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Phonak regain racing licence

The Phonak cycling team has been granted a two-year licence Keystone

Swiss cycling team Phonak have regained their racing licence following an appeal to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

This content was published on February 1, 2005 - 16:47

The move overturns a ban on competing in this year’s Pro Tour circuit imposed by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after a series of doping scandals.

The CAS partially upheld the appeal by Phonak, awarding a two-year licence. The team had originally sought a four-year licence.

The decision means that Phonak will be able to participate in all tour events in 2005, including the Tour de France.

“We’re naturally very pleased,” said Phonak team owner Andy Rihs. “We were always convinced that our team belonged in the Pro Tour class.”

“Now the legal hurdles have been removed and we can prove ourselves at the highest level.”

The UCI said it had “taken note” of the CAS ruling. Cycling’s ruling body refused to award a licence last November following positive dope tests by three of Phonak’s riders – Olympic champion Tyler Hamilton, Spain’s Santiago Perez and Switzerland’s Oscar Camenzind.

Breached

But the CAS said it believed that Phonak’s right to a fair hearing had been breached, adding that the team had acted immediately and carried out correct procedures when news of the positive tests broke.

“However, it is indisputable that, for the Phonak team, the year 2004 was marked by blood tests with average high values, a confirmed doping case and two cases of adverse analytical findings,” said the CAS in its ruling.

Former world champion Camenzind was sacked from the team after a positive dope test in August last year.

Both Hamilton and Perez failed tests introduced for blood doping, which is when a transfusion is carried out to boost red blood cell counts.

Phonak initially stood by its two riders and questioned the validity of the new test. Later Hamilton agreed to terminate his contract to help Phonak win back its licence.

Licences are normally granted for four years, but the UCI’s licensing commission can reduce the time period for a number of reasons, including doping.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Phonak is Switzerland's only top-level professional cycling team.
In December it appealed against a ruling by the International Cycling Union which denied it a racing licence following a series of doping scandals.
The three Phonak riders involved in the scandals are Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Perez and Oscar Camenzind.

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