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A long-awaited doping report which will determine whether or not Bjarne Riis can continue his work in cycling finally appears close to being released, with the director of Anti Doping Denmark indicating that the outcome could be announced soon.
Lone Hansen told the Jyllands-Posten publication that the current inquiry by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission [CIRC] into doping in the sport is of interest in ADD’s work.
“We don’t have to wait until the CIRC is finished, but we have had great interest in continuing our investigation, as long as there are others working with things that may be of relevance to us,” she said.
“We have exchanged information [with CIRC – ed.] so we are well advanced,” Hansen added, saying that this had been a factor in the investigation’s delay.
Hansen previously told CyclingTips in September that she hoped the report would be concluded ‘in some months.’
ADD’s inquiry was set up in the wake of Michael Rasmussen’s doping confession in January 2013. The Dane, who raced as a stagiaire with Riis’-then CSC team in 2001 and had a full pro contract with it the following season, is understood to have spoken in considerable detail to ADD about drug use in cycling.
Rasmussen said in his autobiography that Riis had been fully aware of his doping.
Danish media sources have long suggested that Riis may have been implicated and could face sanctions once the ADD report is finalised. He is currently the general manager of the Tinkoff Saxo team, the squad he previously owned prior to its sale to Oleg Tinkov.
Riis guided Alberto Contador to victory in last year’s Vuelta a España and intends trying to help the Spaniard take both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 2015.
The CIRC inquiry was set up in order to look into the Lance Armstrong-US Postal Service/Discovery Channel case, as well as other past doping in the sport. It will also try to determine if the UCI was complicit in protecting Armstrong.
The exchange in information between ADD and CIRC will likely help advance both investigations.
The results from the latter inquiry are expected by the end of February 2015, meaning that ADD’s own conclusions could be made public around then or shortly afterwards.
In 2007 Riis admitted having used doping products to win the 1996 Tour de France. Five years later a rider Riis had on his team in 2002 and 2003, Tyler Hamilton, claimed that the Dane had introduced him to the Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
He also claimed that the Dane had accompanied him to a consultation with Fuentes in 2002.
Riis has both denied his team worked with Fuentes and also that he had met the Spanish doctor.
Hamilton’s account was detailed in his autobiography The Secret Race. Soon after its publication the chairman of the Danish Cycling Union, Tom Lund, said that the repercussions could be severe.
“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.”