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SBD Global/October 16, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Head Of Aussie Cycling Team Admits To Doping, Leads To Amnesty Resistance

Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth said calls for an amnesty for cycling drug cheats are "premature," according to Bianca Hall of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Hollingsworth said that he did not support calls for an amnesty "in the beleaguered sport," so that cheating athletes can be "purged from the profession." Hollingsworth said, "It is important that we send a clear message that any doping is unacceptable, and an amnesty would be inconsistent with that." Despite the "cynicism now surrounding the sport," the country's federal Sport Minister Kate Lundy said: "Now, more than ever before, doping cheats will be caught." She added, "The Australian government, through [that Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority], is committed to protecting the health of athletes and the integrity of Australian sport through the elimination of doping" (SMH, 10/16). The AAP noted Cycling Australia "referred doping allegations" against Matt White to ASADA just months before it appointed him national road coordinator. ASADA began investigating White, who recently stepped down, in '10 after CA became aware of allegations from U.S. rider Floyd Landis, "which ultimately led to White's recent admission that he had doped while a professional rider." CA appointed White to the road team job in January last year. Multiple sources have confirmed that "ASADA was investigating White ahead of his CA appointment and his hiring by Australia's professional road team, Orica-GreenEDGE" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/16).

NO TAKE BACKS: In Sydney, Rupert Guinness reported South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said that his government "would not pursue refunds for appearance money" paid to Lance Armstrong, who recently had his seven Tour de France titles stripped from him. Armstrong raced in the '09-11 editions of the Tour Down Under before retiring again. Weatherill said that the government "got value for the money outlaid to bring Armstrong to the 13-year-old race," which was "worth A$17M to the state's economy" from his first appearance in '09. The government has remained tight-lipped about how much money was paid to Armstrong, but it has been reported he "received A$1-2M for each" of the race appearances (SMH, 10/16).

PROBLEM AT THE SOURCE: Also in Sydney, Michael Ashenden wrote that following White’s admission to doping, the point is being missed if “we only bring the riders to account.” With “obvious exceptions,” such as Lance Armstrong, “I consider them to be victims of a broken system, rather than evil doers.” It is time the organizations who oversee cycling “are held accountable for what has transpired.” And nowhere is that more evident “than here in Australia.” There is “no doubt” that CA is “part of the problem.” For too long, “it has been long on talk, but short on walk” (SMH, 10/16).
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