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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Flash, May 13, 2009

Edited by Laura Weislo

Klöden named in Freiburg report

By Susan Westemeyer

Andreas Klöden last raced, and won, at the Giro del Trentino.
Photo ©: Riccardo Scanferla
(Click for larger image)

Andreas Klöden travelled to the Freiburg University Clinic for an illegal blood transfusion after the first stage of the Tour de France 2006, an independent commission has ruled. In a report issued Wednesday afternoon, the commission which investigated doping practices carried out by doctors at the clinic said that three riders – Klöden, Matthias Kessler, and Patrik Sinkewitz – received transfusions of their own blood on Sunday, July 2, 2006.

Klöden, currently riding for Team Astana, has consistently denied the charges. Team Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews that he had no comment on the report at this time.

The independent commission examined charges that doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid ran an organized doping program from 1995-2006 for the team known as T-Mobile or Team Telekom.

Both Sinkewitz and his girlfriend, who admitted to transporting the riders, testified that the other two German riders accompanied them to the clinic. The woman's name was not published in the report. The three cyclists arrived at the clinic at about 6 PM, where they were met by team doctor Schmid. He led them to a darkened room, where "all three riders had their own blood transfused back into them." The whole process took about 45 minutes after which they then returned to France.

The commission rejected allegations that more, if not all, of the team's Tour de France squad, had gone to the clinic that evening. The rumours of another group visiting the clinic "could not be confirmed." In addition, according to the report, at least one persuasive witness said that it was noted that the three riders were not present at dinner. "If other riders on the team would have received transfusions with their own blood, then it would have to have been on another day."

Stay tuned for a full report on the commission's findings.

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