Schleck: UCI vs UCI Rulebook

Earlier today, the UCI advised the Luxembourger rider Frank Schleck of an Adverse Analytical Finding (presence of the diuretic Xipamide based on the report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry) in the urine sample collected from him at an in competition test at the Tour de France on 14 July 2012.

Mr. Schleck has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

The UCI Anti-Doping Rules do not provide for a provisional suspension given the nature of the substance, which is a specified substance.

However, the UCI is confident that his team will take the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity and to ensure that their rider has the opportunity to properly prepare his defense in particular within the legal timeline, which allows four days for him to have his B sample analyzed.

That’s the UCI press release from this evening. Schleck is being withdraw from the race by his team. Only the UCI’s own press release calls for its own rules and due process to be suspended.

The rules vary depending on the class of banned substance discovered but let’s cut to the chase: tonight Franck Schleck has the right to stay in the race because if his A-sample is positive, his B-sample has yet to be tested. The UCI is using exactly the same wording as it deployed last year when Russia’s Sacha Kolobnev tested positive.

The call that Radioshack-Nissan takes “the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity” (identical wording was used with the Kolobnev case last year) is an open call for him leave the race. It is astonishing to see the governing body calling for its own rules and due process to be suspended.

Now I can understand the pressure and given the news his team would probably have withdrawn him to avoid scandal. But sure the governing body does not need to get involved here, instead it should be upholding its rules. Instead though it seems to be applying them selectively, announcing A-test doping controls and then hinting the rider must stop racing. It’s also curious that news of the A-sample positive has emerged before the B-test has been done.

83 thoughts on “Schleck: UCI vs UCI Rulebook”

  1. >It’s also curious that news of the A-sample positive has emerged before the B-test has been done.

    Wouldn’t the athlete have to request that the B sample be tested first? Meaning that happens after they are notified of the results of the A sample. I also think under the WADA code the athlete can be present for the B sample tests.

    • Yep, the athlete is to be informed of the A-sample result, and the procedure by which they can request the B-sample be tested or waive that right, and a deadline for a response, according to my reading of the WADA Code. The code seems to allow for the doping agencies to automatically test the B-samples if they wish in their rules. Don’t know if any do.

  2. >It’s also curious that news of the A-sample positive has emerged before the B-test has been done.

    Wouldn’t the athlete have to request that the B sample be tested first? Meaning the B test happens after they are notified of the results of the A sample. I also think under the WADA code the athlete can be present for the B sample tests.

  3. I agree. Seems rather odd to announce this before thorough testing has been done.

    Also, glancing through twitter, whether desired or not by the UCI, Frank has been labeled a cheat/doper/etc by just about everyone. Even if the substance is found in his B sample, that only proves that he ‘might’ have been doping.

    • He wasn’t exactly cleared. His ban was overturned by CAS. However the fine by the Russian federation was upheld.

      Kolobnev definitely did have hydrochlorothiazide in his system. Given his story that it was prescribed for him by a medical doctor for a long-standing condition, he *ought* to have gotten a TUE for it. I don’t mean to impune Kolobnev, but his story not much different to the well-known Armstrong corticosteriod / saddle-sore cream / back-dated TUE one. He was at a minimum pretty dumb for not seeing whether his cream needed one.

      (All these ProTour teams employ or at least retain medically qualified doctors. It’s amazing these riders can’t manage to run the creams they use past them to see if a TUE is needed…)

  4. Maybe it is just my sense of political savvy, but wouldn’t it make more sense for all agencies involved to keep their mouths shut and quietly inform the rider and team first? If the B sample shows a positive, then announce this to the news. I believe the B sample has be tested regardless of whether the rider opts to be there or not, it is just stated in guidelines that the rider has the option of being there with his own expert. If this proves to be a fluke or explained by something else, all that has occurred is that cycling’s reputation gets dragged through the mud again. It is odd that the sport seems to be going out of its way to sully its own reputation.

    As a side note if Frank was doping, I want to know what it was because I will cross that off my list of stuff to try should I want to dominate my group rides.

  5. 5 weeks passed between Contador being informed of his A sample being positive (24 August) and the UCI’s first announcement of the adverse result, which followed the B sample test confirming the A sample test (30 September).

    Seems like quite a different protocol is being followed in the case of Frank Schleck.

    Is it possible that the Schleck A sample test is a more clear cut positive than the Contador A test was? Does this give the UCI the right to make the announcement straight away like this? Any other precedents for this?

  6. There is no due process in any of the doping procedures. Positive test leaked, judgment entered, all without any ability on the part of the rider to fight allegations. Contador case is good example. Armstrong case is better example – folks bringing allegations sit on panel handing down sanctions. It is a shame the folks fighting doing are so disreputable, because they damage their own cause of cleaning up the sport.

  7. The thought of watching Frank win a stage tomorrow or Thursday while having the “positive test” cloud over him is so bad, that UCI feels like they need to say something about it to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  8. A-sample positive yes, B-sample not tested yet, UCI bending the rules and RSN immediately turning its back to star rider by claiming no use of Xipamide in team. Good news though; things will calm down in six month time, so for Frank and Andy the remaining of 2012 might be the perfect time for going fishing and to take some time out reflecting on what life is all about.

  9. This has got to be the most stupid thing that can come out of this years tour… he’s having a shit year anyway, why take anything, nobody would of cared if he lost even more time or even if he quit and went home, his future is in andy’s hands and now everyone will think if frank does it, andy must.

    stupid stupid man.

    • couldn’t agree with you more! Dumb!

      But what is the point of the B sample if not to assure the A is correct? surely he is allowed the benefit of the doubt until it is tested? he could have withdrawn without too much fuss while waiting to confirm that its positive, i thought the UCI was there to protect and promote the image of cycling?

  10. Ignoring everything else, what an amazing downfall for Team Frandy, huh?

    I blame it on the scarves they wore at their opening team introduction oh-so long ago.

  11. On a more serious note…a diuretic causes the increase in urine output….now, given that a rider needs to stay hydrated, this would seem contrary to what one would normally want in their system…

    So if alone it makes no sense to have this (as they are already losing plenty of water just through riding the Tour), one has to wonder why this would be in his system. My initial speculation is that, this is used to allow riders to rid themselves of excess water, and flush their system more expeditiously than is normal, which allows them to mask other, more damning substances in their system.

    Wonderful Tour we have here, heh?

    • The diuretic by itself isn’t a banned substance, but an indicator that he may be using it flush a banned substance out of his system. Basically if he is using xipimide, he has to have a medical excuse. What I don’t get is if you need a diuretic, why don’t you just drink 8 cups of coffee and how ever much water you want to pee out… there are a lot of natural diuretics that will make you piss like a race horse. It would be funny to find out he has high blood cholesterol or something and that is his medical excuse.

    • That’s exactly what the point of these diuretics are. And I don’t really buy Kolobnev’s excuse either, because athletes with high blood pressure are usually given other classes of medications for precisely that reason. Diuretics are a terrible choice in this population, if your sole purpose is to treat a real medical condition.
      – A medical doctor

      • a medical excuse? OK, so its highly unlikely they have high blood pressure and if they did they would likely use an ACE inhibitor. if they are using diuretics for a ‘medical reason’ then they are likely to have perhaps right ventricular dysfunction and are using them because they have general oedema. err, i cant see that myself given the extraordinary exertional feat they do every day.

        clearing the system seems the only valid conclusion and i agree with MattK – why the hell not down 3 doppios – you’ll lose about 1L in 30mins??

  12. The sport’s history seems to have given rise to a situation where guilt is assumed pretty rapidly and easily.

    I can totally see why this happens, but it doesn’t make it right.

    • He’s tested positive. It’s pretty rare for B-samples to not test the same as the A-samples. The WADA Code makes it clear that riders have strict liability for what is in their bodies. Presuming the B-sample matches the A (very likely), what will follow can only mitigate Fränk’s punishment – not clear him of the offence.

  13. Conspiracy theory time here, maybe this isn’t about ‘cheating’ at all, rather playing the system.

    Were a rider to take a substance which, although suspicious enough to produce an adverse analytical finding, is not on the WADA list / something which there could be a TUE certificate for, and receive a small fine (like Kolobnev last year – rather than a lengthy ban), this may allow the rider to…

    1) Get out of a race where he’s not having a great time, and
    2) Be sacked by a team he no longer wants to be part of leaving him free to consider other offers (let’s be honest, although Leopard was set up as a vehicle for the Schlecks, it’s turned into a right mess)

    Schleck’s future racing career likely matters much more to him than just making it to Paris in this Tour.

    OK, this is far-fetched, as even if my theory above was true, why do it in the tour? Just pull the same stunt in a less important race, but cycling can be a pretty whacky sport at times, it’s one of the things that keeps it interesting… Just trying to look at the whole thing from a different angle.

    • Better conspiracy.

      Mess with johan and you start to have unexpected problems.
      Deflects attention from his issues, alleviates the unpaid wages dispute and satisfies his banged up ego.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank’s unpaid wages go towards johan’s defense/retirement.

      I gotta say the TDF racing has been Boooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiinnnnggggg but the twitter-verse and cloud of drama around the race has been very entertaining.

    • My thought is slightly different. Perhaps the reason these don’t get a TUE certificate for their legal drugs is so when they get caught they can work things out and blame the legal drug, not whatever they were masking by taking it.

  14. I think that given we a few days away from the start of the Olympics, as well we have two x-tour winners either suspended or pending legal process. The powers in the UCI want very much to stay out in front of any possible bad press associated with not keeping pro cycling as clean as possible.

    What a shame, Now we all will have to put up with the emails and innuendo at social events about continued drug use in pro cycling.

    Thanks Cat 4 Fodder, at least you put a quick smirk on face with the scarves thing.

    If this does not blow up Nissan Trek I will be very surprised.

  15. Are there any previous examples of this diuretic being used in a non-therapeutic way? What would be the reason for it, if so? Fast flushing, as suggested above?

    • Yes, Pedro Delgado in the very same race in 1998. His doctor was a man called Eufemio Fuentes who was (and is) pretty hot when it comes to steroids. Now, I don’t suppose there happens to be any proven link between a nice boy like Frank and a Spanish doctor by the name of Fuentes? Beats me….

  16. This has put me in a bad position. I like the Schlecks. Admittedly, their crybaby routine has been a lot harder to take this year when they are performing so poorly. But, whininess and reluctance to descend aside, Frank seems like a decent enough dude. At the same time, I refuse to believe any pro athlete, especially cyclist, who uses the “I didn’t know what I was taking” excuse. Its so weird how some riders you couldn’t care less if they doped but others break your heart by doping. I don’t really see any way out of this for Frank.

    Not to start a tangent discussion, but I find it funny that there are a lot of people on twitter who find this really funny, saying things like “Urine trouble”, but then are super angry and disgusted by Lance. I think that’s BS.

  17. nevermind the uci and the rulebook: Frank doped, and was 12th on the GC… What does that tell you about the other riders? Or do you want to keep your collective heads in the sand?

    • “Frank doped, and was 12th on the GC… What does that tell you about the other riders?”

      Hang on, I know this one… is it “12 of them are better than Frank Schleck”?

      OK I give up. I have a feeling you’re hinting at something but you’re being just a bit too subtle.

    • Golly, if many people feel as you do our sport is doomed. Sad.

      On the other hand relative performance is hardly an accurate indication of doping. I could cram every drug known to man into my system and I’d still remain the “lanterne rouge”.

    • plenty of people could dope themselves to the max of what their genes allow, and still not be good enough to get on a protour team, never mind the tour squad. you can’t throw comments like that around and expect to be taken seriously on this blog =/

  18. OK, I have to wade in here. I can’t believe that the most important thing here is the UCI’s ‘due process’. We already know there is none. I’m over it. What I’m not over is Cyclists getting away with minor fines for being caught using banned diuretics.

    So, the UCI want to pre-empt everything and ask him to leave the race on the strength of a positive A Sample. Good for them. What’s the problem? I fail to see what there is to complain about, other than a lack of adherence to the moribund UCI process. Yes it’s all a mess, but the one basic fact stands above all others – Franck Schlechk is guilty of taking a banned diuretic. And as far as I’m concerned, should carry this should carry a mandatory automatic 2 year ban. I think it would be more wrong if Schlechk was allowed to continue the race. The UCI are obliged to remove him to send a message.

    I believe that in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. However in Pro Cycling, I don’t feel that the ‘benefit of doubt’ rule can still be reasonably applied. It’s sad, and maybe a few relative innocents will be overpunished, but it has to happen if we ever want a consistently even, fair and competative sport.

    • Like I said above, once the news of the A-test is public, Schleck was going to be out of the race anyway. But it is odd to the UCI state in public that its rules should be ignored. What happens the next time, do the rules apply or does the sport fix things to suit the moment?

      Note a banned diuretic is on the “specified substance” list.

        • Given the news was made public it is legitimate for a team to remove the rider given the scandal.

          But it is also legitimate to ask why the news of the A-sample broke when the B-sample was not tested. The UCI has special rules to fast-track a positive A-sample during a stage race and normally it is not made public until the B-sample test is done.

          • Well, the B-sample does *not* have to be tested. The A-sample positive is sufficient evidence for a rider to be sanctioned, if the rider waives the B-sample test or fails to respond. Further, the A-sample positive is sufficient for a provisional suspension of the athlete – indeed, the WADA code says provisional suspensions on A-sample fail must be mandatory for prohibited substances (§7.5).

            I’m whose rules govern Fränk’s case, i.e. which organisation is the “Anti-doping organisation” in this case. If it’s the UCI, then their anti-doping regulations are pretty much modeled on the WADA code. According to the UCI rules, UCI first informs the rider of the A-sample adverse analytical and when satisfied that this has been done it will inform their federation, their national anti-doping organisation, WADA, their team or club.

            Normal practice may be to speed things up and try get things resolved before the story breaks, if that suits. However, just because something is normal practice does not mean it is a required rule. I can’t find any rule that says the adverse analytical finding must be kept secret until the B-sample test is done. Indeed, given the notice of the A-sample adverse finding must be distributed so widely it would be unreasonable to have such an expectation.

          • Oh, for events like stage races, it seems the rider notification may go via the race commissaires or doping control officer.

            So the A-sample news has to be known to at least some in the UCI, the national federation concerned, the team and very likely also the race organiser. That’s a lot of people already. It’d be futile to have a rule to say there should be secrecy on it, which may explain why I can’t find it. 😉

            Would also explain why the UCI thinks it’s best just to announce it early via a press-release. The alternative is that the news leaks out slowly, in a confused manner. That would certainly lead to some people accusing UCI of trying to cover things up.

            All round, I can’t see how the UCI could do anything else but announce the news publically as soon as possible – either immediately after, or even with, the required notifrications to other organisations.

  19. As an aside, this is the icing on the huge Joketurd-Casserole the Schlechk brothers have been cooking up over the last few months. They’ve gone from adolescent heroes to confused, stumbling goofbags. Yeah congrats on the Tour De Suisse Franck, you were on a real good day there, you really had the legs didn’t you? Cheeky git.

  20. What if, only if, somebody deliberately put something – something so easily detectable – in Fränk’s food/drink?
    Somebody could want some revenge, maybe?
    Revenge about salary payments being in the open? Revenge about not winning/abandoning certain races? Revenge about not willing to be seperated from brother? Revenge about all the stuff that didn’t get in the open?
    This summer it keeps on raining and I feel very hurt.

  21. Hate to say it but blah, blah, blah. As an optimist, my love for this sport and it’s healthy, active lifestyle will and shall remain unwavered. As a pessimist, different year same ‘ol dirty problems. Cut it at it’s head – UCI, unscrupulous team directors (we all know who they are)-and let talent, courage and heart decide the outcome of any race. Until that happens, who’s really winning anything here? Time for a spin…

  22. To be fair, following the UCI’s own rule book to the letter resulted in at least one grand tour being effectively demolished as a meaningful spectacle. I’m not sure whether to take the wording of the final paragraph as a quasi-semi-admission of fault in that; or whether by putting the onus on the team to withdraw him they’re further justifying the way they let the giro slide into folly.

  23. I’m not a big fan of Andy or Frank Schleck. I think they’re basically whiners who are GREAT cyclists who can’t time trial. BUT – the UCI’s behavior is disgraceful. Let the Tour proceed in “serenity?” There have been broken bones, umpteen abandonments and tacks in the road. SOME serenity. What a farce.

  24. What am I supposed to think? We are told the peloton is going slower, that the race is much cleaner than its been in years. The big bad 90’s and 00’s are over. There is a new breed of cyclist. But here we are in the 2012 Tour and two cyclists have been ousted from the peloton for cheating. Is it that these cyclists are stupid? Or are drugs so rampant in the peloton that they believe they can get away with it? I was really beginning to believe the clean peloton hype and now this.

    • Jeff:

      I finally have come to your conclusion. I think that the biological passport has helped mitigate the more dramatic improvements of years past, but, as some have indicated, now they have a target ceiling for doping. The people claiming it is now clean are fooling themselves. The only riders I will hold some sense that they are clean are the true sprinters (such as Cavendish), as their skill set is less prone to significant improvements from doping…but even then, that is no guarantee.

      Anyone here who thinks the GT contenders still in the race are clean are fooling themselves. So what is the fan to do? How about we all behave like fans of the NFL, and shrug our shoulder every time an athlete is caught. Unfortunately, in the NFL, all you get is a 4 game suspension..while in cycling, you are awarded with a 2 year ban.

  25. There has to be intent. Frank said before the tour he had no intention of being team captain or winning. He has proven himself correct. He will not win, he did not have the motivation to win any jersey. It is not another Landis/Contadora or alleged Armstrong story. Why would any GC rider knowingly drug if they publicly said they had no interest in being competitive?
    With his current brooding outlook on the management and ownership of the team, for him to want to drug and win a tour in which he demonstrated no promise of doing anything great or near great other than start on time and try and stay in the peleton, is not a person who would do anything this tour to win at all costs.

  26. I was quite surprised Radioshack-Nissan cast him away as rogue so quickly. Especially given the nature of the drug that he popped for. It’s amazing the thin-guise that “loyalty” or “honor” seems to have in cycling these days. It’s almost the punchline to a really bad joke.

    As much as I would like to see riders actually have a fair shake at these proceedings, I have to be realistic with myself. The original purpose of the TdF was to sell newspapers, and what’s sells more newspapers these days? A 20 year old rookie absolutely crushing the Green jersey? Or “TOP RANKED GC RIDER CAUGHT DOPING”. Well… you know.

    • Conspiracy theories aside, this is what teams have to do in the current climate–there are sponsors to appease. Do you really think Radio Shack or Nissan want to defend a possible doper? Sure, they look noble if he’s exonerated, but if he’s guilty? That’s a rather bad PR loss.

      Has there ever been a rider with a positive test result that has received the full support of his team?

  27. True Blake, but when the Schleck brothers and Fabian and Fuglsang went to the UCI and said they are owed wage from the team, it would be most convenient for RSN to act quickly to suspend him and perhaps say he is not going to be paid based on the contractual allegations against him.
    Not as a conspiracy, but as a business move not to pay his wages, however questionable.

  28. The UCI have been selectively applying their rules for decades (at least).
    In the EPO era they seemed to ‘catch’ riders who steped out of line and always leak the A sample result.

    This case is very reminiscent of those times.

    If they ever want the public to believe they want a cleaner sport it is their responsibility to be cleaner than clean in their actions. They clearly are not.

  29. “It’s also curious that news of the A-sample positive has emerged before the B-test has been done.” I’ve never seen confidentiality so poorly protected as in pro-cycling. Which is simply appalling, in an environment where public suspicion equals public lynching.

  30. “Anyone here who thinks the GT contenders still in the race are clean are fooling themselves.”

    Sorry Cat4fodder, but what evidence is this seemingly groundless assertion based on? I would argue that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that doping has, at least, been reduced to a level which allows gifted hardworking riders to win. While the blanket cynicism you suggest seemed an apt response to the situation of the 90s and (early) 00s, I don’t see how your approach now is any less naive than assuming everyone is clean.

  31. Regardless of FS’s sample result, there are clear procedures to be followed.
    These procedures are set out for the protection of all parties involved, and in law are called “due process”. If in law “due process” is not complied with then the consequences can be extreme, ranging from false convictions to the guilty walking free.
    Of course FS’s case is not criminal law but there will be a lot of money resting on the outcome of this matter, and all parties must comply with the rules as set out by UCI, WADA ect., especially the those who write the rules.
    After all it cannot be a satisfactory situation where it seems to the casual viewer that one athlete is asked to leave a race, and by extension all races until the matter is sorted out, while another one is seen to be competing and winning while undergoing the process of investigation and arbitration.

  32. Business as usual with the British media and its attitude towards cycling. Wiggins in yellow has never been reported on the opening homepage but a doping story (of course) does.

    I’m liking the ‘Johan poisoned Frank’ theories!

    • Here is my prediction. They find contamination in the lab that tainted the sample. All past samples will be called into question and the riders will sue the UCI and WADA. Doping rules will be waived until a new policy and procedure can be implemented. Riders in the meantime will go back to using EPO and races will get much more exciting. Fans will demand that riders dope and all sports anti-doping policies will be suspended. 20 years from now, sports will be dominated by cyborgs… but it will be really fast paced and insane to watch. In the end it will all be traced back to Frank Schleck and he didn’t even dope.

  33. I was wondering if Radioschack’s team GC standing is affected by this.
    I mean results he achieved in the race so far could be nullified, no?
    In other words if you would fail in the last days of a GT, could you keep your wins from the first week?

    • I think all the points accumulated will remain (so likely to see Radioshack on the Paris team podium) but any possible demotion will be retrospectively applied once the B-sample/ban/CAS process has been concluded.

  34. Agree with the conspiracy theories regarding Johan and Frank, who needs moon landing cover ups? Funny how all those riders like Landis tested positive after leaving Johan’s care.

  35. The Hog might have his talents, but I think most of the conspiracy theories are either way beyond 1 person’s control, or would be so vastly expensive (we’ve all seen the sort of numbers that can access Hein Verbruggen’s influence!) that any upside would quickly be wiped-out?

    By the way, do you guys know that the Hog has been in France with the Tour caravan?

  36. As for conspiracy theories…I have a feeling the last thing Bruyneel would want right about now is another rider on a team he is associated with caught doping. Even if the guy may be a psychopath and a pathological liar, even psychopaths have their limits for self-preservation reasons.

  37. If you saw Cyclingnews the other day and the teams response on non paid wages. Said no problem with team problem with riders. They wanted part paid to separate company for image rights. This seems to me that team was notifying that riders may have a tax problem. Money may well be paid outside of Luxembourg etc to a tax haven. Riders likely to come under tax scrutiny.
    Then Frank may be facing a two year ban that may end his career for being caught doping in an event he stated he was not interested in.
    Could be a conspiracy or just a bad coincidence.

    • A read the team response as a vague smoke-screen – riders have been paid ‘split’ salaries for years. Part salary + part image-rights. The salary gets taxed as per regional rules and the image rights gets paid into the rider’s own company (which will then be domiciled in a suitable tax-haven). It’s just a tax-efficient way of managing your money.

      So, here we have a ‘problem’ regarding money-laundering in Luxeumbourg – has any new legislation come into force in Luxembourg recently which has effected a relationship which probably set-up when Leopard Trek was launched? I don’t think so.

      I think the sudden ‘problem’ probably falls at the feet of Mr Becca, sorry the beleaguered Mr Becca. Certainly his tax affairs are up for discussion! Probably so too is his cash flow??

Comments are closed.