By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2001
CSC-Tiscali’s Bo Hamburger has been barred from representing his country in athletic competition for life by the Danish Cycling Union because of allegations of drug use, DCU president Peder Pedersen confirmed Thursday.
Pedersen said that 31-year-old Hamburger had been struck off the DCU register despite being cleared of doping by an arbitrary tribunal of the Danish Sports Federation (DIF) here last month. Hamburger, the 1997 world road race championship silver medallist, was declared positive with the French-pioneered urine test for EPO in Belgium on April 19 and was suspended by his team.
However he was cleared by the DIF following an admission from the head of the IOC-accredited laboratory in Switzerland that the test for EPO was still “not 100 per cent trustworthy.” Pedersen nevertheless said that the DCU remained convinced that Hamburger took EPO against their strict anti-doping code which the cyclist himself had signed.
“The Federation’s anti-doping committee acquitted Bo Hamburger for judicial reasons, but did not clear him of EPO abuse,” said Pedersen.
“I’m deeply disappointed and almost embarrassed to be Danish,” Hamburger told Danish television on hearing the decision.
“This amounts to acquitting a man and then putting him in prison.”
The DCU’s right to go against the DIT decision has also been questioned by legal experts.
“This decision is both illegal and indecent. The DCU has given itself an authority that it does not have according to the rules of the Danish Sports Federation,” Jens Ewald of the Legal Institute of the University of Aarhus told the daily paper Extra Bladet.
“The DCU should follow the judgment of the Federation’s anti-doping committee, which exonerated Hamburger,” he added. Following the DIF ruling clearing Hamburger on August 9, cycling’s international governing body the UCI announced that there would be a month’s delay before deciding whether to close the case or appeal before the International Court for Arbitration in Sport in Geneva, Switzerland.
Procedural errors could put the validity of the EPO test into question and could also result in the affair being buried despite the positive test, a UCI source told the French wire service AFP.