Anti-Doping Denmark has finally published its report into doping in Danish cycling between 1998 and 2015, revealing that former team manager Bjarne Riis was complicit in a wide-spread doping operation at Team CSC, that included riders’ relationships with Dr Fuentes and his blood doping programme based in Spain.
The report says that Riis, Johnny Weltz, - now a directeur sportif at Cannondale-Garmin, former Riis Cycling Managing Director Alex Pedersen and a number of Danish former riders have all violated applicable anti-doping rules. However due to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s eight-year statute of limitation rule in force at the time, none will face disciplinary action.
The ADD report suggests that without a statute of limitations “there would be grounds to bring doping cases forward against a number of Danish riders who have admitted either their own doping violations or where the interviews have given the investigation group knowledge about their alleged offences.”
On Monday former rider Niki Sorensen admitted that he doped during his long career but did not reveal specific dates. Sorensen was given a role as directeur sportif at the Tinkoff-Saxo team by Riis in 2014. The team, now owned by Oleg Tinkov, after a bitter separation from Riis in March, offered its support to Sorensen and he remains in the team that has Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan as team leaders.
The ADD investigation began in 2012 after the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team revealed widespread doping. A total of 50 people were interviewed during the drawn out process, including retired riders and riders still in activity. Many gave vital evidence, some in return for anonymity. Only five former riders refused to be interviewed.
Bjarne Riis admitted to doping during his career in 2007 and symbolically offered to give back the Tour de France yellow jersey he won in 1996. Riis has always denied that he knew of and encouraged doping during his time as a team manager at Team CSC despite direct allegations from former riders Tyler Hamilton, Jörg Jaksche and Michael Rasmussen.
The ADD report reveals that Riis spoke at length and did admit to knowing that Hamilton was working with Dr. Fuentes for blood doping and that he did not act to stop it. Riis also confessed to blood doping during his own career – something he had never revealed previously, and so had personal knowledge about blood doping practices.
Thanks to interviews, ADD said it also established that Riis was aware of other riders on his team were using doping, that he had requested Danish rider Bo Hamburger to provide EPO to Jörg Jaksche and that there was a comprehensive use of cortisone without medical justification took place on Team CSC.
The 96-page report includes numerous details and revelations about doping in professional cycling between 1998 and 2015. It also makes a series of recommendations to help the fight against doping, that were already mentioned in the recent CIRC report commissioned by the UCI.