Turtur to sue SBS over doping cover-up claims

Mike Turtur, current Tour Down Under race director and former Oceania Cycling president, is seeking unspecified damages, interest and costs against SBS over claims that he covered up a positive drug test in the 2003 Tour Down Under.

Australian newspaper, the Advertiser.com.au, obtained court documents divulging that Turtur claims a story published on SBS's Cycling Central website, in addition to comments made by Cycling Central panellist Anthony Tan, during a broadcast, were defamatory.

Turtur is claiming that the online story ‘TDU officials cover up doping positive' published last October was defamatory because it implied that Turtur "practised, participated in or engaged in a cover-up of a positive drug test" returned by Italian cyclist Giampaolo Caruso after his stage victory in Wilunga. The title of the story in question was changed to a less inflammatory "TDU officials criticised as going easy on doping positive", but Turtur remains aggrieved.

Turtur has previously stated that he did not believe it was his duty to publicise Caruso's positive test for Nandralone.

Additionally, Turtur believes that comments posted on the online story were defamatory.

Court documents also revealed that SBS are standing by the publication of Mr Tan's and their online readers' comments stating that they were "not capable of being, and are not, defamatory".

When contacted by Cyclingnews SBS declined to comment as the matter is currently before the courts.

Mr Turtur is also currently unavailable for comment.

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