Bjarne Riis could be first target of USADA style investigation
Anti-Doping Denmark is looking into establishing an investigatory unit, which could conduct investigations similar to the work done by USADA against Lance Armstrong.
The unit's first task could be to investigate Bjarne Riis, owner of Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, who has been named by several riders during doping investigations.
“What we are discussing right now is whether it is appropriate to create a device that can investigate such cases. We are trying to manage how much it costs to operate such a device, among other things,” ADD director Lone Hansen told Sporten.dk.
“We want to create an investigation unit, if it is possible to make it so that it will also be useful in practice. We see both a model of using a minimum of resources and a model of the ideal scenario.”
The Danish government has indicated that it would help with financial resources.
"Anything that can be done to fight fraud and abuse must be done. This is the basic idea behind ADD, and it has made us a pioneer in the fight against doping. There is now a feeling in parliament, asking that it must change. Anything that can help to combat doping, ADD must have it,” said Social Democrat politician Flemming Møller Mortensen.
ADD may have to look to more than lab testing of doping samples.
“It may be necessary for us to use forms of indirect intelligence to catch doping cheats. With the way the athletes are doping today, where drugs are such a short time in the body, and new methods are developed all the time, it may be impossible to catch alone with testing and research,” Hansen said.
The Danes will look at how other countries handle such matters. They will visit their British counterparts and look at their anti-doping “intelligence” team, and participate in an upcoming seminar in Switzerland with similar units from Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland.
The unit's first investigation may well focus on Riis. He has confessed to doping during his own career, but denied any doping of the riders at the teams he has run since then. However, his name has been mentioned by several riders, who have accused him of providing or discussed doping.
It is rumoured that USADA has material on Riis which it has already sent or could send to ADD. “I'd rather not comment on the material before we have decided whether it is enough to open a case or not,” Hansen said.
“We have not made a decision yet, and if we decide to raise the issue, it should also be first communicated to the persons to be called as witnesses.”