Beijing Olympics Medalist Rebellin Loses Medal and Doping Appeal

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07/30/2010| 0 comments
by AP
Davide Rebellin. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Davide Rebellin. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Beijing Olympics Medalist Rebellin Loses Medal and Doping Appeal

Italian rider tested positive for blood-booster CERA.

Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin lost an appeal Friday against a decision to strip him of his 2008 Olympic silver medal for doping.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the International Olympic Committee was right to disqualify Rebellin from his Beijing medal after he tested positive for the banned blood-boosting drug CERA.

The CAS panel of three lawyers rejected Rebellin's arguments that mistakes were made in testing his blood sample and the test itself was not valid.

"The procedures of the chain of custody have been complied with and ... there was no departure from the international standards for laboratories which could have reasonably caused an abnormal analysis result," CAS said in a statement. "The presence of CERA has been validly detected in the blood samples of the athlete."

Rebellin was caught in April 2009, eight months after the Beijing Games road race, when the IOC retested the Olympic samples for traces of CERA.

The IOC said in a statement it was "pleased to note that its decision to disqualify Davide Rebellin .. and to withdraw his silver medal has been confirmed."

The 39-year-old Italian denied doping, but was immediately suspended by Italy's Olympic committee and his team at the time, Diquigiovanni-Androni. The Italian Olympic body also demanded Rebellin repay his €75,000 ($97,900) silver medal bonus.

Rebellin now faces being suspended by the International Cycling Union and stripped of other race results.

With Rebellin's disqualification finally confirmed, the IOC said it will reallocate the silver medal to Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, who finished third in Beijing. Fourth-place finisher Alexander Kolobnev of Russia will get bronze.

Samuel Sanchez of Spain won the gold medal in Beijing.

CERA is an advanced version of the hormone EPO, which stimulates the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

It was first detected in sports by the French anti-doping agency, which developed a test and caught four cyclists more than two months after the 2008 Tour de France.

That success prompted the IOC to retest blood samples from Beijing. Rebellin was one of five Beijing athletes who were later disqualified when their samples came back positive for CERA.

Rebellin's blood was analyzed at the Chatenay-Malabry lab near Paris.

CAS said that Rebellin's sample had also been tested in Beijing for traces for human growth hormone.

The IOC stores Olympic samples for eight years to allow further analysis when new tests are developed.

The Rebellin case is the last outstanding result from the Beijing Olympics to be amended, almost two years after the games opened on Aug. 8, 2008.

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