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Book targets former T-Mobile cyclists

The Associated Press

Former Tour de France winners Jan Ullrich and Bjarne Riis are among cyclists accused of doping in a book written by a massage therapist who worked for Team Telekom from 1992-1996.

Jef d’Hont, a Belgian convicted of being an accomplice in the Festina team doping case in 2000, claims in his upcoming book that former team manager Walter Godefroot organized systematic doping on Telekom, now called T-Mobile.

Der Spiegel released samples Sunday of excerpts to be published in today’s magazine.

“The riders wanted it even though team doctor Andreas Schmid was reluctant,” d’Hont wrote. “Godefroot organized and financed the doping system.”

Riis, the Danish team captain, won the Tour de France in 1996, while Ullrich finished second and captured cycling’s biggest prize the following year.

D’Hont said documents to back his charges against Team Telekom, which included growth hormone and EPO use, were torn up by his wife during the Festina investigation, where the Belgian received a nine-month suspended sentence and $4,100 fine.

Godefroot, now the Astana team boss, told Der Spiegel through a lawyer that he denied any accusations that “I asked anyone to take banned substances or that I organized anything of this kind.”

The new management of T-Mobile said it will investigate d’Hont’s charges, including his claims that blood-doping booster EPO was supplied by doctors at Freiburg University medical clinic in Germany.

T-Mobile is regarded as a leader in the fight against doping in the sport following a shake-up last year when Ullrich was linked to the Spanish doping scandal, then fired. The German cyclist retired on Feb. 26 under public pressure in Germany.

Several current members of T-Mobile were with the cycling team from 1992-1996, including team doctor Lothar Heinrich, whom D’Hont accuses of administering EPO shots, and team boss Rold Aldag, a rider at the time.

Skiing

VIENNA, Austria – The Austrian Ski Federation’s legal expert criticized the decision to ban six Austrian athletes from the Olympics for life following the doping scandal at the Turin Winter Games.

The cross-country skiers and biathletes received the lifetime bans for involvement in an organized blood-doping scheme — the harshest sanctions given to athletes by the IOC.

Karl Heinz Klee said the athletes “never committed a doping offense.” Even if it were proven, he said on the federation’s Web site, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code calls only for a two-year ban for first-time offenders.

The IOC found the athletes guilty of possessing prohibited substances and taking part in a doping conspiracy at the 2006 Turin Games, based on materials seized by Italian police during a raid on the athletes’ living quarters.

The athletes are cross-country skiers Martin Tauber, Juergen Pinter, Johannes Eder and Roland Diethart, and biathletes Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottmann. All are now ineligible for accreditation in any capacity at the Olympics.

Klee argued the bans were imposed by a panel that never saw or heard testimony from the athletes. The IOC invited athletes and team officials to hearings earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland, but no one came. Those invited were allowed to send written statements instead of appearing in person.

“I don’t care about the Olympic ban,” Rottmann told the Austria Press Agency on Sunday. “I’m so glad, since I don’t want to have anything to do with the Olympics after the treatment in Turin.”

Baseball

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the team will activate infielder Chone Figgins today.

• Mets right-hander Orlando Hernandez flew to New York yesterday to have a doctor check out pain in his pitching shoulder.

• The Oakland Athletics got some relief for their injury-depleted outfield, acquiring Ryan Langerhans in a trade with the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named or cash.

Hockey

In Mytischi, Russia, Lee Stempniak scored twice to lead the United States to a 5-1 victory over Belarus that put it in the second round of the hockey world championships, along with the Czech Republic, Finland and Russia.

Horse racing

Accountforthegold was an easy winner in the $68,550 Kings Point Handicap at Aqueduct, when 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide continued to struggle, finishing third.

• Go Bucky Go beat Indian Chant by a nose in the $52,500 feature race at Churchill Downs.

Sailing

In Valencia, Spain, BMW Oracle Racing beat United Internet Team Germany by more than 3 minutes yesterday to open the second stage of Louis Vuitton Cup racing that will select a challenger to defending champion Alinghi in the America’s Cup this summer.

Tennis

In Barcelona, Spain, Rafael Nadal won his third straight Open Seat Godo championship yesterday, defeating Guillermo Canas of Argentina, 6-3, 6-4, for his 72nd consecutive victory on clay.


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