The McLaren report into the alleged state-sponsored doping programme in Russia has revealed that 580 positive anti-doping tests were made to disappear, including 26 in cycling since 2012.
In the report, ordered in response to revelations made in an American TV documentary by whistleblowers Vitaly Stepanov and Yuliyana Stepanova, Richard McLaren confirms that the Ministry for Sport in Russia played a part in covering up positive tests in two laboratories.
McLaren says he believes the report's findings have been proven "beyond reasonable doubt".
He said at a press conference: "The system was set up following the 2010 Olympics, and was in place until 2014. It allowed the transformation of a positive result to a negative one, overseen by the Deputy Minister of Sport. The Ministry of Sport, Rusada and the FSB were involved in this process”
Athletics and weightlifting were the sports most affected by the cover-ups, with around 140 and 120 positive tests lost respectively. Cycling comes seventh in the list of 30 sports, with 26 positive tests disappearing.
McLaren claims that every positive test was passed before the deputy Minister for Sport, Yuri Nagornykh, who “decided who would benefit from a cover up and who would not be protected”.
Nagornykh reportedly ordered the collection of clean urine samples, which were then swapped into replace those given when the athletes were on performance enhancing drugs. McLaren says it is "inconcieveable" that Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was unaware what was happening.
McLaren says it is not within his mandate to make recommendations over the participation of Russian athletes in the 2016 Olympics, which start on August 5.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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