Bernard Sainz in court in 2017.

French prosecutors seek two-year prison sentence for EPO-era dope ‘doctor’ Bernard Sainz

Bernard Sainz and a blast from the past.

by Dane Cash

photography by Getty Images


As Ouest-France reports, prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison sentence and a fine of €30,000 for Bernard Sainz on charges of the illegal practice of medicine and pharmacy and of the incitement to dope.

Sainz’s involvement in the world of professional cycling – and horse racing as well – dates back decades now, with the Frenchman having notably worked with Frank Vandenbroucke and others through the 1990s and early 2000s. Over the course of his time in the sport, the Frenchman came to be known by the nickname of Dr. Mabuse, after the fictional German villain, although Sainz is not actually a licensed physician. He has described himself as a “naturopath.”

Sainz, 78, has already been convicted of offenses related to facilitating doping by cyclists and horses in the past, having received prison sentences (some of them suspended) and fines in multiple cases in the past 10 years. He was investigated for illegal practice of medicine in 1999 and in 2002 had his car searched in Belgium, turning up EPO, morphine, and clenbuterol. He told police he had been on his way to visit Vandenbroucke, who later claimed the drugs were for his dog.

The charges for which he now faces prison time came about after a French investigative television show caught Sainz on a hidden camera telling athletes how to dope.

Prosecutors in the current case have argued that Sainz is “dangerous for society,” noting that he has has told “vulnerable people,” including cancer patients, to “stop treatments” prescribed by physicians. Sainz’s defense team says that he has only given people nutritional advice.

A court decision in Sainz’s case is expected in January of 2022.

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