WADA states German UV blood treatment was not banned until 2011
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Monday, January 30, 2012

WADA states German UV blood treatment was not banned until 2011

by Shane Stokes at 2:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
1T4i states that three of its riders received treatments from German doctor, but no doping suspected

Marcel KittelContacted after media reports linked Project1T4i sprinter Marcel Kittel to UV blood treatments at a clinic in Erfurt in Germany, the World Anti Doping Agency WADA has confirmed that the procedure has only been banned since last year.

“I can confirm that M2.3 was added to the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods in 2011 in response to a number of blood manipulation methods brought to WADA's attention,” WADA’s communications director Terence O’Rorke told VeloNation today.

The category M2 is defined as prohibited methods under WADA’s 2011 Prohibited List. M2.1 refers to tampering which seeks to alter the integrity and validity of samples. M2.2 bans all intravenous infusions other than those which are ‘legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions or clinical investigations.’

Category M2.3, the one O’Rorke referred to, states that the ‘sequential withdrawal, manipulation and reinfusion of whole blood into the circulatory system is prohibited.’

Kittel and other sportspeople are believed to have undergone so-called black light treatments, where a quantity of blood is extracted, bathed in UV light and then put back into the body.

O’Rorke said that WADA was still looking into the matter. “Please be advised that WADA has not yet received the specific technical aspects concerning the ‘UV black light treatment’ you refer to,” he said, responding to VeloNation’s questions on the matter. “However, similar approaches have been investigated by WADA in the recent past.

“If the treatment involves taking blood from athletes, manipulating it and then re-injecting it, then that process is prohibited under section M2.3.”

The timing of those treatments is, however, crucial to whether or not any rulues were broken.

1T4i gives details of riders’ treatments with previous squad:

In a statement released today, the 1T4i team confirmed that Kittel was one of the patients of the German doctor Andreas Franke, receiving UV blood treatments there in what it says was a treatment for illness. However it states that the treatments were carried out in 2007 and 2008 only, which, if verified, would be at a time when the procedure was not prohibited by WADA.

It said that it was standing behind the rider and two other team members which were also previously part of the Thuringer Energie amateur team based in Erfurt, near Franke’s clinic. 1T4i states that Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb, who moved across this winter from the HTC Highroad team, were also patients of Dr. Franke.

However it stresses that Franke was part of the approved setup for Olympic athlete support, and that it doesn’t believe any of the three has doped.

“As a cycling team, we attach great value to integrity and transparency,” 1T4i said in a statement today. “These principles are rooted in the core values of our cycling team to which the management, employees and cyclists have submitted and according to which they act.”

It said that because of that transparency, that it would volunteer further details about the matter in response to the broadcast of the ARD television programme Sportschau yesterday.

“In this broadcast, the name of cyclist Marcel Kittel was mentioned in an investigation into Dr. Andreas Franke, who worked for the Olympic point of support in Erfurt that is supported by the German government and is financed by public means,” it said. “This point of support is the official contact point for various sportsmen from various sport disciplines from this region.

“For Marcel Kittel, this doctor was also his official contact point in case of health problems. Furthermore, the management of Project 1t4i can report that two other cyclists of the team, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb have also had contact with this doctor in the past.

“The team has not heard from the German Public Prosecutor that investigates Dr. Franke, nor from the German anti-doping agency in Bonn, nor from the international world anti-doping agency WADA. The team was also not approached by the German television network ARD.”

Specific details given:

The statement provides specific information of when it says the riders were treated. It said that Kittel visited the doctor in both 2007 and 2008 when he was feeling ill, and that he was given with the UV light treatment. It adds that Gretsch received the same treatment in 2010, while Degenkolb attended the doctor but never underwent the procedure.

It said that none of the three had to pay for the treatment, a statement that may indicate that the German federation or some other such body picked up the tab. The team also adds that none of the riders have been treated by Franke since signing for the team.

Providing no other substances or methods are involved, what appears to be crucial is the timing of the medical procedures. If they did indeed happen more than twelve months ago, the riders may not have a case to answer.

“In January 2011, the world anti-doping agency WADA changed the anti-doping codex and all treatments with blood were prohibited,” the team said. “The facts concerning Marcel Kittel and Patrick Gretsch have all occurred before January 2011.”

1T4i described how the treatment was carried out. “He [Dr. Franke] took a very small amount (a few cc) of blood from the body via a syringe and put this under UV lighting immediately to fight the infection in the blood. This blood was subsequently reinserted into the body. The entire treatment did not take more than a few minutes. It did not involve an infusion or transfusion.

“Scientists doubt the effectiveness of this method. Nevertheless, the treatment is customary in Eastern Europe and is also performed on non-athletes who suffer from an infectious disease.”

It said that the team contacted the UCI and the German doping authorities, and that none of them are considered suspects in the investigation. It has pledged their cooperation to the national anti doping agencies, to WADA and to the judicial authorities in relation to the investigation into Franke.

The doctor is understood to have been suspended in connection with his medical treatment of other sportspeople.

WADA said that it would make no further comment at this point in time.


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