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CAS rules UV light blood treatments in Germany were not doping

Cycling News
July 22, 2013, 14:23,
July 22, 2013, 16:51
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 23, 2013
It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling

It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling

  • It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling
  • Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) elated to take a win on the Champs-Elysees

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Kittel identified himself as having undergone treatments in 2007 and 2008

Marcel Kittel received more good news the day after winning the closing Tour de France stage on the Champs Elysees, as the Court of Arbitraiton for Sport ruled that the black light blood treatments he and other athletes underwent in 2007 and 2008 could not be considered doping.

The German National Anti Doping Agency had opened proceedings against an unnamed cyclist, charging that the treatments were blood doping. The German sports court ruled last fall that the method of removing blood, treating it with ultraviolet light and then re-infusing it, did not violate rules in effect at the time, as it has been specifically banned only since January, 2012. The NADA took that decision to the CAS.

Although the cyclist in question was not named publicly, it was widely considered to be Marcel Kittel, now with Argos-Shimano and the winner of four stages at the recently-ended Tour de France. German television identified him as the rider and he told Cyclingnews that he underwent the treatment “a few times” while training as an 18-year-old at the Erfurt, Germany, Olympic training center.

The CAS decision has not yet been publicly released, but the NADA said that the court ruled that the procedure could not be considered a forbidden method under the WADA rules in effect at the time.

According to the CAS, the WADA forbids blood manipulation only when it serves to increase oxygen transfer, an effect which is not proven in this case, and therefore does not meet the requirements for a forbidden method.

The CAS also ruled that the athlete involved did not act negligently or deliberately.

Motophoto11 More than 1 year ago
If it is not listed on the banned list it is legal, just like all the alledged high blood pressure meds people say Sky is taking, they are not on a banned listed....
tralala More than 1 year ago
but how moral is that from his part, considering that 2months ago he was twitting against sayar. i guess it's cheating only when others manipulate blood.
Setarkos More than 1 year ago
He was 18 yo and his doc told him it was legal and would prevent/cure infections - not even that is true but much less is the blood manipulated in a performance enhancing way. Kittel didn't do it with the intent to gain an advantage.
kdogg64 More than 1 year ago
Blood transfusions used to be legal as well, but we all know that they provided a huge improvement in performance during a three week stage race. That's why they went back to them after EPO was banned and detectable.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
I see that on January 14 2012 CN said, "This is said to help the oxygen in the blood. It was practised in East German sports in the 1980s." A close squeak for Kittel then, even if the decision is justified. Lucky he doesn't ride for Sky or we wouldn't hear the last of it!
deemfingtee More than 1 year ago
I'd laugh if it turned out that they took the blood out, treated it, left it in the fridge for a month, and re-infused it before a big stage.
Peter Schattmann More than 1 year ago
So let me get this straight.... Kittle 'manipulated' his blood in a way that wasn't banned. He obviously didn't do this for kicks so I have to assume it was to increase his performance or gain an edge on his competition. Subsequently this method was banned. So he's not guilty of breaking the rules at the time but I see him as guilty of crossing the line. No one gets blood treatment unless they are ill. This is an example of what everyone thinks Sky is doing. They seem to have some thing going on that is giving some of their athletes a real advantage. Froome said his yellow jersey will stand tte test of time. The fear many fans have is that he's doing something that has yet to be uncovered/banned so he's confident the authorities will never take it away.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
The whole point s that this is just the sort of thing that those who have confidence in Sky don't believe they are doing. I agree with your criticism of it. It was clearly intended to obtain an unfair advantage by a method other than hard work. Nobody, including David Walsh, has found any evidence that Sky adopt such methods. However, as I tried to indicate above, if he had been a Sky rider everyone could have latched onto this and I believe his position in such a team would be untenable.
Lord.Bachus More than 1 year ago
The point is that it was not Kittle himself doing this, but the people in the official German Olympic training facillity he was 18 years old at that point, not even a pro, do you really think he just walked inthere and said, hey can anyone shine an ultraviolet light at this bag of blood? No it where the so called trainers and educators of the new young German sporters that advised him.. And that my friends is the true problem..
Dodge2000 More than 1 year ago
Exactly. And this has been the issue for most of doping. Riders, although culpable to a degree, were often doing it to keep their jobs, or because the teams simply removed the choice from them. The sooner we address the infrastructure and organisation behind this sort of practice the sooner we can properly move on.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
I disagree. We are accountable for our actions. He knew the difference in right and wrong. The trainers, doctors, DS's, or anyone else who facilitates doping are accountable for their actions and should be punished. But blaming others for our actions is unacceptable.
Setarkos More than 1 year ago
Many young athletes are doped without their knowledge. They are lied to and they don't know what is done with them. For example they are given a pill and told it's against stomach pain (or whatever) even though it's some PED. In this case he was told it's to prevent infections not to enhance performance even if the guy doing it thought it would be beneficial. Furthermore he wasn't even a pro yet and in a system where you can't just say "no" to your coach and doc.
mikeyb More than 1 year ago
i must admit the lack of posts onthis thread is somehwat ironic!
gavintc More than 1 year ago
The lack of posts - because it cannot be directly linked to Sky. So Kittel is a man who will consider pushing the legal limits of doping - not good and I am afraid he is now damaged goods in my eyes.
ShrubberyBlue More than 1 year ago
If this was a Sky rider the Sky hate brigade would be out in force. It's ironically funny there are so few posts. They are probably pressing REFRESH 24/7 on the forum to keep trying to see when it's back up.
Chainstay99 More than 1 year ago
OK I'll add my opinion that if it were it a Sky rider the internet forums would have all gone balistic. A case in point is that nobody is talking about Quintana's Armstrong worthy power to weigh values on stage 20 and on Alpe d'uez but Froome's Ax-3 Domaine climb set off a huge storm
Rob Found More than 1 year ago
I don't understand this. The practice is currently banned because it is performance-enhancing manipulation of the blood. This is obviously why Kittel did it. WADA code is also open ended enough to consider it doping when "new" practices or chemicals all such blood manipulation even it they are not banned yet. This seems to apply directly in this case.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
Yes, you are correct. CAS--just three guys--is hardly flawless. This couldn't have been more clear when they invented their own excuse for Contador and gave him a back dated suspension so he only missed a few months of race hardness.
Setarkos More than 1 year ago
...stripping him off his TdF and Giro titles. How generous...
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
It was extremely generous. If Contador has been sanctioned for two years, in a timely manner after his positive (and remember, at the moment your first sample is positive, you are guilty. You may request B sample analysis or appeal, but you are guilty) it likely would have ended his career. Apparently, you're not even allowed to train with your team if you've been sanctioned. There is no substitute for race hardness, add to that training in isolation from your team for 2 years and best o' luck coming back to top of the heap again. I'm also assuming he was paid...handsomely, during this period. Additionally, CAS manufactured an excuse for him--that silliness about supplements--when we all know it most likely came from traces in a transfusion of his own blood. So yes, he came out smelling like a rose.
Setarkos More than 1 year ago
'This is obviously why Kittel did it.' How do you know? A performance enhancing effect is not even proven (nor assumed by most) and he probably did it because his doc told him he should.
Rob Found More than 1 year ago
The treatment has enough known performance benefits that WADA has since banned the practice. Kittel obviously didn't do it to make his performance worse, or even the same, so it had to have been for performance benefits. Sure, his doc told him to do it: his doctor, paid by the national federation, referred by the national training center. I understand the explanation was that he and 2 other teammates had come down with slight colds, and that's what the treatment is for. When I get a slight cold I get some extra sleep, keep hydrated, and back down on my training for a couple of days. When German cyclists get a slight cold they travel to a special clinic to undergo blood manipulation that just happens to also increase cycling performance.
Tideplay1 More than 1 year ago
Scandalous! Outrageous! Shocking! No just another day in the doping pays Armstrong playbook. OK folks dig in and lean forward. This must change along wit Pat leaving
sur la plaque More than 1 year ago
Yeah if this had been a story about Sky I think there would have been about 400 comments by now atleast... I find it amazing that this is a story that if anything should provoke a debate about whether Kittel doped/cheated or did not.. yet most comments are back to Sky and whether they are doing things like this!! Never going to win with some people..
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Well, hands up here. Guilty. I mentioned it first and I support them. I thought it fair to point out that nobody had set on Kittel over this but they would have if he had been here in droves if the headline had mentioned you-know-who instead. It seems to me that even 4/5 years ago Kittel was sailing close to the wind with this old East German practice. Not so long ago nobody in Europe could beat the East Germans and Soviet field and track athletes and I understand they knew all these ploys. Interesting to see the CAS decide that this was an "effect which is not proven in this case, and therefore does not meet the requirements for a forbidden method." Worse than a placebo given in place of a real treatment then? Or might it make him think he could go faster on the placebo principle? or might it work as intended? It's a good thing that now it is banned.
Majo S More than 1 year ago
all anti-doping stuff and ruling seem like a bad joke now... or still.
dimspace More than 1 year ago
Blood manipulation is banned. This is blood manipulation. The method is irrelevant
sime72 More than 1 year ago
Correct. The method is irrelevant. However the timeline is not irrelevant, and, at the time it wasn't banned. He did nothing against any rules. It's not complex. Why can't people see that?