Vinnicombe claim probe

AN AUSTRALIAN cycling official who allegedly helped Martin Vinnicombe self-inject, yet still holds a position of authority in the sport, is a fresh target of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
Nanjing Night Net

As former track Olympic silver medallist Vinnicombe contemplates whether to assist authorities by identifying the man he says helped him to inject before a major international race, ASADA’s chief executive, Aurora Andruska, told Fairfax Media that ”a number” of former and current cyclists have agreed to assist in the full-scale investigation into doping in the sport.

Andruska also intensified the pressure on those who would rather guard their secrets, warning: ”You’d want to put your story in before someone else is putting it in for you.”

ASADA refused to confirm its approach to Vinnicombe, but Fairfax Media was told on Thursday that the 1988 Olympic medallist, who tested positive to steroids later in his career, has been contacted by the anti-doping organisation.

It’s understood two influential Australian cycling officials have also attempted to speak with Vinnicombe since he made claims on ABC television’s 7.30 program last week. Fairfax Media has been told who Vinnicombe named in the interview, but cannot identify the Australian cycling official for legal reasons.

In the television interview, Vinnicombe went as far as naming the man on camera, but the ABC muted it after receiving legal advice.

”There’s still people existing in cycling in the moment … that at one point in their careers were exposed to doping and knew about doping methods,” Vinnicombe said in the interview. ”… [muted name] was a person that I trusted, and thought that he would assist me, and he did so. He did that. He was present in the room … he was there with me.”

Cycling Australia, itself under review by a former Supreme Court judge in the fallout of the sport’s latest international doping scandal, urged Vinnicombe to co-operate with ASADA. Fairfax Media understands other cyclists have told the anti-doping agency they intend to seek legal advice before deciding whether to assist the investigation.

Any Australian rider who makes a personal doping confession, and then helps ASADA in its probe into other Australian cyclists and coaches, is eligible to receive a 75 per cent reduction in penalty under the ”substantial assistance” rule.

”We’ve got a number of people talking to us, absolutely,” Andruska said. ”It’s a range of athletes that are coming and talking to us.”

Andruska would not comment on the status of ASADA’s investigation into confessed doper and sacked national cycling coach Matt White, who was also the former head coach of Australia’s professional road team GreenEDGE. Fairfax Media has been told, however, that White was interviewed by ASADA last week.

Cycling Australia president Klaus Mueller and chief executive Graeme Fredericks would not comment to Fairfax Media on Thursday.

Twitter: @SamJaneLane

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.