Thomas Frei gets two-year suspension for EPO use; avoided detection for years
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thomas Frei gets two-year suspension for EPO use; avoided detection for years

by VeloNation Press at 11:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Swiss rider came clean with doping admission and explained how easily he evaded positive controls

Thomas FreiThe Swiss Olympic committee announced this week that former BMC Racing rider Thomas Frei has been sanctioned for two years following his positive doping control and subsequent admission to the use of EPO.  Frei was racing at the Giro del Trentino when the news was announced, and was immediately pulled from the race by his team.

"It is true, I have taken EPO. Therefore it doesn't make sense to ask a counter-analysis.  I don't have any hope that there is the possibility of negative," Frei explained at a press conference just days later.

He was fired by the BMC Racing team upon his admission, and also confirmed that he had acted on his own accord.

The most interesting part about Frei's case is that the Swiss rider decided to openly share details about his doping past, a development that has become a positive trend amongst those that have been caught in recent years.

He said he began to take performance enhancing drugs two years ago while he was riding for the Astana team.  Frei shared details about how easily he was able to avoid testing positive while he was using prohibited substances.  He detailed that he was able to avoid detection by taking microdoses of EPO and using plain water to dilute what otherwise would have been a positive result for doping.

"If I would have drank one liter of water after the injection, I would now be preparing myself for the Giro," he admitted after he was caught.

However Frei reportedly refused to provide information about who supplied him with the banned substance, and thus did not get a reduction in his sentence.

The lack of sophistication needed to fly under the radar underscores the need for supplemental information, such as the details provided by the biological passport system, to continue to clean up the sport.  It also explains why riders might be controlled multiple times in a day as well as during off hours.


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