DRUGS IN SPORT: De Merode under fire from the Spanish

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The Independent Online
THE SPANISH Olympic Committee, the COE, yesterday called for the resignation of Prince Alexandre de Merode over his reported comments that Spanish doctors had been lax in their approach to doping.

De Merode, the president of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, was reported in a French newspaper on Monday as saying that "in Spain, there has for a long time existed a tendency towards doping".

Those comments produced an indignant response from Spanish officials and on Wednesday a COE statement said that the organisation were "astonished" by the accusations and called for de Merode to issue a retraction or hand in his resignation.

The statement read: "The COE have received with astonishment these comments of Prince Alexandre de Merode, which appear to us to be inappropriate from the president of the medical commission of the IOC and for which he has not brought a shred of evidence.

"If a correction is not produced by de Merode, the COE will request his resignation from the post of president of the medical commission."

The COE also issued a robust defence of their record in the fight against drugs, pointing out that Spanish athletes had not provided a single positive test at the last two Olympics.

"Spain is one of the countries that carry out the most anti-doping controls, in official competition as well as in training." the statement added.

"Relations between the IOC and the COE have always been excellent and we have never received an expression of worry from the IOC over the doping situation in Spain."

The German cycling team Telekom announced yesterday it was taking steps to make sure none of its riders are using performance-enhancing drugs.

In the wake of the Tour de France, Telekom announced it will be spending pounds 300,000 on internal drugs tests of its riders. "All the Telekom professional cyclists, including the juniors, will undergo at least five drug tests annually, performed by independent testers," said the team in a statement.