German National Anti-Doping Agency appeals UV light treatment ruling to CAS
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

German National Anti-Doping Agency appeals UV light treatment ruling to CAS

by Shane Stokes at 7:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Kittel and Gretsch amongst riders previously cleared by earlier judgement

An earlier ruling that the UV treatment of blood by the German doctor Andreas Franke did not constitute doping has been challenged by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in Germany, which has appealed the issue to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The German Sports Arbitration court had previously declared on November 2nd that such treatments prior to January 1st, 2011 did not break anti-doping rules in place at that time.

This was in line with what WADA spokesman Terence O’Rorke told VeloNation on January 30th of this year, stating out that the procedure – which Franke was thought to have done to a number of competitors from different sports who were attending the Olympic support – fell under the category M2.3.

This notes that the ‘sequential withdrawal, manipulation and reinfusion of whole blood into the circulatory system is prohibited.’

However O’Rorke noted the timeframe when it came into play. “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,” he stated then.

The German Sports Arbitration court interpreted things as such in its November ruling, saying that treatments prior to that date did not appear to violate the anti-doping code.

The NADA now wants to test that reasoning before CAS. “The judgment of the German Sports Arbitration Court is indeed indicative, but that does not mean we agree,” said NADA Counsel Lars Mortsiefer said in a statement. “We now want to obtain legal certainty at the international level, especially in the event of the period before 2011.

Riders maintained innocence:

The UV practice – which is also referred to as Black Light treatment - consists of the extraction of a small amount of blood, exposing the liquid to ultraviolet light and then re-injecting it.

It became part of an investigation into treatments by Franke, who was the doctor at an Olympic camp used by athletes in the Erfurt region.

Several cyclists were amongst the athletes who used the camp during their development. Those included current Argos – Shimano riders Marcel Kittel, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb, who were all part of the amateur Thuringer Energie team at the time.

In a statement released last January by the 1T4i team, which has since been re-named Argos Shimano, the squad noted that Franke ‘worked for the Olympic point of support in Erfurt that is supported by the German government and is financed by public means.’ In other words, it said that he was an officially-recognised support official for top-level athletes.

The 1T4i statement said that Kittel had the treatement carried out in 2007 and 2008, while Gretsch had it done in 2010. It added that Degenkolb attended the doctor but never underwent the procedure.

The process was supposed to boost the immune system. In a long interview with VeloNation in February, Kittel explained the situation and the circumstances that he received the treatment.

“Since 2004 I lived in Erfurt. I went to the special school for sports and I also did my training there. We had an Olympic sports centre where all the athletes did their training. They went to a sauna, they had a gym there, they could get a massage, and things like that,” he said.

“Of course there was also a doctor….I think that is quite normal for high level sports. Every athlete went to the doctor if he was sick or injured or things like that. I did exactly the same. When I was sick, I went to him.

“In 2007, he recommended that treatment to me. I thought okay, he is the doctor, I trust him and why should I not believe it is good. Of course, when he explained it to me, I thought it might be a little bit strange, but he is the doctor. I asked him if it was doping or not, and he said to me, ‘no it is not.’”

Kittel said that Franke never took out any more than 50 ml of blood, and that the procedure was carried out when he had a cold or a flu.

“He said that treatment supports your immune system,” he continued. “I did it. After a few times, I felt strange [about it] and then in 2008, I said ‘I don’t want it any more. It is a strange treatment, and we should stop it.’ He said okay.”

Kittel and the other sportspeople were cleared by the German Sports Arbitration court ruling in November, but must now wait for confirmation from CAS.

The sprinter has been outspoken on the issue of doping, being critical in the wake of the Armstrong/USADA report.

The Argos Shimano team has been perceived as one with serious ethics. “As a cycling team, we attach great value to integrity and transparency,” it said in its statement last January. “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.”

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