Dope-O-Rama Ding Dong
Bernhard Kohl is shocked! Shocked, I tell you. The Austrian ADA threw down a two year sanction on the climber, who placed third in the general classification and won the mountains jersey in this year’s Tour de France. The sit-down between Kohl and the authorities lasted two hours and forty minutes. After, he told the press that he’d answered all the questions put to him, and provided information on his use of CERA. He was optimistic that his testimony would prove sufficient to grant him a shortened sanction.
The Austrian ADA disagreed. The five member committee needed just 30 minutes to reach their decision. Said an Austrian ADA official, “He named us no names, or who his supplier was, therefore the penalty was clear.” Kohl was disappointed by the outcome and said he found it unfortunate that he receives the same penalty as those who did not provide any information. My heart bleeds. Truly. Kohl trained as a chimney sweep before turning to cycling, so at least he can pay the rent during his two year vacation. It’s always good to have a back-up plan.
Meanwhile, in France, Riccardo Riccò appeared in court in Foix for questioning relating to his positive tests for CERA during this year’s Tour de France. The judge has until the end of the year to decide whether to open a case against the Italian. Riccò faces possible charges for possession, trafficking, and use of prohibited substances. Everything and the kitchen sink, there. The French authorities are also investigating the possibility that he gave false testimony when police arrested him last July. If charged and convicted, Riccò could receive penalties including up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. Sound like an empty threat?
Just ask Dario Frigo. Dario… who? Back in 2005, French police stopped and searched the car of Frigo’s wife Susanna, uncovering a stash of doping products destined for the Fassa Bortolo rider. The case slowly churned through the justice system in Albertville where the charges were laid. Heh, heh, she said laid. This summer, the court rendered judgement in the case finding Frigo and his wife guilty of possession and use of banned substances. The couple received a suspended one year prison sentence and a fine of €8,000. In an interview at the time of the verdict, Frigo said that the team management “did not leave him any choice.” “The whole world used EPO. Some of the others cheated and won more than me. Today, I regret that I did what the system imposed on me,” he said.
Back to Riccò. At the same time that Riccò faces a possible criminal case in France, he is already receiving job offers. Riccò recently appealed his two year sanction before CAS, raising the hopes of would-be employers. Though CONI had recommended a sanction of 18 months, the authorities tacked on six months for Riccò’s cavorting with Dr. Santuccione, much to the young climber’s disappointment. He is hoping to convince CAS to shorten his ban, so that he might return to racing in time for the Giro or the Tour in 2010, which his current sanction ensures that he will miss. Among those interested in working with Riccò upon his return is Davide Boifava, the former mentor to Marco Pantani at Carrera. Surely, an excellent way to re-furbish a tarnished reputation, eh?
Back in the U.S., the Floyd Landis case is clearly the doping case that won’t die. If an asteroid hit the planet tomorrow, the Landis case and the cockroaches would be the sole survivors. Landis will take his case to U.S. Federal Court (So innocent-looking in that jail-stripe tee) in an effort to overturn the decision of USADA and CAS. The Landis team filed suit in a Federal Court in September claiming the the arbiters at CAS have a conflict of interest in the case. He is also seeking immediate relief from the $100,000 fine levied by CAS for legal costs. Landis will ride for OUCH, the comedic gift that keeps on giving, next season, assuming he succeeds in paying the fine or winning relief from the Courts. That sound you hear? That’s Landis’s legal team laughing their collective asses off as they bill hour after hour after lucrative hour.
Eh, enough of such depressing things. Next up, something more funner, promise.