French cycling 'doping doctor' gets reduced sentence on appeal

2019-02-27 12:26
Doping (File)

Caen - A former French cycling medical advisor received a 12-month suspended prison sentence on Wednesday for inciting amateur riders to cheat with drugs.

Bernard Sainz, alias "Dr Mabuse", has spent years embroiled in scandals over encouraging doping and illegally practicing medicine.

The 75-year-old, who describes himself as an alternative medicine therapist, had initially been sentenced to nine months in jail in September 2017 and was told to pay a  €20 000 fine.

But an appeal verdict, announced on Wednesday, saw the change in sentence and the fine reduced to €2 000.

"I was expecting to be let off, plain and simple... I can't be satisfied considering these are non-existent deeds in a doping affair," Sainz said after the verdict.

"This obstinacy is getting to be very painful, especially when you're 75," he added, speaking of the prosecution.

At the appeal in December, the prosecution had demanded a heavier sentence against Sainz for engaging in doping between 2008 and 2010, with prosecutor Marc Faury saying that "sport becomes much less so when he (Sainz) is involved".

Sainz - known as "Dr Mabuse" after the 1922 film depicting a fake doctor - has had repeated brushes with the law.

He was previously jailed in connection with other doping incidents and for illegally working as a doctor.

Sainz was initially convicted during the 1998 Festina affair at the Tour de France during which police found a stash of performance-enhancing drugs in a team car, throwing the sport into turmoil.

In 2013, he was fined  €3 000 in a case linked to horse doping. 

The following year, he was sentenced to two years in prison, of which 20 months were suspended, for incitement to dope and practising medicine without a licence.

In 2016, Sainz was secretly filmed by French TV giving doping instructions to cyclists. These included instructing his "patients" on the use of EPO, a blood-doping agent, and clenbuterol, a steroid. 

Read more on:    bernard sainz  |  cycling


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