Vienna blood bank: German tv station names cyclists - not biathlon athletes and cross-country skiers

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15.01.2008/ German TV station ARD reported today that 20 Biathlon athletes, cross-country skiers and at least 4 cyclists were clients of the Austrian company Humanplasma. The company from Vienna denies any wrongdoing.

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Georg Totsching denies any involment... (© Cyclingheroes)

ARD TV reported that at least 20 German biathlon and cross-country skiers were were clients of the Austrian company Humanplasma but did not name any athletes. They did qoute German national biathlon trainer Uwe Müssiggang, saying that he "would never bet his life on it" because he isn't 24 hours with his athletes. Müssiggang continued by saying: "Personally I cannot imagine that somebody of our team will advance his performance in this way."

German national cross-coutry ski trainer Jochem Behle told ARD last week: "People like Franke [German professor Werner Franke, a German anti-doping expert] think we all dope but we proof the opposite. I bet my life on it that our successes are clean."

German TV station ARD stopped live coverage during this years Tour de France after the announcement that Patrick Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone. A few years before, Hagen Bosdorf of ARD (Bosdorf was sacked in 2006) said: "if Telekom says they are clean, then they are clean." ARD skipped several cycling races of their programm but is broadcasting hundreds of hours biathlon and cross-country skiing. Todays report was peculiar. In a first report ARD only spoke about 4 cyclists who were involved. Later the TV station changed its article at their website Suddenly biathlon and cross-country skiing were involved as well. The reason could be that the online version of German weekly 'Der Spiegel' reported that more then 20 biathlon and cros-country skiers are involved.

But ARD did report that four cyclists were involved and named them all. According to ARD TV Michael Rasmussen, Michael Boogerd, Denis Menchov and Georg Totschnig were all clients of the Austrian company Humanplasma. ARD videotext said that ARD had documents which proof that Georg Totschnig was a client of Humanplasma. Totschnig denied the allegation. Totschnig told Austrian daily newspaper 'Kurier': "I don't know any details. I was never there and I also don't know  where these accusations are coming from." The 36 year old former pro continued by saying: "I don't know where this information is coming from and where the assertions are based on." The rumours about Humanplasma are circulting for weeks now: "For me these accusations aren't new but I don't know why my name is linked with the case." Totschnig wonders that nobody from ARD TV contacted him to ask for his reaction: "First I will wait and look where this is coming from. I hope I will find out more details. Somebody must have claimed this."

The ceo of Humanplasma, Lothar Baumgartner, denied any involvement of his company in the case. The company owns a ACP 215 machine of the US company Haemonetics. This machine can freeze, store and defrost erythrocytes.

Austrian state secretary for sports, Reinhold Lopatka didi not want to comment the ARD report. Lopatka told 'Kurier': "After I received the letter of the former president of the World-Anti-Doping- Agency, Dick Pound, I have informed the appropriate authorities in Austria, the Austrian home office to investigate the case. As long as there is no official report from our home office I will not comment this kind of allegations." Lopotka concluded: "At the moment I can only say, like the Romans,  'Fama currit'. A rumour is going round. Until now there are only rumours."

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