Bruyneel says he’s got feelings of Déjà Vu about Astana investigation
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bruyneel says he’s got feelings of Déjà Vu about Astana investigation

by Conal Andrews at 6:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping

Following on from yesterday’s disclosure that the Astana team riders from this year’s Tour de France are under investigation after intravenous drips were found, Tour manger Johan Bruyneel has played down the significance of the news.

“I have a strong feeling of Déjà Vu,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “Actually I have no response. In the past, it was no different. This is the umpteenth time that the French media throws these facts up. We cannot possibly defend against [the media reports] and we will not let it disturb our sleep.”

Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team was the subject of an investigation after the 2000 Tour de France, but no charges were ultimately brought against it.

Yesterday’s Le Monde newspaper stated that a preliminary report by the assistant public prosecutor of Paris, Dominique Perard, stated that drips belonging to the team had been seized by the French Office for the Environment and Public Health.

An AFP source close to the French judicial investigation yesterday stressed that the initial inquiry by a Paris magistrates' court was in process, and said to suggest the equipment might constitute illegal activity now would be premature.

Since the start of the 2006 season, the use of such drips has been banned in sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA, except in clear cases of medical emergency. One concern was that the infusion of saline was being used by athletes to beat blood controls, as it can be used to dilute hematocrit levels.

The practice is also banned under French law, making anyone found guilty open to both sporting and criminal sanctions.

The Le Monde report stated that seven DNA profiles were detected and thus it would be theoretically possible to determine which riders were involved. It also said that investigators are conducting further analyses of syringes found.


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