Jeannie Longo was cleared today of any doping violations regarding three missed out-of-competition anti-doping tests. The disciplinary committee of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) ruled that the 53-year-old Longo, the 1996 Olympic road race gold medalist and 13-time world champion, was no longer on the list of athletes subject to testing by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD), therefore she was not responsible for missing any out-of-competition tests.
An athlete is subject to a two-year ban after missing three anti-doping tests in an 18-month period. Longo had three violations within the time parameter having missed tests on May 5, 2010, October 25, 2010 and June 20, 2011. However, the FCC disciplinary committee noted that Longo had not been notified by the AFLD that beyond April 2010 she was still part of the organisation's testing group.
At odds are the rules of the cycling federations and anti-doping agencies versus the laws of France. Under sporting regulations, Longo would have an open-ended inclusion for out-of-competition testing once an athlete has registered for the testing pool. Unless otherwise notified that an athlete has opted out of testing, then their eligibility would remain indefinitely.
French law, however, as of April, 2010, states that sporting federations in France need to notify an athlete every year that they're included in an out of competition anti-doping testing pool. Longo's lawyers argued that since she wasn't notified last year that she was still in the targeted group then the three missed tests are a moot point, a perspective accepted by the FFC disciplinary committee today.
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