-Kelme cyclist, Jesus Manzano, which had been published in the Spanish sports daily, AS (AS 2004, Bose 2004). Manzano set out in great detail the system of rider preparation that existed within his former team, Kelme – Communidad Valenciana. This system, Manzano claims, was driven not by the individual cyclists but those that managed and ran the team. Included amongst those were the team's various Director Sportifs, including the principal Director, Vicente Belda. Belda now stands charged alongside Fuentes and Saiz in the Puerto process.

In late 2005 the Mamut investigation intersected by chance with the disaster that arose for Spanish cycling after Roberto Heras's 2005 Vuelta a España positive test for EPO (El Pais 2005a, El Pais 2005b, 2006b). The repercussions for Unipublic, the race's organisers, other sponsors and the Spanish state were enormous. For a complex array of reasons, Spanish cycling was in real crisis following the Heras positive. The Grand Tours have always played a role in marking out and defining a territory, a nation and its people. In that respect, the Tours were as much a part of creating the Europe of the twentieth century as was the documentation and administration of life that Michele Foucault so very well describes in his lectures entitled 'Society Must be Defended'. The people, customs, fetes, fairs and fiestas each day, complete with the local version of cheese, chorizo and champagne, are always a part of the backdrop of the Tours but they have been steadfastly created and maintained by an alliance of the state, industrial capital and the media. With its resumption after the Civil War in 1941, Spain's La Vuelta covered the longest route in its history demarcating the victor's territory across the country and particularly the former Republican strongholds. For some years it was restricted by Franco to only Spanish participants. In modernity these races all played their role in reinforcing the status of a unified territory, a people, a nation and its capital. It must be in this broad light, the years of the American domination of the Tour de France and the sale of Unipublic to the Tour de France owners ASO, that the positive of Heras must be read.

At the end of the 2005 Vuelta Heras was the only real Spanish option to conquer the Grand Tours in a post-Armstrong 2.0 world and he was in disgrace. The loss to Unipublic as a result of the positive of Heras drew into focus the perceived problem of doping in Spain and the alleged attitude of impunity that existed there (Cyclingnews 2006). It may be possible to speculate that it was also this loss of credibility, both in the public eye and in terms of possible future sponsorship and television coverage, which drew the hunt of the Guardia closer to Fuentes.

The evidence given by Liberty Seguros Director Sportif Manolo Saiz when he was detained by the Guardia Civil provides some insight into both how the Vuelta disaster came to be and how the Liberty team became entangled in the ongoing investigation into importation. Saiz had been under video surveillance by the Guardia Civil and was arrested with a bag of cash to allegedly pay his team's outstanding account with Fuentes. The cash was in the mixed denominations of Euros, Swiss Francs and Australian Dollars. The Dollars supposedly being money left over from the team’s per diems paid to them by the organisers of the Tour Down under in Adelaide earlier that year. Saiz has had a long history in professional cycling but unlike most other team directors he was never a professional cyclist. Nevertheless his contacts extend far and wide throughout the cycling world and he has been for many years one of the most successful and complete Director Sportifs. Saiz was the mentor or, at least, inspiration for Lance Armstrong's Director Sportif, Johan Bruyneel, who rode and served his cycling apprenticeship with Saiz during the 1990s. Saiz also has close connections with ex-Australian professionals and cycling powerbrokers such as Neil Stephens and Stephen Hodge. In Spain his followers and contacts are known collectively as the ‘Manolo-istas” and they are anecdotally regarded as being closely linked to those that broker the power behind the UCI. It is of no surprise then that Saiz was also significantly a prime mover, along with former International Cycling Union (UCI) President Hein Verbruggen and his protégé Alain Rumpf, in the creation of the Pro Tour model adopted by the UCI.

When he was interviewed in detention, Saiz said that he had known Fuentes since his stint with ONCE in the early 1990s, a time when his team was populated by a number of high profile riders many of whom are still involved in the sport as administrators or Directors Sportif. Saiz said that after Fuentes left the team they had occasional personal contact but that it was, in 2004, with his signing of Roberto Heras, that the relationship recommenced on a more than friendly level. Saiz said that, on his arrival at Liberty from the US Postal Service team (USPS), Heras had asked that he be able to have Fuentes, as his personal doctor. According to Saiz, Heras wanted to deal directly with Fuentes. At first Saiz had refused the request, as it didn't seem to him to be the best way to manage the team. After much insistence on the part of Heras, Saiz gave in, but it seems that he decided to try and manage the relationship as best he could. Saiz was insistent in his evidence that it was Heras and other riders in his team, some of whom had also previously been in Kelme that pushed for the Fuentes connection. There of course was no love lost between Saiz and Kelme's Director Sportif Vicente Belda. During the previous years Saiz had been instrumental for pushing through the Pro Tour and Kelme's exclusion from it. This exclusion had in part been brought about by Saiz and others insistence that Kelme was still engaged in cycling's old ways (Hardie 2004, Bike Radar 2004).

With the 2005 Vuelta positive of Heras the Guardia Civil appear to have put two and two together and followed the leads to see if there was any link between the substances being used by cyclists and their investigation of importation and distribution in Operacion Mamut. This of course was not the only event that had led them to the consulting rooms of Fuentes. The year before the Vuelta had been hit by two positive doping tests for blood transfusions. The first to break was that of Tyler Hamilton, another ex USPS rider, who tested positive following his September 11 time trial victory, over his soon to be again teammate, Floyd Landis, in Valencia (Jones 2004, Hardie 2004a, Hardie 2004b). The second involved, the post-race revelations concerning Hamilton's teammate, Santi Perez (Abt 2004). On the road Phonak was managed by ex-Kelme Director Sportif, Alvaro Pino (Maloney 2006). The files also suggest another link from Hamilton to his friend "Nick" and "Nick's friend". This little mystery has not received the attention that the reference to "Valv Piti" has received by the cycling world. And of course, seemingly outside of the Fuentes affair, the next doping incident to really rock cycling was that of another ex-USPS rider, Floyd Landis ( 2006c, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2006, Walsh 2007 Ballester & Walsh 2006, Velocity Nation 2009b). These events involving Heras, Hamilton and Perez drew the Guardia Civil closer and closer to their stakeout of Fuentes.

More soon!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Open Letter To The UCI President Pat McQuaid

Cozy Beehive has published this interesting and timely letter to UCI President Pat McQuaid

Note : A gentleman on a Cycling News forum wrote the following, not me. I'm only helping to spread the word to other cycling fans, as I told him. The letter comes in direct response to McQuaid's statements today, denying using the money Armstrong "donated" in 2005 as bribe to cover up the latter's positive test in 2001. You guys must read this, as we're going through one of the biggest scandals in sports. NYT reports today that the investigations are going to broaden. Two unnamed individuals have already been contacted by investigators to exchange vital information in return for leniency.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Allegations against Bruyneel and the UCI

Below a rough translation of an article from this weekend's Danish paper Weekendavisen

A dirty deal.

The case of the Russian rider Vladimir Gusev uncovers the concealment, the parallel system of justice and the abuse of power in the International Cycling Union UCI. It also suggests how riders like Lance Armstrong and his team director Johan Bruyneel have been able to get away with the accusations such as the ones their former teammate Floyd Landis launched this week.

The unjustified firing

By KLAUS WIVEL, , May 22, 2010

FEW examples are better at illustrating how the top of the international cycling world works than the case of Vladimir Gusev.

According to many critics the story of the Russian rider shows the power abuse, it shows how the greatest teams get special treatment, and it reveals the system of parallel justice which prevails independently of the sports courts and which riders have to follow. Thus, cycling’s most famous team manager Johan Bruyneel has been able to give orders to the presumably independent anti-doping department of the International Cycling Union UCI.

The case adds fuel the allegations that Bruyneel and his main rider Lance Armstrong has received special treatment by the UCI doping authorities. This week Wall Street Journal reported that their former teammate, the scandalized American rider Floyd Landis, accused Armstrong of systematic doping with help from Bruyneel.

According to Weekendavisen’s sources the treatment of Vladimir Gusev reveals the power abuse and the parallel justice prevailing outside the official sport courts.
The story can also been seen as another example of the socalled 'black list' that several riders and observers believe prevails in UCI (see article 'Fxxx off', Weekendavisen, March 26, 2010, ed.). This “black list” allegedly points to the fact that some riders are being punished and others get allowed to run although they have made the same offense.

The story of Russian rider’s misfortune also tells of the law of silence which dominates professional cycling which is why it is appropriate to give a note of warning: If you as a journalist wish to get to the bottom of this story then you are forced to use hidden sources. Crucial parts of this article is based on testimonies from people who do not wish their names to appear. I should also state that Vladimir Gusev himself and his lawyer have not wished to contribute to the article.

The story begins in autumn 2007. The young and talented Russian is riding for the Kazakh team Astana which is only just over a year old and in which several riders already have been found guilty of doping. Among is also the founder of Astana, Kazakhstan's star rider Alexander Vinokourov, who was taken for blood doping during the Tour de France in 2007 and kicked out of the race with his team.

Astana is in other words in a crisis. To clean up and restore a positive image Belgian team director Johan Bruyneel is recruited. One of the first thing he does is to associate the Danish anti-doping doctor Rasmus Damsgaard, who has successfully established an internal anti-doping program on Bjarne Riis' Team CSC – a team which meet it’s great challenge during the scandalous Spanish Operation Puerto in 2006. By virtue of his independent test system Damsgaard shall act as a guarantor that the riders are clean so that Astana may send a signal to the outside world that the team takes the fight against doping seriously.

Bruyneel also recruits Alberto Contador who he managed when the Spaniard won the Tour de France in 2007. Therefore it comes as an unpleasant surprise for the team when the organization behind the Tour de France in February 2008 announces that the team will not be allowed to participate in Tour de France 2008 because of the many doping scandals depriving Contador of his opportunity to defend his yellow jersey. Astana is suddenly in danger of closing. More than ever Bruyneel needs to show that Astana can take care of the problem.

In May 2008 Rasmus Damsgaard discovers that Vladimir Gusev has "abnormal blood values". According to Dane the test suggest that Gusev has taken the performance-enhancing drug EPO. Damsgaard informs Bruyneel of his findings.

Two months later - in the middle of a TV broadcast on Belgian TV, where he is hired as a commentator for the Tour de France 2008 - Bruyneel announces that he has fired Gusev on the basis of their internal anti-doping program. The message receives maximum press coverage and the news goes around the world.

Fighting doping is not what the Belgian sports director and former rider has been known for. Alongside Lance Armstrong he built a bicycle empire during the Americans seven year reign over Tour de France until Armstrong retired in 2005. And it had always seemed as if the two led a war against doping inspectors and too pushy questions from journalists and others who suggested that American's incredible feat was based on illegal drugs. They were often met with letters from Armstrong’s and Bruyneel’s lawyer.

Floyd Landis is probably receiving the same kind of letters these days. This week the Wall Street Journal reported that the American rider who was stripped of his victory in the Tour de France in 2006 after testing positive for testosterone send three emails to the highest authorities of cycling, including the UCI. In the mails Landis describe how he and several other American riders, including Armstrong, whom Landis rode with at U.S. Postal, used dope for years, among others blood transfusions and EPO. Landis could also report that it was Bruyneel who in 2002 and in 2003 introduced him to doping. The team manager told him how to use EPO and blood doping without being detected by the doping authorities.

In the very detailed mails Landis writes that the blood bags were stored in a refrigerator which was hidden in Armstrong's closet. Landis calls the fight against doping a 'charade'.

Landis also states that Armstrong in 2002 “while winning the Tour de Swiss, the month before the Tour de France, tested positive for EPO at which point he and Mr Bruyneel flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement with Mr. Vrubrugen (sic) to keep the positive test hidden.” Mr Verbruggen was at that time the president of the International Cycling Union UCI.

Both Bruyneel and Armstrong has rejected the accusations and accused Landis of trying to blackmail them.

Perhaps more surprisingly Pat McQuaid, the now president of UCI who always talks of his firm commitment in fighting doping, did not pause for many hours before he flat out refused to give Landis’ allegation any credit. McQuaid questioned Landis’ motives and indicated that statements given by a doping sinner should not by taken at face value.

When he was UCI president, Hein Verbruggen has actually told the press that Armstrong for years had given a considerable amount of money to UCI’s anti-doping campaing. When Verbruggen informed the press about this Eurosport wondered why captain Armstrong really supported the ones who had plagued him for years and who have pushed good friends as Tyler Hamilton into a scandalized early retirement?
In April 2005 Eurosport asked Armstrong if Verbruggen was correct and the American confirmed.

"So, if I've done money to the UCI to combat doping, step up controls and to fund research, it is not my job to issue a press release. That's a secret thing, because it's the right thing to do," the former cancer patient replied although he never made any secret of his massive financial support for cancer research.
Armstrong admitted that it ”wasn't a small amount of money" he had given to the UCI.
Armstrong himself has repeatedly been accused of doping use. Among other things the French newspaper L'Equipe in August 2005 wrote an article about six of his samples from 1999 that had been studied in a scientific experiment with new tests and which showed traces of EPO.

Because of the time period and due to the circumstances surrounding the revelation Armstrong was never a convicted. According to the The Sunday Times the three times Tour de France winner Greg Lemond stated that Armstrong revealed to him in August 2001 that he used EPO. This week on his own website Lemond writes that he believes “most of Floyd Landis’s statements”.

But Landis admites that he has no proof. Armstrong actually managed to win seven Tour de France victories as captain of an unusually clean team. Not a single rider on Armstrong and Bruyneel team were ever revealed as doping offenders. It took more than a decade until a minor Chinese rider a few weeks ago was charged at the couple's new team RadioShack for using the banned substance clenbuterol. It seems quite impressive when taking in account the wealth of doping cases that has devastated the sport the past decade.

However many have wondered why some of the riders that since switched from Armstrong and Bruyneel team to another team soon eventually would fall into the doping trap. Several of their former teammates have since been convicted, including Roberto Heras, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

During last years Tour de France news surfaced that could indicate that the UCI were less strict when it came to controlling the riders of Armstrong and Bruyneel. At the time Armstrong had returned from his temporary retirement in an ambitious attempt to regain the Tour de France in 2009. Of course it was his old friend Bruyneel who brought him to his new team Astana in autumn 2008. With Armstrong and Contador and with a new anti-doping profile the Tour de France organizers showed mercy on the team and invited Astana to partake in the Tour de France 2009.
The road seemed paved and apparently in more senses than one.

During last year's Tour de France when Contador and Armstrong took the first and third-place the head of the French anti-doping agency Pierre Bordry complained that the UCI doping inspectors showed "laxity" when it came to doping testing Astana riders. According to French sports newspaper L'Equipe UCI inspectors drank coffee with employees of Astana and waited a full hour to test the team's riders. "There was a little bit of avoiding going on," the French minister of sport Roselyne Bachelot told French TV.

During the same tour the French anti-doping authorities found "suspicious syringes" in Astana’s waste container.

Bruyneel has dismissed the events as a form of witch hunt from the French authorities who allegedly have always been envious of the fact that it was an American - and not a Frenchman - who had taken their precious Tour. This point of view he shares with many of the journalists Weekendavisen have spoken to in connection with this article. They view the allegations as theories of conspiracy.

It may seem ironic that it is precisely the one that Bruyneel actually got fired due to evidence of doping which really gives the Belgian problems.
Vladimir Gusev sued Astana for unfair dismissal and taking the case to sport's highest legal body CAS. He wins in summer 2008. There was no valid evidence that Gusev had "violated the rules of UCI and/or WADA," as stated in the sentence. As compensation Astana owners is asked to pay the young Russian rider over 650,000 euros in damages. A very considerable amount.

Until now the story has been based on open sources. Here the closed sources begin to take over.

Despite the CAS-decision Gusev experiences that no team wishes to hire him, according to the sources because Bruyneel spread the rumor that the young Russian had stuffed himself with EPO. The compensation which Astana’s owners owed Gusev was also being delayed.

In the spring of 2009 WADA changed the rules which made it possible to test for the kind of EPO, Rasmus Damsgaard told Bruyneel he had found in Russian’s urine sample and get him convicted.

Damsgaard while still working for Astana asked Anne Gripper - who was then leader of the UCI anti-doping office – that she should consider Gusev’s test again according to the new WADA laws. She did as she had been told.

According to the critics this was a crucial mistake. This made UCI vulnerable for charges that the anti-doping work did not work independently of the teams. According to Weekendavisen’s sources UCI actively and on demand from a private team tried to get a rider convicted who had a CAS verdict that his firing was unjustified. They view this as evidence that Bruyneel does indeed get special treatment from UCI.

Gusev and his lawyers got wind of the new initiative and took action. Through a confidential litigation in a civil court in Switzerland they accused UCI of testing samples that were taken in connection with an internal control in Astana. In addition they accused UCI of giving Gusev's name to the laboratory where the samples according to the law must be anonymised in order to prevent power abuse.
The Swiss Civil Court judged in favor of Gusev and his team. UCI was not allowed to reconsider his samples. The case also came before CAS and sport the highest legal authority reiterated verdict from the civil court.

This case was completed some weeks ago and finally Gusev got his money from Astana’s owners. By now he had won all the trials, but he still had no team, although almost two years had gone by since Astana fired him.

But Gusev had a trump card. He could sue UCI for damages. A new civil trial threatened to be long and expensive and Pat McQuaid devised a plan. According to Weekendavisen’s sources he suggested Gusev a deal. If the Russian did not demand compensation from the UCI, Pat McQuaid would in turn help him find a team. The 27-year-old Russian would rather ride than to spend the rest of his cycling career in the courtrooms. He said yes.

At the beginning of this month Gusev signed contract with the new Russian ProTour team Katusha.

According to Rasmus Damsgaard he himself took initiative to contact the UCI because he believed that Gusev's EPO result should be reconsidered under the new WADA-laws.
"The fact is that all urine samples followed the usual anti-doping practices and that the tests I was planning on Astana riders were UCI samples. The trails are judged on a wrong basis."

The Danish doctor says he proofed that Gusev was doped.

"I do not believe that Gusev is cleared of the accusations. Russian is only represented by some talented lawyers who have managed to raise doubts among judges about the technicalities," says Damsgaard. He states that Bispebjeg Hospital where he worked can not be categorized as a private company. It was certified by the UCI to view the samples.

“My work on the bike teams have always been conducted under the condition that all samples were taken, analyzed and evaluated in accordance with WADA and UCI rules," says Rasmus Damsgaard.

Damsgaard believes that the Gusev case should be viewed as a story about doping sinners who was protected by outdated rules.

Weekendavisen’s sources on the other hand says that the case shows that the UCI and the cycling’s top manager can determine who is to ride and not ride. The sources also say that Gusev’s case reveals that Bruyneel whose riders not until recently has tested positive for doping has direct influence on UCI’s anti-doping work.
“The current system is not sufficiently transparent and the key roles are not sufficiently independent. The UCI acts as administrator, investigator, prosecutor and judge,” says Martin Hardie an anti-doping expert and lecturer in law at Deakin University in Australia.

“It matches the anonymous samples against the names of riders, decides who will be prosecuted and whether they are guilty. This situation is fraught with legal problems. It also renders the UCI vulnerable to allegations of improper and unfair conduct. Allegations such as these in the Gusev matter reflect serious mistrust in the integrity of the UCI. Proper and transparent processes will protect not only the riders but also the UCI”

Martin Hardie views the Gusev case is yet another example of the tendency which has bothered riders, managers and cycle reporters for a long time: It reveals that some riders can do anything without being punished and other riders are being punished even if they are acquitted.

For example, the International Cycling Union works actively at expanding the prohibition to the whole world which the Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde has recieved against riding in Italy. Valverde was allegedly involved in the case of blood doping known as Operation Puerto in 2006, but he has never been banned by the Spanish Cycling Union. However his compatriot Contador who has worked for Bruyneel until recently whose his initials allegedly were found on some of the many blood bags in 2006 is still free to ride. UCI is not running any campaign against him nor are they pursuing Fränk Schleck from Bjarne Riis’ CSC Team although he also was in involved in Operacion Puerto because he send money to the doctor who is charged with running the illegal program.

From Michael Rasmussen's case we also know that some riders who are have served their doping convictions are excluded for life while others are allowed to return. Two of these riders play a key role in this year's Giro d'Italia. One, the Italian Ivan Basso - who in 2007 received a two year ban for his part in Operacion Puerto and apologised after having served his sentence - got a big contract and is riding excellently. The second, Alexander Vinokourov - who also served a two-year sentence - returned to Astana although he made no apology. He also rides incredibly well again.

When the Kazakhstani recently won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Christian Prudhomme, head of Tour de France - which also organizes the spring classics – said that he is now free to participate in this year's edition of the Tour de France.
"It's like in real life. Vinokourov made a mistake, he was punished, he has served his sentence and returned," the director declared.

These principles do not apply to everybody. Michael Rasmussen who unlike Vinokourov has never been tested positive cannot return. Perhaps it is because he continues to complain about these unfair conditions.

”The UCI’s conduct renders it vulnerable to accusations that it plays favourites with those coming back from bans,” the Australien Martin Hardie says.
“Favouratism would be a clear breach of the UCI's duty to treat all its constituency in a fair and impartial manner. This possibility adds to the concerns of riders who are still subject to a ban that they could be sacrificial lambs, offered to show some evidence of action against doping, while the administrative status quo is preserved.”

Pat McQuaid has assured Weekendavisen two months ago that he does not interfere with whom the ProTour teams employ - or don’t employ. He stated this was when the president was asked to respond to allegations that the UCI is threatening teams who wishes to hire Michael Rasmussen. The Gusev case shows that he himself certainly believes that he has the ability to interfere. It did not take long after Gusev and McQuaid reached their secret agreement before the Russian rider was back in top cycling again.

Weekendavisen has not been able to secure a statement from Pat McQuaid, Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Professional Cycling - escaping the crisis.

This week the cycling world again has been plunged into controversy after doping statements made by Floyd Landis. This is a further chapter in a saga that started with doping allegations in the Festina Tour of 1998. The allegations made by Floyd Landis this week raise issues that many people believe go to the heart of world cycling – its ability to deal with doping that appears to be embedded in the sport.

It is submitted that cycling can only come out of its crisis by dealing with the issues it faces in an open, transparent and impartial manner. Nothing less will work.

Landis’ allegations have yet to be fully investigated. However they are not the only such allegations of doping and abuse of power within the administration of the anti-doping system by the International Cycling Union (UCI). These allegations evidence a growing concern that the rules are not administered in a fair and transparent manner.
The UCI, Lance Armstrong and his team manager Johan Bruyneel have all responded to the allegations of Landis by denial. The UCI stated:

“The UCI regrets that Mr Landis has publicly accused individuals without allowing sufficient time for the relevant US authorities to investigate.
An impartial investigation is a fundamental right, as Mr Landis will understand having contested, for two years, the evidence of his breach of the Anti-Doping Rules in 2006.”

With this statement the UCI has opened the door to what has been a hoary chestnut in the past - that an impartial investigation is a fundamental right.
There is no doubt about that.
In this respect the comments of the World Anti Doping Agency chief John Fahey should be welcomed as Mr. Fahey has vowed there should be a complete investigation into the claims made by Landis and others regarding the administration of justice by the UCI.
But the solution does not simply lie in an impartial investigation to determine the veracity of the Landis allegations. What is required is an overhaul of the current system to prevent similar allegations in future.

One of the fundamental problems with the current anti-doping system is that the current system is not sufficiently transparent and the key roles are not sufficiently independent. The UCI acts as administrator, investigator, prosecutor and judge. It matches the anonymous samples against the names of riders, decides who will be prosecuted and whether they are guilty. In addition, important cases are resolved in closed hearings, hidden from public scrutiny. This situation is fraught with problems, rendering the UCI vulnerable to allegations of improper and unfair conduct.

Allegations such as those concerning the Russian rider Vladimir Gusev where it is alleged that the UCI acted at the direction of Bruyneel reflect serious mistrust in the integrity of the organisation and its processes. In the end proper, impartial and transparent processes will protect not only the riders but also the UCI.

The administration of justice in cycling as in every walk of life must occur in public to avoid perceptions of unfairness and cronyism.

What cycling desperately needs is an independent honest broker to finally bring these matters to resolution. Neither the national federations nor the international union are in a position to do this alone. In addition, serious open discussion is required to create a new ethical cycling culture. Otherwise we will only continue to hear more of the same from this beautiful sport.

Australia has a place to play in cycling’s rejuvenation. A few years ago the Spanish Secretary for Sport, Jaime Lissavetsky, proposed a grand round table meeting to deal with cycling’s own cancer. In September to coincide with the World Cycling Championships Deakin will hold the New Pathways for Professional Cycling Conference. We offer this as an opportunity for the cycling world to come together to share ideas about the shape of the sport and its administration in the future and to prepare the ground for meaningful and continuing dialogue.

Monday, May 10, 2010

International Network for the Humanistic Studies in Doping Editorial May 2010

Martin Hardie

Ghandi once wrote that there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree. Ghandi’s point was that depending upon which means we adopt the end or result will always be different. We reap exactly what we sow, he said. His aim was to show that only with fair means can we produce fair results.

What has all this got to do with doping?

I am slowly coming to the position that the problem of doping in sport is a symptom of something much deeper. One of the leitmotifs of doping in cycling has been the idea of the omerta. The omerta has been traditionally used to refer to the silence of the mafia. In cycling it has been a term applied to the custom surrounding cycling’s collective silence concerning doping. The collective who engaged in this silence were not simply the professional cyclists but also others involved in the sport such as its administrators and its media.

In recent times the question has been quietly raised as to whether the UCI treats its entire constituency equally in relation to both cyclists returning from doping bans and to cyclists currently facing doping bans. Part of this debate has included whether there exists or not a black list of cyclists who are being, de facto, prevented from returning to top level competition. At the other end of the procedure questions are asked as to whether all, for example, those who were involved in the Spanish police enquiry known as Operacion Puerto, are being treated by the cycling authorities in an even handed manner.

In cycling, probably as in other sports, there exists an environment where if you do the right thing by cycling, cycling will do the right thing by you. But one has to ask at times whether this right thing is actually the right thing. There is no doubt that an old boy’s network exists within cycling and that it seeks to protect its base. In fact it may be better to suggest that there are more than one old boy’s networks, but this is not the point.

As a researcher of the problematisation of doping in cycling one constantly must walk a fine line. One is immediately suspect as it seems the question as to the correct means in the just war against doping are the exclusive domain of the sport’s helmsmen. In many ways this simply appears to be another form of the omerta. The silence has simply shifted from the question as to whether doping exists to now being a silence as to the means being used to achieve the end. What we are not allowed to ask at the risk of being black listed or at least de facto excluded is the question as to whether the means that are being used in the fight against doping are themselves good means which are in the end going to produce good results?

Gandhi's Truth Force (satyagraha) was a unique synergism which included ethical principles found in British law and religion and in Hindu tradition and culture. Ghandi’s inspiration from British law was the idea of equity which acts on a person’s conscience, binding them to it, rather than acting as a binding legal rule. Central to the idea of the English tradition of equity is the concept of the fiduciary. The concept of fiduciary of course has a history pre-dating antiquity.

The fiduciary is one who must not use their position in order to achieve a profit, benefit, gain or privilege for themselves or for a third party. The fiduciary must avoid at all times a conflict between their duty to those that they owe the obligation and their own self interest. A fiduciary has other obligations flowing from their position of power including to treat those falling within a particular class equally and to treat different classes fairly. They have a duty not to act capriciously or unreasonably. Their overriding duty is one of good faith.

When one is entrusted or one undertakes to act for the benefit of others one relinquishes one’s private interests. We see this requirement arising in the case of those involved in affairs of government. They have a duty to their constituency and a duty to avoid using their position as a means to further self interest. Similarly those that are entrusted by their constituency to positions of power in the administration of sport can be seen as having similar fiduciary obligations.

The office holders of national cycling federations as well as the international governing body are not entrusted with their power in order for them to serve their own self interests. They too have duties to avoid conflicts of interests and to treat all those that they are elected to serve fairly and equally.
Related to this are concerns of good administrative practice which may invalidate an exercise of power. For example the rules of natural justice or procedural fairness must be followed. Furthermore there are rules relating to the apprehension of bias on the part of a decision maker. Along with this an administrator must always act within the limits of the power granted to them by the rules and acts outside of that power are invalid.

These issues raise questions as to the legality of various circumstances.

For example:

- Imagine if certain parties (for example: managers, directors, riders, sponsors, federations, nations or teams) were in one way or another providing a benefit to administrators or related third parties with the result that the rules are not applied evenly and equally?

- Imagine if certain riders were pursued for infringements whilst others allegedly guilty of the same or similar offence were not?

- Imagine if family members of an administrator was benefiting from a relatives position of power?

- Imagine if an administrator leaked information to the press despite a rule forbidding them from doing so?

- Imagine if administrators decided to skip steps in a procedure, such as not issuing required warnings before a rule violation could be found?

- Imagine if administrators purported to introduce and enforce anti-doping measures knowing that these measures were in fact unenforceable in law?

- Imagine if administrators had knowledge of teams’ involvement in doping and knowledge that on being found positive riders’ were paid inducements not to publicly disclose the team’s involvement?

- Imagine if an administrator made public statements prior to the hearing or an appeal to the effect that a certain rider will never win again?

If one was to accept what one hears on the rumour mill one might be tempted to jump to the conclusion that some of these hypothetical situations were actually based in fact. Some recent events, such as those surrounding Rasmussen and Valverde, may be interpreted by some as even suggesting that there is some basis to such assumptions.

In any event, if one did come to the conclusion that any of these scenarios had some basis in fact, one would have to then seriously question whether or not cycling’s helmsmen were properly performing their duties in good faith. If one was to arrive at this position then subsequently one would have to question whether the means adopted in the just war against doping in cycling were in fact a means which will in the end produce a fairer sport of cycling.

Recent Danish media on WADA etc 3

Presumed guilty. Two athletes. Two asthmatics. Two idiotic sentences.

Sprayed away


FOOTBALL Player Jesper Münsberg can still not enter his home team's grass field. The 33-year-old defender from Lolland-Falster Alliance, located in the second division East, received in November 2009 a quarantine on a half years after a legal process that has lasted almost two years. Not before the middle of this month can he play again.
Two weeks ago, Weekendavisen wrote an article in which several renowned researchers criticized WADA for having created a lawless system for the athletes and for doing everything to protect system. His sentence is an example of the legal carelessness which characterizes sport these years.

In February 2008 Münsberg played for the first Division club Næstved. Shortly before a friendly against Brondby, he took several deep puffs on his asthma spray. Münsberg has suffered from asthma throughout his life, what gives him a reduced lung activity at 19 percent, and he had already been ill up to the fight so his airway was clogged. The asthmatic had obtained a permission from Anti Doping Denmark to use the asthma inhaler 'as needed' though it contained the substance salbutamol which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA’s list of banned substances.

That evening, 10 February 2008, doping inspectors from Anti Doping Denmark were present during the training match. Subsequently the tests showed that the amount of salbutamol in Münsbergs urine was more than one and half time above the permitted limit. WADA’s medical experts had established a rule that if an athlete had more that 1000 ng / ml of salbutamol in the body they would receive a penalty. They claimed that it was impossible to exceed that level without cheating.

Münsberg had 2460 ng/ml.
The doping Committee under the Danish Sports Confederation dismissed the case. As the Danish Sports Confederation wrote, there is 'no proven performance-enhancing effect in connection with inhalation of salbutamol and Münsberg have only taken the product for health reasons in order to combat his asthma."

On 13 June 2008 WADA asked DIF to look at the matter again and again DIF dismissed the case. Then WADA appealed the case to sport's Supreme Court CAS.

In February 2009 the defence player who in his civilian life is a plummer was flown for three days to Oslo to undergo a series of experiments under the supervision of WADA’s Norwegian inspectors. The experiments demonstrated that Münsberg was able to once again obtain an almost equally high level of salbutamol in the blood only by taking several puffs of his asthma spray. He obtain over 1900 ng/ml.

These numbers Münsberg and his Danish team took to Lausanne to try to convince CAS. It was all in vain. The three judges sentenced the Dane to six months without any sports from 16 November 2009.

The chairman of the Danish Players Association Anders Øland commented the proceedings thus: "For elite athletes fighting WADA - with the reverse burden of proof and with WADA's many resources – it is a David's fight against Goliath. The demands of the accused to prove their innocence are completely unreasonable and are having great economic and personal consequences."


WHY was Münsberg convicted when he at a laboratory experiments could produce almost the same high levels of salbutamol in his blood? Did WADA place the allowable limit too low? Is Münsberg the victim of idiotic rules? And what does it tell us about another highly controversial case which CAS and WADA had a few years earlier?

During the Giro d'Italia in 2007, the Italian cyclist - and asthmatic - Alessandro Petacchi tested positive for salbutamol. CAS deprived him of his five victories during the Giro and all his prize money and gave him 12 months' quarantine. Petacchis had 1353 ng/ml in his blood. This was above the limit – but it was far below what Jesper Münsberg could produce.

Petacchi also had the right to use his spray. Althoug unlike with Münsberg there was a limit of six puffs a day.

But if the Dane could reach over 1900 ng/ml and ever well up over 2400 ng/ml, the Italien could in theory also have been able to reach 1353 ng/ml on six puffs a day. We do not know. Unlike Münsberg Petacchi was never retested. And neither of them received the benefit of the doubt.

They will never be compensated for the cost of their sanctions. In CAS it is impossible to appeal – even if time has shown that the rulings were based on bad science.

Recent Danish media on WADA etc 2

Doping. In Denmark half of all athletes a sanctioned due to drugs that are not performance enhancing. It's more about creating an image of a clean sport than creating a clean sport," the founder of Anti-Doping Denmark Bengt Saltin says.

The Spirit of Sport


"THE worst thing were judgment of the press," Anders Gotschalk says – a sailor from Charlottenlund, north of Copenhagen, who is dressed an Aston Martin-jacket and who has planted his sunglasses in the hair. On 16 September 2007 he was tested positive for cocaine. "I had taken some at a party a few days beforehand," Anders Gotschalk says. He received two years of quarantine.

This week Weekendavisen looks at the numerous convictions which are given to athletes for substances which even sports federations and anti-doping agencies admit is not performance enhancing. Cocaine is only performance-enhancing if taken within a half hour before the competition.

Hash is actually performance retardant. Yet dozens of athletes around the world receive suspensions because of traces of marijuana and cocaine in their urine. In Denmark alone we have witnessed 22 convictions the past six years.

In 2004, the so-called WAD-code was written which contains a comprehensive list of all the substances that athletes are forbidden to take. Approximately half of all convictions in Denmark since 2004 have been based on substances such as marijuana and cocaine which prominent doctors and anti-doping experts state should not occur on the WADA list.

"Much of what is banned has absolutely no performance enhancing effect," Bengt Saltin says – a physiologist who has tested up to 100.000 samples.
In Denmark, 29 out of 59 cases since 2004 are based on substances such as marijuana, cocaine, sibutramine, ephedrine and glucocorticosteroids, which according to the professor, at best, is of 'questionable' value - at worst, of no value at all.
Bengt Saltin has a significant voice in this matter. The Swedish-born professor co-founded Anti-Doping Denmark the Danish branch of WADA and was the Agency's first chairman.

The professor's opinions are a cause to look at these cases and listen to the athletes who often lose years their not very long career. They lose their income and dominating passion. Their credibility and good name is oftentimes dragged through the dirt by the press.

"The day after I was tested positive the Danish boulevard paper Ekstra Bladet had cleared the front page of sports section," the sailor Anders Gotschalk says.

"It was the first time ever sailing had such a prominent position."

Anders Gotschalk also witnessed how TV2 News sent a news helicopter flying over the Yacht Club Furesøen to take pictures of suspicious boats.

"The chairman of the Sailors Union told the press that what I had done was unforgivable. I thought, dear friend, it's coke. I have not swapped blood with some cyclist."

In two years Donald Gotschalk was not allowed to enter any sports hall. "I could not even have a beer in Hellerup Sailing Club."

The sailor explains that before this episode he thought the doping fight was made to prevent athletes from cheating in sport.
'But who did I cheat?" he asks.

In the months before the ban expired the sailor came under the socalled "whereabouts regulation”. Each day, seven days a week, he had to stay one hour at a certain place which he should inform anti doping authorities about.

"Doping controllers from Anti Doping Denmark came to look at the density of my urine in a small telescope. It is crazy to spend so much money on someone who is merely taken for coke,"Anders Gotschalk says.

Today the sailor views the whole episode as a farce. 'It is just a shame that it was me who played the leading role.”


PROFESSOR Bengt Saltin says that WADA has clouded the efforts to combat doping. Today he strongly distances himself from the work that takes place both nationally and internationally when it comes to the struggle for a 'clean sport'.

»Anti-Doping Work today is more concerned in dealing with drugs that have no effect on the performance."

That it has come thus far the professor attributes to the three statutes in the so-called WAD-code from 2004. At least two of the three rules must apply if a substance is to be banned.

The first two statutes are about banning substances that can are performance-enhancing or health damaging. But the third is the most controversial: WADA wishes to ban substances that are contrary to the “spirit of sport”.

This lofty concept is the reason why dozens of athletes each year are being sanctioned with serious career damaging and emotional consequences. This is where substances such as cocaine and marijuana come into the picture. They are contrary to 'spirit of sport' and the Olympic ideal of 'a healthy soul in a healthy body'.

Since athletes are to act as so-called 'role models' for young people WADA tests for marijuana, although it is performance-retardant – and ban athletes who clearly did not take cocaine to improve themselves in their sport.

There is no WADA-law against athletes taking these substances when not in competition, but the problem is that the substances can be detected in the blood for days.

Certain substances in WAD code are equipped with a limit but this limit does not exist for marijuana and cocaine. Here even tiny traces can produce a ban. As laboratories get a hold of more and more advanced equipment, they can detect smaller and smaller quantities in athletes' blood.

The most spectacular case came in 2007 when the Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis tested positive in Wimbledon for a very small and obviously ineffective dose of cocaine in her blood. She said that she has no idea how it entered the body and that she is "100 percent" innocent. But that did not stop the International Tennis Federation in giving her a penalty of two years. As a consequence the 27-year-old tennis player ended her career which among other things brought her five Grand Slam titles.

According Bengt Saltin it is hypothetically possible that an unsuspecting human can consume cocaine in a diluted form for example in a drink.

It is estimated that up to one quarter of all cases worldwide are based on substances that probably has no effect on sports performance.

"It is not the task of Anti Doping Denmark to educate the athletes in their social behavior. Ingestion of cocaine and marijuana belongs in a civil - not a sport’s - court, "says Bengt Saltin.

In January 2008 the volleyball player Daniel Thomas tested positive for cocaine after the Danish volleyball finals. Daniel Thompson played for the club Marienlyst in Fyn and he was at the time at the Danish national team. The volleyball player was on the verge of having a career abroad.

He stats that he has no idea how he had obtained cocaine in his body. He has a suspicion that he might have ingested it accidentally during a party the weekend before because his pupils had swollen and he had sore head the day after.

Daniel Thomsen stated innocence is totally irrelevant. In WADA the rule of strict liability applies meaning that the athlete should be punished whether he or she has og has not ingested the banned substance deliberately and whether the substance was taken in order to improve the performance on the track.

As Jesper Frigast Larsen, Olympic and Elite Sports Manager of Danish Sports Federation, told Fyn’s Stiftstidende in February 2008 in a comment on the Daniel Thomsen case: "It is our impression that in doping cases with cocaine and marijuana it is all about partying. But the hammer hits just as hard."

When athletes get banned they are prohibited in performing any kind of prohibited sports. Three months after the quarantine was in force Daniel Thompson played two soccer games for a club which plays at one of Denmark's lowest ranks. Some opponents complained and the matter came before DIF’s doping tribunal which demanded that Daniel Thomsen's two-year quarantine should begin again, starting on the day he played the last football game.

The volleyball player avoided the sentence but only because there weren’t any rules that took the situation into account. There is today. But Funen Football Association sanctioned the soccer club by to lose both matches and demanded a payment of 1.000 kroner.

The volleyball player who recently has served his sentence does not understand why it is forbidden to practice any form of organized sports. "It's not good for anyone," he says.

For athletes who have smoked marijuana the risk is even greater because it can be detected in the blood for a longer time than cocaine. Also here there have been several potentially career damaging judgments:

The American basketball player André Heard who played for the Denmark masters Bakken Bears tested positive for marijuana in 2007. He was described as one of the 'key players', but was - in addition to receiving a ban on three months - fired from his team.

Bakken Bears' sporting director Michael Piloz said then that the use of such substances was not in line with the club's "elitist attitudes". André Heard had to go back to America.

In November 2007 the boxer Christian Bladt also tested positive for marijuana. At first the Danish Professional Boxing Confederation DPBF gave him an incredibly harsh penalty of a two year ban. The Danish paper Berlingske Tidende speculated whether Christian Bladt was being punished for having broken with the boxing promoter Mogens Palle whose interests DPBF were supposed to serve. A two-year-ban would have terminated the then 32-year-old former European master's career.
However after criticism from the Danish Sports Confederation and Anti Doping Denmark, the ban was sharply reduced. He ended up getting three months.

The same was given to the ice hockey player Torben Schultz after a test in November 2004 found traces of marijuana in his urine. He was immediately fired from his team Herning Blue Fox. The 35-year-old former midfielder initially chose to end his career, but returned to a new club after the three-month quarantine was served.

'The rule is clear," chairman of the Anti Doping Denmark Jens Evald says.

"Maybe it is not performance enhancing to take cocaine and marijuana, but it is forbidden," he continues.

"You are responsible, buddy, for what you put into your head. Do not smoke any marijuana a week before you riding the Tour de France. If you are caught, it's out."

Dr. jur. and professor Jens Evald does not believe that there currently exists available methods from which to accurately tell if cocaine or hash is taken outside of competition or inside.

“As they are now the rules are easy to administer and we have no methods to prove whether it was performance enhancing when they took it," he says.
The chairman explains that the rule of marijuana was introduced to the WADA list as a result of a domestic U.S. fight against drugs.
“The U.S. is 'tough on drugs'. There are not many presidents who wishes to a policy of reducing the fight against narcotics," he says.


WADA was created in 1999 and receives 25 million dollars annually. They finance 35 laboratories around the world and makes about 200,000 tests each year. Anti-doping work has become a major industry. Anti Doping Denmark alone has received 2,5 million dollars from the Danish state this year.

The purpose of WADA was to harmonize doping rules and manage the list of banned substances.

Professor Bengt Saltin believes that anti-doping agencies 'today are more committed to ensuring an image of a clean sport than to ensure a clean sport. They live off the money they get in through sport."

The highly influential political spokesman of the Social Democratic Party Henrik Sass Larsen is appalled by the information that has emerged in Weekendavisen’s articles about WADA and the anti-doping fight.

"No one would have put up with it within civil justice if there had been as much uncertainty about the science and as many flaws in the administration of justice as there is in sport. We would have impeached a long time ago, if we were allowed to behave in politics, as they behave in the anti-doping and sports federations," he says.

Henrik Sass Larsen promises to send a 'shower of questions' to the Minister of Culture Per Stig Møller and Minister of Justice Lars Barfoed.

"It seems that it has become more important to maintain the anti-doping and sporting associations than to protect the athletes. It is as if organizations have taken the power from the athletes whose rights they were supposed to manage," says Henrik Sass Larsen.

"We must seriously consider whether it under the present circumstances even makes sense for the Danish government to keep putting money into this," the political spokesman continues.


WE will conclude the article with the story of a squash player from Copenhagen. On 8 January 2008 Thomas Rønn was tested positive for cocaine after an elite match between Herlev Squash Club and Copenhagen Squash Club. Penalty: Two years of quarantine.
"I did not take cocaine to become a better squash player. I had been a bartender for many years and had an abuse. My sport was the only thing that kept me afloat," he explains today.
"When I lost the possibility of playing squash, I seriously fell into a hole for a long time."
Thomas Rønn does not understand why such a “midget” like him who plays such a peripheral sport must be sanctioned as hard as a professional athlete who earns millions on cheating. "They catch the wrong people," he says.

Read previous articles on WADA and mountain rider Michael Rasmussen at: / doping

Recent Danish Stories on WADA etc 1

WADA. The Anti-Doping Fight has ended in innocent athletes being convicted while the doped athletes get off. Prominent scientists deliver a harsh sentence.

Closed circles


CLAUDIA Pechstein’s glorious career ended in a scandal. The then 37-year-old German skater who has won five Olympic medals was accused of doping during the World Championships in Norway in February 2009. Although Pechstein claimed her innocence the international skating union sentenced her to a two-year quarantine. The International Sports’ Supreme Court CAS upheld the ruling. An unusual athlet’s carrier lay in ruins.

Today a number of researchers come to Pechstein’s defense. They see her case as yet another sign that the sports organizations and international doping agencies - including the largest, WADA – give innocent athletes severe punishment on the basis of questionable and erroneous samples. The critics argue that WADA and the anti-doping agencies are closed systems whose methods are not open to scientific validation. They say that the risk that innocents will be convicted and guilty let free is too high. They state that we need to realize that so far we have found no safe methods to detect doping.

The criticism is not shared by the national sports organizations. Jesper Frigast Larsen, who is Olympic and Elite Sports Manager at the Danish Sports Association, believes that the creation of WADA in 1999 “was a very important step in doping fight.”

He continues: “The cooperation between governments and sports federations which is the foundation of WADA is a unique construction which is of great value to the sports and the anti-doping work’s credibility towards the individual athlete. A return to the past legal Armageddon in the doping area is unthinkable today. There is no going back from WADA. We will have to rely on WADA delivering work of delivering the highest quality.”


THIS trust is misplaced, the critics say. According to the Dutch chemometric Klaas Faber a number of cases show that things have gone very wrong and the Pechstein affair is the most blatant example of how inadequate the doping fight works these years. He says that her sentence "in statistical terms was a mistake - I have rarely seen such massive stupidity."
Pechstein who had never been tested positive and never been under suspicion was sentenced after her so-called blood values showed 'abnormal' values in relation to a highly proclaimed new doping-control method that a wide range of sports have introduced.

It is called a 'biological passport' or 'blood passport'. The method is based on the fact that athletes must have their individual blood pass indicating limits as to how high values such as hematocrit count or immature blood cells called reticulocytes may be allowed to become. If they exceed a certain limit - tailored personally for each and every athlete – it will be seen as indirect evidence of doping. WADA has made it possible to judge athletes from this form of indirect evidence.
The number of reticulocytes in Pechstein was extremely high in her blood sample in Norway which gave the skating authorities reason to believe that she has used the performance-enhancing, illegal drug EPO.

Klaas Faber is working with combining expertise from chemistry, statistics and mathematics, and he has been associated with several well-acclaimed institutions. He says that Pechstein blood values on the day was evaluated after odd ad-hoc guidelines that provide false samples in one out of twenty tests when taking into account that the skater’s blood profile by nature was highly exceptional. This means that Pechstein had a five per cent risk of having a in test that would burst the boundaries of her biological passport.

"But the real danger was much greater because she was tested so often," he says.

He believes that the case is a scandal.

'In the Pechstein affair, the International Skating Union only used the evidence to her disadvantage. It has used incorrect science. Prosecutors have implicitly assumed that she was guilty. It seems as if the Skating Union wanted her to be sentenced. And the International Supreme Court of Sports CAS was more than willing to cooperate."

There is no evidence that she ever used drugs and the risk of exceeding the limits of the blood passport was considerable.

"Nobody can say today that we did not know better - unless they admit their own incompetence." Faber believes that some people "deserve to have their titles torn off."

The worst thing about it is that had the Skate Union used the guidelines on individual account that WADA have formulated she would not have been convicted, he continues.

"This means that WADA actually accepts a ruling in the Skate Union which opposes WADA's own guidelines. It is unheard of."


WADA was created in 1999 to "harmonize the anti-doping policy worldwide' in all sports and in order to clean up the poison which threatened to destroy several sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency administers the WAD-code guidelines for doping control and banned substances.

Professor of Physiology, the Swedish-born Dr. Bengt Saltin, has been deeply involved in the fight against doping. He helped to found WADA’s national subdivision, Anti Doping Denmark ADD, and was ADD’s first chairman. Today he believes that WADA has been a disappointment. Looking at the Pechstein case he says that she "was not convicted under the basic judicial principle: beyond all doubt."

He tells that in the beginning it was biomedicical doctors who were in charge of saying how WADA should look like. "But from 2005 they went away and it became officials and lawyers that took over," he says.

Today Bengt Saltin says the anti-doping work “is meaningless”. He deplores the fact that there apparently is no dialogue between external experts and WADA's own laboratories and analysts.


IN December 2006 the Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Michael A. Hiltzik wrote two long articles in his newspaper Los Angeles Times. After examining more than 250 cases of doping among athletes he delivered a scathing criticism of WADA.

He gave examples of a large number of athletes who had to return their medals and had career devastating suspensions for having banned substances in their blood at such low quantities that it did not have any performance enhancing effect whatsoever.

For example, he told the story of Alain Baxter who at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002 won the first British medal in alpine skiing. Two days later it emerged that his urine sample contained traces of the banned substance methamphetamines. The bronze medal he had to return back.

That he had the banned substance because he had used Vicks Vapor Inhalor - a nasal spray - was irrelevant. The doping fight under WADA is conducted according to the principle of strict liability. This means that the athletes are considered guilty whether they intended to take a banned substance or not. Besides having to deliver the medal back Baxter was given a three-month quarantine.

Michael Hiltzik also tells the story of the then 17-year-old Italian swimmer Giorgia Squizzato who during a competition in 2004 used some antibiotic cream that her mother had bought for her to treat an infection in the foot. The cream contained a steroid that was on the WADA list of banned substances. Although the judge of the arbitration case acknowledged that the substance could not have improved her performance, she received a one-year quarantine. A rule is a rule.
Michael Hiltziks verdict on anti-doping system in December 2006 was: Thousands of athletes are subject to a system where “anti-doping authorities act as prosecutors, judge and jury, enforcing rules that they have written, punishing violations based on sometimes questionable scientific tests that they develop and certify themselves, while barring virtually all outside appeals or challenges."

Only in extremely rare cases have athletes been successful in making an appeal against WADA, he continued.
Hiltzik also told the story of the Olympic sprinter Torri Edwards. She had eaten a sugar pill which contained the banned substance niketamid. The judges in The International Sports Supreme Court CAS acknowledged that she had not swallowed pill in order to “cheat” and they stated that it was 'not easy' for them to have to hand her their sentence: Two years of quarantine. Eventually they showed her mercy and reduced Torri Edwards’ penalty to one year.

Michael Hiltziks article concluded that athletes who accidentally took a banned substance will receive as harsh punishments as athletes who have doped themselves intentionally. However since he wrote his article WADA has opened for the possibily of showing flexibility in 'extraordinary circumstances'. But that requires that the athletes can convince the judges about their innocence.

"The reason we have the law of strict liability is to protect the rights of the clean atlhets," WADA Director General David Howman says.

"They clean athletes have the right to compete against athletes who have not used performance enhancing substances. We've made it quite clear that athletes have a responsibility to make sure that the substances they come in the body is not on the prohibited list. If it is on the list, they have a problem. It has worked until now. Occasionally you get odd cases like the one with the Italian swimmer and she got a reduced sentence," David Howman says.

"It's like with lawyers. If they make errors they may lose their commission. It is like that everywhere in society."
But the problem is not just legality. Michael Hiltzik wrote in his article in the Los Angeles Times that sports organizations often claim that the athlete is guilty before they ruling has been handed down and thereby helps in stabbing the athletes in the back. The American journalist observed how organizations leaks information to the press about their athletes. This was exactly what the Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen experience when the chairman of the Danish Bicycle Union Jesper Worre during the Tour de France in 2007 said that Anti-Doping Denmark had two warnings on the mountain rider.
Hiltzik recognize today, three years later, that his article did not change a thing. This is mainly due to an unintelligent sports press.

"Every time an athlete is charged the debate plummets," says Michael Hiltzik.

“The U.S. media has disappointed me. But sports journalists are not in the habit of dealing with complex issues. Sciences, law, psychology - they are very uncomfortable with that. This is why athletes who are charged on an extremely thin basis are razed to the ground by the media. "

The problem today is that there are no associations or groups of athletes who represent those who feel unfairly convicted. The individual athletes are often left to themselves.

“Are you are charged, you lose everything,” says Hiltzik.

“This small group of innocently convicted athletes discovers that the system they had confidence in is malicious and unfair. They also find out that it is extremely expensive to fight the system. Costs often run up to astronomical heights. So if you want a sports career, perhaps it is best just to accept the injustice. If you try to fight the system, organizations can ruin your career. Combat them and you will get a reputation for not wanting to admit your guilt and not wanting to apologize. The system will always clear its own name. It can blow a fire storm towards you."


CARSTEN Lundby is an internationally recognized professor based in Zurich Center for Integrated Human Physiology at the University of Zurich. In 2008 he made an investigation that led WADA laboratories to go into a panic.
The trial which he published in the Journal of Applied Physiology was a study of the reliability of the WADA-accredited laboratories. Lundby sent urine samples to two WADA-approved laboratories from eight voluntary people in four weeks. He injected them with the doping drug EPO. Then he sent samples from the following weeks - even from the last period when EPO treatment was terminated and the substance had vanished from their urine.

The result was ominous. The first lab found only some of the EPO-containing samples positive. And the same laboratory found one of the samples from the person who no longer had EPO in his urine to be positive. The second laboratory found no positive samples among the urine tests that contained EPO.

The conclusion after the experiment was devastating: Those who doped himself were mostly acquitted. Those who did not were in danger of being unjustly convicted.

Tests performed during and after the injections also demonstrated that the performance of subjects was increased significantly in at least three weeks after the last EPO injection. That was a very disturbing result since EPO disappears very quickly from the bloodstream. Carsten Lundby actually showed that it was possible to dope oneself with EPO before a big stage race without the anti doping authority being able to detect it during the race.

Olivier Rabin, now the former scientific director at WADA, dismissed the criticism by Carsten Lundby by saying that Dane and his team were biased. He rebuked them for failing to understand the technical details of the lab’s methods and for acting unethically by failing to inform the laboratories about his intentions. Therefore Lundby studies did not undermine the credibility of doping test system, the scientific director concluded.

Carsten Lundby says that WADA’s objections were not admitted to a scientifically approved journal. He also says that his study had no influence on the way WADA to analyses urine samples. Somewhat disheartened he says that he "can not find a good solution on how to reveal dopers."

He explains that doping fight is full of money but that he no longer can receive funding from WADA which last year was got around 25 million dollars in contributions from around the world.

"Most of my international colleagues are tired of WADA. We consider it to be a bunch of friends who go around and pat each other on the backs. I do not want to deal with anti-doping work anymore. And it is obviously a great shame because through our scientific work we could make available a large amount of data and knowledge which would be of great benefit to WADA. But they are not interested."


IN the summer of 2008 Professor Donald A. Berry, Biostatistics at the University of Texas, wrote an article in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. 'The Science of Doping "was the title and it was meant to be understood ironically.
»The anti-doping fight is not science. We do not have a process in which laboratory tests are based on a scientifically validated practice," he says.

Actually we do not even know how they do these things, Donald Berry continues. They have never published in scientific journals what they do.

This uncertainty has important implications for the fight against doping:

"I thought that when I wrote the article in Nature some concern would arise among anti-doping scientists. But it is as if they live on another planet. They do not see it," Donald Berry says.

Three high-level WADA representatives replied that the American professor's article was "irresponsible" and "revealed a basic lack of knowledge of the rules and procedures." They listed several criteria explaining how laboratories avoided false positive tests.

"WADA encourages accredited laboratories to publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals although not all details can be directly published," they wrote. Laboratories must keep their investigative methods secret to prevent athletes who wishes to dope themselves in taking countermeasures.


“WE listens like for our critics," WADA’s general director David Howman says. "We are totally open."
- Did you also take Carsten Lundby’s study seriously?

“We did. You must remember that he is talking about something that was happening two years ago. Since then the EPO test has developed considerably with input from many people. We have done this to make sure that the tests conducted by laboratories are scientifically valid."
- But Donald Berry claims that your work is unscientific?

“'Occasionally I have to declare that I disagree with people - especially with scientists. Globally it is difficult to find scientists who agree 100 percent. One of the reasons why they are scientists, is that they wish to debate. This is what they get their money for."
- Is it not a reasonable argument?
"I think Mr Berry is astray. If he looks at what happens now, he might say something else. I will be happy to speak with him personally. But people love to shoot at WADA without having all the information required to behave professionally."
- These are highly esteemed scientists who write for scientific journals?
"There will always be some scientists who disagree with others. It's healthy."
- In the scientific world there is something that is more true than other?
"Here you are wrong. I am not a scientist, but I have had to deal with many scientists in many different positions.”
- Can athletes rely on the work of the WADA-certified laboratories doing?
- Are you actually helping in eliminating doping?
'There has been a huge change from when we
began and to this day.”