PARIS (Reuters) - Former Olympic and world champion Jeannie Longo was cleared of any wrongdoing on a technicality by the French cycling federation (FFC) after she failed to provide her whereabouts to anti-doping authorities on three occasions, the FFC said on Tuesday.
“Ms Jeannie Longo was cleared of any wrongdoing and will not be prosecuted,” the FFC said in a statement.
The 53-year-old Longo, who wants to compete in the 2012 Olympic road race, won the first of her 13 world road and track titles in 1985 and picked up an Olympic road-race gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.
Longo’s lawyers said she could not be considered a part of the French anti-doping agency’s testing pool at the time of her third “no show” because no one had informed her that she was still part of the programme.
French law, as of April 2010, requires athletes to be included in a testing pool for only one year unless they are notified of an extension.
However, the French anti-doping agency, which could decide to prosecute Longo, had said athletes were part of a testing pool “until further notice.”
“Consequently, Ms Longo could not be considered a part of the testing pool group after April 15, 2011,” the FFC statement added.
Therefore, her third “no show” on June 30, 2011, cannot be considered as such by anti-doping authorities, the FFC said.
Longo pulled out of the world championships in Copenhagen in September.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar