France

Champion Longo faces cycling ban

AFP PHOTO DENIS CHARLET

French female cycling superstar Jeannie Longo could face a ban from the sport after reports claimed she failed to inform anti-doping officials of her whereabouts ahead of random tests. 

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According to sports daily L'Equipe,  Longo, aged-52, faces a ban of "between three months and two years" after being warned three times by France's National Anti-Doping Agency ,AFLD.

In accordance with strict anti-doping rules, professional cyclists are supposed to notify the authorities of their whereabouts on a daily basis, and makes themselves available for testing from the early hours until late at night.

The AFLD said Longo had "infringed the rules concerning athletes' whereabouts three times during the past 18 months".

The report said Longo gave insufficient information as to her whereabouts on the first two occasions.

On a third occasion, the United States Anti Doping Agency had to report a "no show" after failing to locate Longo at a hotel she was supposed to be staying at during a training camp in the US several days before the national championhips in June 2011.

The report said Longo has since "tried to convince the AFLD's executive committee of her innocence", but to no avail. The AFLD has consequently sent a dossier to the French Cycling Federation, FFC, which has the power to decide on a ban.

French law calls for a sanction between three months and two years in such cases.

Longo, a 59-time national champion who has won the women's Tour de France three times and claimed a total of 30 medals from the Olympic Games and world championships combined, is one of France's most popular sports personalities.

Longo was scheduled to participate at the world road race championships in Copenhagen in September, where she was to ride the women's road race and the time trial.

She also planned to cap her stunning career with a possible final Olympic appearance in London in 2012.

 

 

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