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IOC controls called into question

By:
Brecht Decaluwé
Published:
October 13, 2008, 0:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 21:54 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, October 13, 2008

Positive doping test results announced last week have drawn criticism from many quarters, including...

Positive doping test results announced last week have drawn criticism from many quarters, including the International Olympic Committee. After it was revealed Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli tested positive during this year's Tour de France, IOC vice president Thomas Bach was highly critical of the sport and questioned the place of men's road cycling in future Olympic Games.

German TV network ARD revealed in its Sportschau program on Sunday night that the IOC concealed inadequacies and shortcomings in its anti-doping procedures during the Beijing Olympics. Details were provided that of the 4770 tests planned for the Games, 300 still lack proper documentation and results.

With WADA conducting surveillance of IOC procedures, an independent commission of observers filed a 50-page report on September 19 which outlined a number of aspects of the Committee's performance in this area. It was revealed that one hundred samples tested for testoterone in a Beijing laboratory were assessed as negative but not reported as such, contravening international standards which stipulate otherwise. "In the area of laboratory reporting, there's room for improvement," concluded the 10-member panel that included WADA members and Chairwoman of the International Skiing Federation, Sarah Lewis.

Another area seen as lacking was the enforcement of 'Athlete Whereabouts' documentation from many national Olympic committees. The report explained that 102 of the 205 participating national organisations in Beijing had insufficient or no information pertaining to where their athletes were at certain times. This comes despite the IOC requesting this information.

This is a critical part of cycling's attempts to catch drug cheats, with the case of Michael Rasmussen at last year's Tour de France the highest profile example of how the sport is using athlete whereabouts to combat drug use. The Dane, who was leading the race at the time, was sent home by Rabobank team officials when it was revealed his whereabouts could not be confirmed at various points in the year when he was required for out-of-competition testing.

Another area where cycling is certainly leading the way in the fight against doping, blood testing, was also a point of contention in relation to IOC testing at the Beijing games. The IOC sought the co-operation of the 28 international summer sports federations to conduct blood screening at the Olympics, with only four federations - athletics, cycling, rowing and modern pentathlon - agreeing to subject its athletes to screening in an attempt to reduce the incidence of blood doping.

With recent news of tests for CERA - used to catch both Schumacher and Piepoli - the IOC has agreed to re-test frozen blood and urine samples taken in Beijing.

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