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DOPING SCANDAL

CYCLING

Spanish court wrong to destroy blood: IOC

The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday deplored a ruling by a Spanish court that bags of blood seized in a doping case be destroyed, preventing further probes into what has been described as the world's biggest doping network.

Spanish court wrong to destroy blood: IOC
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes leaves the Altavista Medical Center where he worked in Las Palmas, on December 15th 2010. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP

Over 200 bags of blood were seized from Eufemiano Fuentes, a sports doctor sentenced on Tuesday to a year in prison for performing blood transfusions on top cyclists, often combined with banned substances.

Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria ordered the bags of blood and plasma to be destroyed once any appeals have been settled in a case known as Operation Puerto.

"It is unfortunate that the evidence used in this proceeding is not now being made available to anti-doping organizations to further the fight against doping," the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement

On Tuesday the Olympic body said there was "no place for doping in sport".

"We unreservedly condemn the actions of anyone involved in providing athletes with an unfair advantage through doping."

The IOC said that while it was constantly fighting the scourge of performance-enhancing substances — which has brought down top athletes like cyclist Lance Armstrong — the Spanish case had shown the importance of cooperation from "a large range of stakeholders including public authorities."

"We understand, however, that the Spanish government is moving to approve anti-doping legislation in parliament that would bring Spain in line with the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code and the UNESCO Convention against doping in sport and we express hope that this will lead to greater cooperation with anti-doping organizations in the future."

Spain's State Anti-Doping Agency said it would appeal the ruling that the blood bags be destroyed and regretted that a new anti-doping law pending in parliament had not been in force at the time.

A lawyer representing the International Cycling Union governing body described the operation as "the biggest doping network the world has ever seen".

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CYCLING

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

But 2021 will not be an easy year to buy a bike in many European countries, especially if you have a particular model in mind. 

Firstly, there's been a huge surge in demand for bikes during the pandemic, as Europeans looked for ways to stay fit and move around more freely without having to worry about being exposed to Covid-19 on public transport.

On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.

 

In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.

 

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