My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Fränk Schleck banned

Category: Cycling & Doping

Andy and Fränk Schleck in 2009 Tour de France.Fränk Schleck has been handed a one-year suspension by the The Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency. Schleck tested positive for Xipamide during the Tour de France in 2012. Because the ban has been retrospectively applied by the Disciplinary Board, the RadioShack rider will be free to ride after July 14, 2013. This means he will miss this year's Tour de France.

Fränk Schleck could have been given a maximum two-year penalty, but due to the extremely low amount of the banned substance, the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency handed him a one-year ban.

"Of course I am disappointed by the verdict that has just been announced. I think that the decision to suspend me during one year is too severe considering the fact that the Council acknowledged that I unintentionally consumed a contaminated product. Unfortunately the provisions of the UCI are such that an involuntary contamination is sufficient in order to pronounce a punishment," Schleck said in a statement.

“However I am relieved that the judges acknowledged that the present is not a case of doping and that I had no intention to enhance my performance. This is very important for me, my family, for my team and all those who support me”.

“We will now analyse the decision in detail and decide on potential further steps. However I bear a positive aspect of the decision in mind: the judges acknowledged that I am not a cheater.”

“I wish to thank all my friends and fans who kept their faith in me during this tough period.”

Michael Rasmussen confesses to doping

Category: Cycling & Doping

And so today a new Rabobank rider confessed to doping. Michael Rasmussen confessed to 12 years of doping. I sat staring stupidly at the computer screen when I saw the article that he admitted to doping. It was no shock that he used doping substances, but I couldn't completely understand that he had indeed used doping for twelve years. It's crazy! It's almost his entire career.

The former Rabobank and CSC rider admitted that he doped from 1998 until 2010.

"I used EPO, growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, insulin, IGF-1, and cortisone and did blood transfusions," Rasumssen said.

"I've informed the anti-doping authorities of what I specifically used, when and how. My agreement with them is confidential, which means I can't disclose further details at this time. That time may come later."

"When I stand up today, I will be a relieved man. I am glad that I no longer have to sit and lie to you today, as I have done for so many years. From today my cycling career is over. I want to cooperate with the Danish institutions. I know I cheated and I cheated other riders. I'll accept my punishment."

Rasmussen was one of the top favourites to win the 2007 Tour de France, but he was ejected from the race while wearing the mailot jaune, for lying about his whereabouts. Rasmussen said he used drugs during the 2007 race, in which he but passed all anti-doping test.

“The Doping Commission of the NOC of Denmark now opens a doping case against Rasmussen, and the case will be raised before the independent panel (the Doping Tribunal of the NOC) when all conditions are met. Within a few days, Michael Rasmussen will receive a temporary suspension,” a press release read.

Rodriguez plans for future without Katusha - will await the CAS verdict

Category: Cycling

Joaquim RodriguezJoaquim Rodriguez can leave Katusha if the team fails to obtain a WorldTour licence. He has already talked to some teams and seems ready to sign a contract.

“The team I am most close to signing with hasn’t been mentioned by anyone. But if I were to go for the financial aspect of it, I should stay with Katusha," he told Biciciclismo.

"Others offers won’t be comparable. The team needs me now they aren’t in the WorldTour. But I am at an age now that I want to ride good races. This new contract will be a long-term one and probably the last one I sign.”

But Rodriguez has promised to await the final CAS verdict. So he won't just run away now.

"If I stay it’s for my teammates and the staff. I'm not just thinking of myself, I'll find a place in the WorldTour but my teammates might not. It will be very tough for them if I leave. What happens if Mr. Makarov decides to end the team? I feel at home with Katusha. So I’ll wait at least until the CAS verdict before deciding my future.”