Other Sport Features
'Cycling in the toilet' says anti-doping chief Pound
By John Bagratuni Jul 2, 2006, 19:04 GMT
The pack rides during the first stage of the Tour de France 2006 near Strasbourg, France, Sunday 02 July 2006. The first stage leads the riders over 184,5 kilometers from Strasbourg to Strasbourg. EPA/GERO BRELOER
Hamburg - Further light was shed into the a Spanish doping scheme on Sunday, possibly beyond the hard-hit sport of cycling which according to World Anti-Doping supremo Richard Pound is shattered.
'The image of your sport and flagship event is in the toilet,' the WADA president Pound said in a BBC interview on Sunday in reference to cycling and the Tour de France.
'You've got to do something about it or the risk is that your sport will be ignored by everybody, marginalised by others and it won't be sport any more.'
But, according to cycling boss Pat McQuaid, other sports may be drawn as well into the Spanish Guardia Civil probe on doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and his blood-doping and substance abuse schemes.
'I have been told athletics, basketball, tennis and football. That will all come out over time. It is not just cycling,' said the UCI president McQuaid on Saturday.
The governing football federation FIFA on Sunday at the World Cup in Germany swiftly pointed out that it so far has no evidence of blood-doping in the sport but will ask Spanish authorities whether footballers are involved after all.
'We have no information that it (blood doping) was done or is done,' said FIFA's senior medic, Jiri Dvorak. 'If the Guadia Civil would have had information it would have informed us.'
So far the scandal centres around cyclists, with stars Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso leading a list of riders suspended for the Tour de France and McQuaid calling for the usual sanctions if they are found guilty - a two-year ban for doping followed by a two-year ban from the ProTour which effectively runs all big events,.
Ullrich and Basso have protested their innocence but several publications such as French sports daily L'Equipe, Germany's Bild and the cyclingnews.com website came up with further details on Sunday, saying were citing from the report by the Guardia Civil on which the suspensions were based.
The reports said that taped phone-calls allowed the authorities to establish a link between Basso and Fuentes and then identify his code-name in documents and number on blood bags.
Basso and Ullrich are reportedly implicated via a document speaking of participants of a festival in May, apparently a reference to the Giro d'Italia which Basso won and Ullrich and others also competed in.
Investigators are also looking into whether the name Jan, linked in a document to coded products such as blood, Human Growth Hormone and the steroid testosterone, leads to Ullrich.
Ullrich's personal advisor Rudy Pevenage, now also suspended as T-Mobile team sports director, is supposedly linked to Fuentes via tapped phone-calls and intercepted SMS-messages as they are made from a Belgian phone.
Other riders such as Ullrich's team-mate Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Botero were identified by hidden cameras as to have been in contact with Fuentes and other suspects in the scheme.
None of the riders has failed a doping test, but they could be banned by evidence from the Guardia Civil probe, with new UCI regulations allowing a four-year ban which would end the careers of most of them - a two-year ban for doping followed by a two-year start prohibition for ProTour events which all big races are.
McQuaid told cyclingnews.com that the UCI were not the first to tip off the Spanish authorities but played an active role and also drew in WADA before the case became public on May 23.
'We were involved in tipping off the authorities in Spain about the doctor and the lab.
'We gave details in March of this year; we got concrete information about the name of the doctor involved and some details of the laboratory. We passed those details onto WADA, because through the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA worked with governments. So we asked WADA to follow-up the Spanish government on that,' he said.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur