French federation rules out sanction for Jeannie Longo despite three missed drug tests
PARIS (AFP) — French cyclist Jeannie Longo, a 59-time national and former Olympic champion, will not face any disciplinary proceedings after missing three random drug tests, an offense normally synonymous with a doping ban.
The French cycling federation (FFC) ruled on Tuesday that the 53-year-old was no longer on the list of top-ranked cyclists who have to make their whereabouts constantly available, saying her three missed tests over an 18-month period had not violated anti-doping rules.
Longo is now clear to continue with plans to cap her stunning career with a possible final Olympic appearance in London next year.
Last month, Longo’s husband and coach, Patrice Ciprelli, saw a French court annul his FFC ban for suspected doping offenses.
The FFC had suspended Ciprelli from all coaching activities after he was accused of procuring the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) over the internet in 2007. The charges had been leveled by former U.S. pro racer Joe Papp in a report by the French sports daily L’Equipe, which featured examples of emails and faxes said to have been sent between Papp, Ciprelli and a Chinese supplier of the drugs.
Lawyers appealed to the Administrative Tribunal in Grenoble, which decided to suspend the decision because of “serious doubts” on the legality of the FFC decision and ordered the federation to award 500 euros to Ciprelli to help pay court costs.