Doping Accusations against Santi Perez
The second-place finisher in the Vuelta is accused of having received a blood transfusion.
The Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team has been notified by the UCI that a medical test made on October 5 in Aigle indicates that Santi Perez had received a blood transfusion. The test used was the same type that was used on Tyler Hamilton . Because this test's soundness and interpretation are still being disputed, the team management is maintaining the rider's innocence.
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Surprised by another charge against a Phonak team rider, the team management issued a statement commenting on the latest UCI report. "We [are still of] the same opinion: This has to do with an interpretive test for which we have no validating documents to date. So far, neither the UCI nor the IOC has provided, or has been able to provide, us these supporting documents. A panel of internationally recognized serologists, haematologists and microbiologists [has been] formed, and it is now working under pressure to examine this test procedure both in terms of its methodology and its application. If it turns out that the new test delivers clear and reliable data for a flawless interpretation and that the previous UCI test results are [therefore] confirmed, then both riders [will] have to be dismissed in accordance with our regulations. In the event that they are shown to be innocent, then both Perez and Hamilton will remain on the 2005 team."
It is now up to science to shed light on the validity and binding force of this test method. According to the Phonak team management, however, the work of the experts is being made more difficult by the fact that no documents have been provided by the IOC and, only a few days ago, the UCI submitted the first set of documents and information, which is full of gaps and still incomplete.
For company and team owner Andy Rihs it is clear that light has to be shed on the matter as soon as possible. Rihs told Roadcycling.com that, "Our greatest effort is still fighting all forms of doping. But in order to protect the sport, the tests used have to be absolutely correct. Otherwise the entire effort loses credibility." The Phonak Hearing Systems team management especially regrets that the latest accusations put sponsors in an unfavourable light as well. "We assure you that we're doing everything to clear up these cases. And to do that, we're looking into the matter scientifically. The project initiated is in the service and best interest of the sponsors and a clean sport of cycling," Andy Rihs continued.