FACTBOX-Cycling-Major doping scandals


Thu, 30 Sep 14:57:00 2010

(Updates with other Tour races)

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and the Tour of Spain runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera were suspended for suspected doping on Thursday in a devastating new double blow to cycling's battered image.

Here are details on the major doping scandals to hit cycling since 1998:

* 1998 - TOUR DE FRANCE - Festina were kicked out of the Tour after medical team member Willy Voet was arrested at the French border after customs officers seized banned substances, including the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).

-- Their riders later admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs. Top rider Richard Virenque was banned for nine months, team director Bruno Roussel and Voet were fined and given suspended jail sentences.

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* 1999 - GIRO D'ITALIA - Tour and Giro champion Marco Pantani of Italy was expelled while leading the race after failing a blood haematocrit test.

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* 2001 - GIRO D'ITALIA - France's Pascal Herve was retired from the Giro by his Alexia team after failing a test for EPO. Mercatone Uno rider Riccardo Forconi did not start stage 17 after failing a dope test.

-- Police officers searched the rooms of riders from all 20 teams confiscating medicines. Organisers cancelled the 18th stage when riders call a meeting to discuss the raids.

-- Second-placed Dario Frigo was sacked by Fassa Bortolo after illegal drugs are found in his room. An insulin syringe found in a room where Pantani stayed led to a six-month ban for the Italian.

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2002 - GIRO D'ITALIA - Italian Nicola Chesini was arrested by police after the fifth stage as part of a probe into the sale of performance-enhancing drugs.

-- Race favourite and 2000 winner Stefano Garzelli tested positive for the banned diuretic and masking agent probenecid and was expelled from the race. He was given a nine-month ban.

-- Italian Roberto Sgambelluri and Russian Faat Zakirov became first professional cyclists to be caught using NESP -- an improved form of EPO -- and quit the Giro.

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2003 - GIRO D'ITALIA - Rumsas was suspended by his Lampre team in June after failing a drugs test during the race in which he finished sixth overall.

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2005 - TOUR OF SPAIN - Spanish rider Roberto Heras tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) on the penultimate stage of the race on his way to a record fourth overall victory. He was banned for two years.

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* 2006 - TOUR DE FRANCE - American Floyd Landis became the first Tour winner to fail a drugs test during the race after testing positive for excessive levels of the male sex hormone testosterone. Landis, who denied using performance-enhancing drugs, was stripped of the title and given a two-year ban which ended on Jan. 30, 2009. He admitted to doping last May.

-- Germany's 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich and Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso were among nine competitors withdrawn on the eve of the prologue after being implicated in a Spanish doping investigation, Operation Puerto.

-- Spain launched Operation Puerto in 2006 after raids at addresses in Madrid and Zaragoza uncovered anabolic steroids, blood transfusion equipment and more than 200 code-named blood bags, some of which were linked to leading cyclists.

-- Ullrich, who denied taking banned substances, was subsequently sacked by his T-Mobile team and retired from competition in Feb. 2007.

-- Basso admitted his involvement in the scandal to the Italian Olympic Committee in May 2007 and was banned for two years. Basso returned to competition in 2009 and recovered his flair, winning his second Giro d'Italia in May 2010.

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* 2007 - TOUR DE FRANCE - Pre-race favourite Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping after winning a time trial on July 21. A one-year ban was later increased to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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* 2008 - TOUR DE FRANCE - Italian Riccardo Ricco was kicked out of the race after failing a test for the new generation of EPO called CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator). Saunier Duval announced they were withdrawing their sponsorship of the team.

-- Austrian Bernhard Kohl, third overall and the race's top climber, as well as Italian Leonardo Piepoli and German Stefan Schumacher were also found guilty of using CERA following retroactive tests.

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2009 - GIRO D'ITALIA - The UCI requested on May 3, 2010 disciplinary proceedings against runner-up Franco Pellizotti of Italy after finding suspicious data in his biological passport. Pellizotti was withdrawn from Liquigas's team in the 2010 race because of the probe.

-- UCI has also asked for disciplinary procedures to be started against Spain's Jesus Rosendo Prado and Slovenian Tadej Valjavec, 10th overall in the 2008 Tour de France.

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* 2010 - TOUR DE FRANCE - Alberto Contador, winner of the 2010 tour has been provisionally suspended for returning a positive test for clenbuterol from a sample taken at the Tour de France, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Thursday.

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