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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Cycling News Extra for July 12, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Eadie now hit with doping penalty - from 1999

By Gerard Knapp and Anthony Tan

Eadie may be the next rider exiled from Australian cycling team
Photo: © Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Australian track sprinter Sean Eadie's Olympic ambitions are in tatters this morning after he was served with an infraction notice for an alleged breach of anti-doping policy relating to an alleged event back in 1999.

According to Cycling Australia (CA), the breach relates to a package of 16 tablets containing Anterior Pituitary Peptides sent through the mail in January 1999, addressed to Eadie and intercepted by the Australian Customs Service.

Anterior Pituitary Peptides were and still are a prohibited substance under the Anti-Doping Policies of both CA and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), and the use or administration of APPs cannot be detected under the current testing regime. To date, Eadie has not tested positive to any banned substance.

The investigation by the Australian Customs Service began after the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and CA referred the case to them in March this year on the recommendation of the Stanwix Report into allegations against Mark French. "When more names were alleged, we then put them through the same trawl - that's where this has came up from," said a spokesperson for CA to Cyclingnews today. "But they [the Australian Customs Service] didn't have the [other] names until the court case, which was in June."

The infraction notice, which Eadie has 14 days to respond to, has placed the rider's Olympic nomination in serious doubt. However, the spokesperson from CA quoted an almost identical case relating to that of Australian hammer throw champion Stuart Rendell one year ago, which saw Rendell take his case to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) and have the charges against him dropped.

"You have to prove he ordered for it, paid for it, and intended to bring it into the country," explained the CA spokesperson. "If he's found guilty, he's definitely off the team."

Asked whether Eadie has stated his intention to lodge an appeal, the CA spokesperson said: "We only issued the notice today, personally delivered - he's probably still waiting to get the piece of paper in his hand."

Should Eadie be found guilty and have his position on the sprint team for Athens revoked, Ben Kersten is next in line to take Eadie's place. However, at this stage, the AOC has not endorsed any athlete on the Australian cycling team nominated by Cycling Australia on July 2.

French saga rumbles on

The family of suspended Australian cyclist Mark French has written to World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound, claiming that French was not given the chance to take legal advice before his initial interviews.

Nineteen-year-old French was banned from cycling for two years in June for possession of Testicomp and equine growth hormone after empty vials of the two products were found in his accommodation at the Australian Institute of Sport facility in Adelaide. His admission to trafficking in Testicomp resulted in the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) adding a lifetime ban from the Olympics.

In his testimony to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, French named five other riders as having used his room at the AIS to inject themselves. A subsequent investigation by retired judge Robert Anderson concluded that there was no evidence to support these allegations. However, the Olympic team status of one of the five, sprinter Jobie Dajka, is still in limbo until the AOC is satisfied he is not involved with the supply of the used ampoules of equine growth hormone - among other injecting paraphernalia - found in French's room at the Australian Insitutue of Sport last December.

In an email to Pound from French's aunt, Lisa French, the rider's family echoed Pound's recent call for the full transcripts of the investigation to be released. "The public crucifixion of our son, brother and nephew, Mark French, has been a crushing and salient lesson to us all that even in a robust democracy the truth can sometimes have little currency," said the email to Pound. "Your public statement calling for the public tabling of transcripts mirrors our own hopes."

Excepts from the transcripts and reports have been leaked to various media despite their being protected by privacy laws and containing evidence that was given in-camera.

French is appealing against his suspension and Olympic life ban, saying he did not receive legal advice before being interviewed during the original investigation after used vials and needles were found in his room.

"Even Saddam Hussein was granted leave to seek legal representation at his initial hearing," said Lisa French's email. "The gathering of the so-called forensic evidence and the flagrant disregard for the protocols and enforcement of forensic analysis borders on contempt and the drunkenness of absolute power.

". . . Please, as WADA President and International Olympic Committee member, demand that all the documents . . . be immediately released in full to you, and in turn to the Australian public, so that we can determine for ourselves whether justice has been done to Mark."

French's father David French has also called for the transcripts to be released, accusing the Australian Sports Commission of "determined persistence in keeping information from the public."

"We would welcome the full release of all documentation right from the very start," said David French.

Cyclingnews coverage of the French affair



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