Jeannie Longo facing FFC disciplinary hearing today
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Jeannie Longo facing FFC disciplinary hearing today

by Shane Stokes at 7:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Frenchwoman fighting to restore her reputation

Jeannie LongoMultiple French and world champion Jeannie Longo will today appear in front of the disciplinary commission of the French cycling federation FFC, with the 53 year old set to be questioned about her violation of the whereabouts system.

Two months ago Longo was confirmed as having committed three faults under the system, which is designed to enable drug testers to carry out random controls in sport. L’Equipe reported at the time that she twice failed to provide her location, receiving warnings by registered mail from the French anti doping agency AFLD.

The third occasion took place in the US, where she was preparing for what would be her eleventh French national time trial championships victory. Doping control officers from USADA arrived at the hotel where she was staying and where she noted she would be available, only to find her absent.

As a result, she received a third warning and the current disciplinary action was commenced. If the complaint against her is upheld, she faces a ban of between three months and two years.

The whereabouts violations led to accusations against Longo and her husband and coach Patrice Ciprelli. Former US pro Joe Papp has stated that he was involved in the sale of EPO to the latter, and said that the Frenchman said that the product was intended for his wife’s usage.

This claim led to Ciprelli’s suspension and Longo’s decision to withdraw from the French team for the world championships. Ciprelli recently won a ruling from the Adminstrative Tribunal in Grenbole, which expressed “serious doubts” about the legality of the FFC decision to sideline him. The suspension was dismissed and the federation was also ordered to pay 500 euros to him to help cover the court costs.

Ciprelli’s lawyer, Pierre Albert, told AFP then that he saw it as part of an ongoing process. “We are very satisfied with this decision, which is the first step towards giving justice to M. Ciprelli and Madame Longo,” he stated.

However the AFLD and the FFC appear to be pressing ahead with the investigation into Longo’s whereabouts violations and, presumably, the EPO accusations.

Now more than double the age of some of her competitors, Longo has clocked up a huge number of success during her long career. She has won the French championship title for the past four years, and taken eleven TT championships in all. Her first national title came 32 years ago.

She has also won three editions of the women’s Tour de France, gold and silver medals in Olympic Road race, plus silver and bronze in Olympic time trial. Her palmares also includes nine road world championship titles (five in the road race, four in the TT), four track world championship titles (pursuit and points races), as well as three silvers and three bronze medals.

She also showed her versatility in taking the world hour record in 2000 plus the silver medal in 1993 UCI world mountain bike championship.

Some of her past competitors have welcomed the investigation, with one telling VeloNation that she considers the suggestions of doping to be plausible.

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