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Bernard Sainz jailed 12 months for doping

Former cycling soigneur Bernard Sainz, widely known as "Dr Mabuse", has been jailed for a year for doping riders after losing an appeal in France.

The late Frank Vandenbroucke and former Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont were amongst his many clients and agreed to pay Sainz huge cash bonuses if they won major races. Sainz is said to have worked in cycling as far back as the early seventies.

Sainz was put on trial after police stopped him in February, 2002 for speeding in Belgium and found suspicious medicines in his car. He claimed he had been to see Vandenbroucke. When police searched Vandenbroucke’s house they found EPO and other drugs. Vandenbroucke famously claimed they were for his dog.

Both Vandenbroucke and Gaumont gave evidence during the original trial, describing Sainz as a ‘diabolic guru’ and a ‘formidable doper’.

Sainz, who gained the moniker Dr Mabuse while working with race horses in the eighties, was found guilty of inciting doping and illegally acting as a doctor in April 2008. During the appeal, the French public prosecutor asked that Sainz receive a three-year sentence with a minimum of 18 months in jail.

The judge showed some leniency but Sainz immediately said he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.