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Patrice Ciprelli and Jeannie Longo in Grenoble
Ciprelli contends it was for his own use
Patrice Ciprelli, the trainer and husband of legendary French cyclist Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, has reportedly confessed to purchasing the blood-boosting hormone Erythropoietin (EPO) in 2010 and 2011 on L'ÉquipeTV, but contended the drug "was for his own, personal use".
Ciprelli was taken into custody yesterday after officials from OCLAESP (the French central office for public health and the prevention of environmental damage) searched the couple's residence in Grenoble.
The Frenchman has been accused of purchasing the drug after police reportedly uncovered several transactions between Ciprelli and a foreign supplier. It was also alleged that money had been transferred from an account in Longo's name to cover the purchase.
According to AFP, Ciprelli had earlier denied the charges, stating that his account and internet address had been pirated.
The case further impacts the reputation of Longo, who has 13 world titles and 59 French championship victories to her name. She ran afoul of the anti-doping authorities late last year over whereabouts violations and a missed out-of-competition doping control. That case was dismissed.
Prior to the AFLD decision, it was reported that American Joe Papp had facilitated the sale of EPO to a relative of Ciprelli and the French Cycling Federation was investigating.