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by Shane Stokes
September 16, 2014
Anti Doping Denmark’s investigation into the sport of cycling continues onwards, with ADD confirming to CyclingTips that no decision or conclusion has been reached yet in relation to the enquiry.
The investigation arose out of the doping cases of several riders and is thought to centre around Bjarne Riis, the current general manager of the Tinkoff Saxo team.
ADD CEO Lone Hansen told CyclingTips Monday that the agency was not in a position to comment at this point in time. However she indicated that the process was ongoing. “We hope to finish a report within some months, but we cannot be more specific right now.”
The Dane, who admitted in 2007 that he had used doping products to win the 1996 Tour de France, reportedly knew of doping on his team in the past. In fact, according to past riders, he also facilitated the used of banned products.
According to a claim made in 2012 by the 2002/2003 CSC rider Tyler Hamilton, Riis introduced the American to the Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. Riis denied this and said that he also never met Fuentes, who was central to the Operacion Puerto case. Not so, said Hamilton, who said that Riis accompanied him to a consultation with Fuentes in 2002.
In September 2012 Hamilton wrote about doping on the team in his autobiography The Secret Race. This led to a reaction from the chairman of the Danish Cycling Union, Tom Lund.
“I can only say that if there is any proof of a link between Bjarne Riis and Fuentes, then Bjarne Riis has a very, very big amount of explaining to do,” he told Sporten.dk then. “I can not say anything about the consequences right now, because I have not read the book, and this is a case of allegations.”
However he said that if it was shown that the Dane was complicit in his riders’ doping, that he would take action. “In DCU we would like to comment on things, but we do it only on the basis of facts,” he said. “This situation is so extraordinary, that I will say this: Bjarne Riis has a very big problem if it can be proved that there is a direct link between him and Fuentes.”
Further claims against Riis were made by another former team rider, Michael Rasmussen. He said in his own biography in 2013 that Riis knew about his doping. Rasmussen was questioned at length by ADD in its investigation.
The anti-doping body told the publication BT last November that the sale of Riis’ team to Oleg Tinkov plus the expected transferral of the team registration from Denmark to Russia would not change anything in terms of possible sanctions.
“It is irrelevant if he continues to operate in another country,” it said then, referring to Riis. “For a sports director, the penalty applies to all work, no matter where the licence belongs.
“It’s the same as applies for athletes. During a sanction period, a cyclist may not switch to a team with the licence of another country and keep racing for it.”
Last December Tinkov announced that he had bought the team. He said then that he said that he wouldn’t comment on speculation about the ADD investigation but, if and when it came to a point where that has to be dealt with, he will do so.
Riis is still heavily involved in the sport, and helped guide Alberto Contador to final overall victory in the 2014 Vuelta a España on Sunday. He has insisted that his team is clean.