Patrice Ciprelli, the husband and trainer of Jeannie Longo, is set to stand trial for the illicit purchase of EPO after a Grenoble court rejected his appeal to have the case nullified on Wednesday.
Ciprelli was charged after officials from OCLAESP (the French central office for public health and the prevention of environmental damage) searched Ciprelli and Longo’s Grenoble residence in February of this year. After initially denying the charges, Ciprelli has since reportedly confessed to purchasing EPO but contended that it was for his own personal use.
The inquiry into Ciprelli began in September 2011 after it emerged that Longo had missed three out-of-competition anti-doping tests within an 18-month period, although the French Cycling Federation later dismissed its charges on the basis that Longo was no longer on the list of athletes subject to testing by the French anti-doping agency, AFLD.
Speaking to RTL on Wednesday, Longo decried the ongoing case against her husband, who has already been suspended from coaching by the French ministry of sports.
“They should stop picking on him. These are decisions by judges which have perhaps been influenced by subjective dossiers,” Longo said. “The federation did everything to make sure that he wasn’t at my side to make me fail at the French championships and not get to the Olympics. They knew very well that I would be put out by his absence. They sent a lawyer twice to the French championships in Grenoble to make sure that he wasn’t with me at races.”