Officials: Longo's husband arrested over EPO buy

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By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — French police raided the home of cycling great Jeannie Longo on Wednesday and arrested her husband on suspicion that he bought doses of the banned performance-enhancer EPO.

The 53-year-old Longo was expected to be questioned following the arrest of her husband and coach, Patrice Ciprelli, at their home in Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux in the French Alps, said police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Another French official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ciprelli was suspected of buying EPO over the Internet in the past two years.

His arrest came three months after the French Cycling Federation cleared Longo of breaching anti-doping rules in an embarrassing blow for France's anti-doping agency.

Prosecutors in the Alpine city of Grenoble are handling the case. France's police agency responsible for anti-doping investigations, OCLAESP, also was involved.

Calls to Longo's home went unanswered.

Ciprelli was suspended by the French cycling federation last September over allegations he bought EPO. That prompted Longo to pull out of last year's Road World Championships in Holte, Denmark.

Longo's list of titles covers nine pages in "Jeannie by Longo," her biography. Longo won gold at her fourth Olympics, at Atlanta in 1996. She also has two Olympic silvers and one bronze, 13 world titles, 58 French titles and world records.

In an AP interview in February 2011, Longo's response was ambiguous when asked whether doping might be part of her longevity in cycling. She explained that there are no level playing fields in sports "because we all do what we can to be better."

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