Cycling News and Opinion
June 28, 2014
June 28, 2014
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Roman Kreuziger out of Tour de France over alleged
biological passport problems
Tinkoff-Saxo rider Roman Kreuziger has been pulled from the team's Tour de France squad because the UCI's Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation has asserted that the Czech rider's biological passport shows irregularities during March - August 2011 and April - May 2012 while Kreuziger rode for Astana. Figuring that the UCI will act on its suspicions and possibly discipline Kreuziger, Tinkoff-Saxo has decided to keep the rider out of the pro peloton until the situation is cleared up, effective immediately.
The UCI notified Kreuziger of its suspicions a year and ago and the rider passed on the warning to his team. Kreuziger did more than that. He hired experts to examine his biological passport and says both his own team's doctors and his own hired experts believe there are explanations other than doping for the values in his passport.
Kreuziger adamantly denies doping and has posted a vigorous defence on his site.
Kreuziger is a top rider with some fine results:
- 2004 Junior World Road Race champion
- 2008 Tour of Switzerland
- 2009 Tour de Romandie
- 2011 Giro d'Italia Young Rider Classification
- 2013 Amstel Gold Race
Roman Kreuziger winning 2013 Amtel Gold Race. photo ©Sirotti
Here is Kreuziger's statement, reproduced in full from his web site:
"My biological passport does not have anomalies
"I wish to announce that on 28.06.2013 I received notification from the Union Cycliste Internationale that the data in my biological passport had been examined for the period between 27.11.2007 and 09.04.2013.
"According to Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAFD) experts there were abnormalities in well defined and precise periods of the years 2011 and 2012. After receiving this notification I immediately had the data in my biological passport checked by two accredited experts, who in September and October last year unanimously concluded that the values were due to causes that were not due to the use of doping substances or methods.
"As requested by the U.C.I., I immediately passed the experts’ conclusions on to them. The U.C.I. and CAFD checked these conclusions and in a notification of 30.05.2014, namely almost eight months after they had been sent and gave me a term only until 09.06.2014 to decide how to proceed. I requested and obtained a very short extension until 30.06.2014 to reply although I had requested a longer extension because of the necessities indicated to me by the new and third expert whose services I had meanwhile engaged to obtain a further third authoritative opinion.
"I was refused this extension although I pointed out that their experts (CAFD experts) had required over seven months to evaluate the comments of my experts‘ conclusions. Nevertheless, also this third expert confirmed that the data in my biological passport are absolutely normal and give no grounds for suspecting the use of doping substances or methods. In order to obtain a certain technical evaluation of the data in my biological passport, I should emphasize that the experts I appointed are trustworthy, independent and of three different nationalities and I requested an assessment from them that was absolutely and totally unbiased and as objective as possible.
"I also, duly, informed my team, Tinkoff-Saxo, of this procedure and informed them that I had not taken any forbidden substances or used any forbidden methods and that I was determined to challenge any differing construction of the facts, from which I intend to defend myself in the appropriate quarters, even by the more expedite legal proceeding, in order to establish in the fastest possible way the truth in this matter. I thus remain at the full disposal of my team and confirm that I shall abide by whatever decision they decide to take.
I also recieved a press release from Tinkoff-Saxo regarding the Kreuziger case. Here is the team statement in full:
"Statement regarding Roman Kreuziger
"Tinkoff-Saxo (TCS) has been notified by our rider Roman Kreuziger that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is likely due to instigate disciplinary proceedings against him arising from an alleged violation of its anti-doping rules due to abnormalities detected in his Biological Passport in 2011 and 2012.
"Roman Kreuziger issued a press release earlier in the day to explain the position.
"According to the UCI’s Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAFD) its Experts Panel has concluded that Roman Kreuziger's blood passport profile shows abnormalities established from March 2011 until August 2011 as well as from April 2012 until the end of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, periods prior to the rider signing with TCS.
"The rider received notice from the UCI that CAFD regarded his data as suspect by a letter dated 28 June 2013. The notice provided him with the opportunity of explaining the alleged irregularities in his passport to CAFD and UCI.
"He offered the explanation, based on two medical expert opinions independently of each other, that the fluctuations in his blood passport profile were not abnormalities and did not indicate anti-doping violations, which was submitted to the UCI by 3 October 2013.
"The rider had no further contact with the UCI until receiving a letter of 30 May 2014. He was advised that the CAFD’s Experts Panel did not accept his explanation.
"Since Roman Kreuziger received the UCI’s letter of 30 May he has sought the services of a third independent expert. This scientist has now provided a preliminary report in which he concludes that the fluctuations in his Biological Passport profile are not irregularities which can only be explained with the use of doping methods or substances (as alleged) and that the conclusions of CAFD’s Experts Panel have limited scientific supporting evidence.
"When Roman Kreuziger received the first notice by the end of June 2013, he promptly informed the team about the letter. He was adamant that he never used doping methods or substances. Through our own medical staff and independent verification the team was satisfied that Roman's blood profile had valid medical and scientific explanations other than the use of doping methods or substances. This was subsequently confirmed by the expert opinions Roman shared with the team.
"Roman Kreuziger continues to deny any wrongdoing and has informed the team that he intends to defend himself against the charges.
"The team has decided, in agreement with Roman, that he will not ride in any races including this year’s Tour de France until more information becomes available to the team.
"Though he won't be racing for now, until more information becomes available to the team it will not provisionally suspend Roman unless required by the UCI or the Czech Federation.
"At this stage, the team has no further details to add until the initial process is concluded."