GRENOBLE, France (AFP) – The husband of French cycling legend Jeannie Longo, Patrice Ciprelli, was celebrating Wednesday after a French court annulled his French Cycling Federation (FFC) ban for suspected doping offences.
Ciprelli, who is also Longo’s coach, was suspended from all coaching activities by the FFC after being accused of procuring the banned blood booster EPO over the internet in 2007.
Lawyers appealed to the Administrative Tribunal in Grenoble, which decided to suspend the decision because of “serious doubts” on the legality of the FFC decision.
“The decision of September 13 by the president of the French Cycling Federation is suspended,” the court said.
The FFC has now been ordered to award 500 euros to Ciprelli to help pay court costs.
Ciprelli’s lawyer, Pierre Albert, told AFP: “We are very satisfied with this decision, which is the first step towards giving justice to M. Ciprelli and Madame Longo.”
Prior to the Ciprelli accusations, levelled by former U.S. pro racer Joe Papp, reports left huge suspicions hanging over Longo — one of France’s most revered athletes.
A 59-time national and former Olympic champion, the 52-year-old Longo was revealed to have missed random doping controls three times — an offence which is synonymous with a doping ban. The claims have put in doubt her plans to cap her career with a possible final Olympic appearance in London next year.