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Rahsaan Bahati wins cycling race, but doping issue pervades sport

He wins event in Brentwood, tells of fears for cycling's future amid federal inquiry. He disbanded his own team because of Landis' brief involvement. Anti-doping official discusses testing program.

August 08, 2010|By Diane Pucin and Lance Pugmire

The Raymond Fouquet Brentwood Grand Prix cycling race was won Sunday by Rahsaan Bahati, whose Bahati Racing team was disbanded in part because Floyd Landis was briefly part of it.

Garmin-Transitions' Dave Zabriskie, who completed the Tour de France on July 25 and who has been accused by Landis of once participating in illegal doping while a member of the U.S. Postal Service team, was one of the 100 pros who competed for a total of $1,999 in prize money with Bahati.

In another development, World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman told The Times on Sunday that his agency might be interested in taking international cycling federation's biological passport anti-doping program to international swimming, skiing, triathlons and biathlons. However, Howman said he is concerned about the Union Cycliste Internationale's (UCI) administration of the program and would only be interested if the program is proved to work as planned.

The discussion takes place as a federal grand jury in Los Angeles continues to hear testimony this week in a probe that reportedly includes claims by two cyclists that seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, Zabriskie and fellow Americans George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer engaged in doping.

Bahati says the federal investigation is great cause for concern.

"I fear for the future of the sport," said Bahati.

According to a person familiar with Bahati's involvement with Landis who cannot speak publicly because he does not have Bahati's permission, Bahati has been contacted by federal investigators who wanted to check Bahati's cellphone records and a home computer. Bahati said he could not comment on the investigation.

Bahati, who is from Compton, formed his own racing team last winter. In March he announced that Landis was joining the team. After Landis admitted to having doped in the past and naming the other American cyclists, Bahati Racing announced it had parted ways with Landis in May.

Zabriskie said Sunday he had not been contacted by federal authorities and also said he was not the unidentified cyclist who was quoted in the New York Times last week as having seen Armstrong illegally dope.

Asked if he would cooperate if he were asked to testify to the grand jury, Zabriskie said, "That's my understanding of the law. I'd have to, right?"

He said he couldn't comment any further on the federal probe, although he did say cycling would be fine no matter what happened.

"In five years," he said, "this will just be another [doping] investigation."

Also last week, the Wall Street Journal, citing a source, reported five pro cyclists were found to be doping in December through the biological passport testing, but haven't been punished.

There have been some questions raised about allowing an organization such as the UCI that promotes a sport to also have knowledge of results that can tarnish the sport.

Regarding the information going before the Los Angeles grand jury, Howman said investigators have full worldwide access to explore information that emerges through investigative organizations outside the United States, such as Interpol.

Howman also said it's wrong to characterize this investigation as targeting only Armstrong. It is, Howman said, "a big inquiry that involves all of cycling, and many are not just Americans. A lot of attention is being given to Lance, but it could be more considerable than that. An inquiry like this will take time."

diane.pucin@latimes.com

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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