French cyclist Jeannie Longo, a 59-time national and former Olympic champion, will not face any disciplinary proceedings after missing three random drugs tests, an offense normally synonymous with a doping ban. The French cycling federation (FFC) ruled on Tuesday that the 53-year-old was no longer on the list of top-ranked cyclists who have to make their whereabouts constantly available, saying her three missed tests over an 18-month period had not violated anti-doping rules.
Longo is now clear to continue with plans to cap her stunning career with a possible final Olympic appearance in London next year. Longo’s husband and coach, Patrice Ciprelli, last month saw a French court annul his FFC ban for suspected doping offenses. Ciprelli was suspended from all coaching activities by the FFC after being accused of procuring the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) 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. Prior to the Ciprelli accusations, leveled by former US pro racer Joe Papp, reports had left huge suspicions hanging over Longo one of France’s most revered athletes.