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Cycling champion Chris Froome fights for reputation after failed test

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome, who rides for Team Sky, was found to have double the allowed..

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Four-time Tour de France winner Froome, who rides for Team Sky, was found to have double the allowed level of the legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine on a test taken on September 7 during the Vuelta a España, which the 32-year-old went on to win.Follow @cnnsportIn a statement, the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), said the British rider was informed of an "Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF)" on September 20 and that an analysis of the B sample had confirmed the results of the rider's A sample. Froome, Britain's most successful road cyclist, who won his fourth Tour de France in July, said: "It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are. "I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits) and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader's jersey."My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor's advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose."I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires."Thanking his fans for their messages of support, Froome later tweeted: "I am confident that we will get to the bottom of this. "Unfortunately I can't share any more information than I already have until the enquiry is complete."Froome won his fourth Tour de France crown in July.READ: 'A man with no platform is a lost man,' says Lance Armstrong

'Committed to establishing the facts'

The UCI said Froome was not suspended, but wanted more details from Team Sky and was investigating the case under the organization's anti-doping rules. Under World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) rules, Salbutamol is a permitted drug without the need of a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), but only at certain doses.The levels of the drug in Froome's urine test were at 2,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) — double WADA's 1,000 ng/ml threshold. The test was conducted following Stage 18 of the three-week Vuelta.Froome was the first Briton to win the Spanish event and his success also made him the first cyclist since 1978 to complete the Tour de France and Vuelta double in the same year. Along with the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, the Vuelta is one of cycling's Grand Tours. The Kenyan-born rider is the first to win back-to-back Grand Tours since Marco Pantani won the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 1998. Froome's team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said in a statement: "There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol. We're committed to establishing the facts and understanding exactly what happened on this occasion."I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol. Of course, we will do whatever we can to help address these questions." Chris Froome drinks a glass of champagne as he rides at the start of the 113 km twenty-first and last stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France.

A common inhaler for asthmatics

Riders have in the past received bans for excessive levels of Salbutamol, a common inhaler used to relieve asthma symptoms. It opens up the airways to make it easier to breathe. In 2014, Italian rider Diego Ulissi received a nine-month ban, while Alessandro Petacchi got a 12-month ban in 2007 and was stripped of his five stage victories in the Giro d'Italia, but riders have also been able to successful explain AAFs. Leonardo Piepoli tested positive on the same day as Petacchi but escaped sanction. In 2016, British cyclist Simon Yates was banned for four months after testing positive for Terbutaline, another drug used to manage asthma.

Froome could successfully argue case

Dr John Dickinson, head of the respiratory clinic at the University of Kent, has said athletes are more susceptible to asthma than the general population. During tests on Team Sky's cyclists, he found that a third had the condition. Team Sky declined to say how many of its cyclists suffer from asthma.He told CNN World Sport's Amanda Davies that while inhaled doses of Saibutamol did not boost endurance performance, taking the medication orally could improve sprinting power performance. Dr Dickinson also said it was possible for Froome to successfully argue his case. "With this particular drug, and also with the case of Chris, there are a few circumstances that might have brought about why his urine sample has come back above the threshold," he said. "WADA say that an athlete can take up to eight puffs in a 12-hour period and up to 16 puffs in a 24-hour period. "We've shown data that demonstrates that if you're dehydrated the concentration level can go above the threshold level and also if your metabolism is fast that can also increase the level. "There might be a few pieces of evidence that Chris can put together which may explain why his level is above the WADA limit or he's acted within the rules." READ: Miguel Indurain – the cyclist 'from another planet'READ: Yorkshire's cycling revolution and its unlikely star

Team Sky and TUEs

Froome, who last January signed a record contract reportedly worth $5.3 million a year with Team Sky — making him the highest earner in his sport — was named in leaked medical record by the Russian hackers Fancy Bears as one of the athletes to use TUEs during competition. The documents, stolen from WADA, claimed he was given the exemption for the asthma drug prednisolone in May 2013 and April 2014.His former Team Sky teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins also came under the TUE spotlight for receiving treatment for asthma and allergies. Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features and videosTUEs allow athletes to take prohibited substances if there is a medical need and there was no suggestion that Team Sky had broken any rules. A 14-month investigation conducted into a suspect medical package sent to Wiggins — Britain's first Tour de France winner — and Team Sky in 2011 recently ended with no charges. It was alleged that the package at the center of the investigation contained a banned substance – but the doctor involved, Dr Richard Freeman, said it was a legal decongestant Fluimucil.

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Corriere della Sera: Belgian judges exerted illegal & undue pressure on Eva Kaili

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Madrid Journal – Italian and Greek media seem to lose patience with how the Belgian authorities are dealing with corruption case in the European Parliamentary. The ill treatment of the Belgian judiciary became very obvious where the prosecution is practically employing blackmail as a tactic to get Eva Kaili to confess despite her pleading innocence from day one. According to the report of the Italian newspaper, the Belgian judges investigating the Qatargate scandal allegedly exerted illegal undue pressure on Eva Kaili, suggesting that she confess her guilt, with the promise that she will be released from prison.

It should be noted that after the conclusion of the last hearing, the lawyers of Eva Kaili complained that their client was kept in solitary confinement for six hours, speaking of torture reminiscent of the Middle Ages and a violation of human rights.

Today the Italian newspaper brings to light the aforementioned claim of the well-known criminologist Michalis Dimitrakopoulos.

“She has not agreed to confess to something she has not done” 
“From the first moment they suggested that Eva Kaili plead guilty and be released from prison so that she can finally hug her daughter again,” says Dimitrakopoulos, clarifying however that his client , who has been claiming innocence since day one, has always denied it.

“Despite the fact that being away from her little girl is the greatest psychological torture, she has not agreed to confess to something she has not done,” adds the Greek lawyer.

As also stated in the publication “she does not want her daughter to inherit the stigma that her mother was a corrupt female politician, because it is not true”.

The same publication also states that: “The former Greek TV journalist was immediately acquitted by her partner Giorgi, but the investigators did not believe the couple’s version, convinced that the woman belonged to Pantzeri’s network and tried to help him disappear the money from the funds. In fact, they accused her of bribery and of trying to hide the fruits of a crime.”

What will be her next move
The next moves Dimitrakopoulos plans for Eva Kaili are to build a profile of a woman deeply scarred by the month and a half she spent behind bars in Haren prison, the newspaper says.

“She was shaking as she told the judge, who was also a woman, about the torture she suffered, not in prison, but in a police cell. What he experienced – says the lawyer – is reminiscent of the movie ‘Midnight Express’, but unfortunately this is happening in the center of Europe”.

The indictment against the allegedly aggressive methods of the Belgian justice system ends with the announcement of the next legal move by Eva Kaili’s defense team: “Next week we will appeal to the Supreme Court, announces Dimitrakopoulos. When someone is arrested they are immediately protected by the law. I wonder if it was the same in Brussels.”

 

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The 5 best resorts and boutique hotels in Italy 2023

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Seehof Nature Retreat /Naz-Sciaves (Bressanone)

Adults-only resort overlooking the shores of a private lake, the Seehof Nature Retreat has 40 rooms, including suites and doubles, with lake view or garden view. The wellness rite to clarify ideas about what to do in the future is carried out in the spa, it is the Aufguss, the infusion of vapors with essential oils which is carried out by a sauna master. The swimming pool is heated and can therefore also be used in winter, while the lake is frozen, so only the bravest will go and get their feet wet after a session in the sauna. Those who can’t sit still can go skiing in the Gitschberg/Jochtal and Plose/Bressanone areas, on the way back, massage with alpine herb pads or with arnica and St. John’s wort to soothe the muscles. The stay is all-inclusive (with a four-course gourmet dinner); the half board is on request.

Langhe House / Cerretto Langhe (Cuneo)

The Alta Langa is a land of great reds and also of sparkling wines, hazelnuts, cheeses and castles. Heritage of biodiversity, it is a land that tries to defend its relationship with nature, limiting highways and new constructions.

The result is Casa di Langa, a five-star resort amidst hazelnut groves and vineyards, which renounces single-use plastic, focuses on energy independence and recycles water for the irrigation of its vineyards and biodynamic vegetable gardens which Luigi Merlo, the gardener, takes care of Daniel Zeilinga, the executive chef, with two years of experience alongside Enrico Crippa at the Piazza Duomo restaurant in Alba. Aromatic herbs, edible flowers, ancient varieties all that grows is needed at the Sorì Cocktail Bar, which favors infusions for drinks, the Fàula restaurant, which has just entered the Michelin guide, and the Spa.

Villa Gelsomino / Santa Margherita Ligure

An 18th-century villa, Art Nouveau details and 5 sea-view suites, with original frescoes and Genoese grit floors. Villa Gelsomino is the project of three friends, who transformed the house into a boutique hotel reserved for adults only. The structure uses green energy, is plastic-free, and compensates for C02 emissions by planting trees around the world. You stay among a few guests and in the quiet, on request, there are private yoga and pilates lessons and you get around with electric scooters and e-cycles.

Gallicantu / Luogosanto (Sassari)

They are the new refuges for travelers who have already experienced everything; the pens, the rural settlements where the animals are rounded up, in the Sardinian Gallura are small treasure properties, created among the blocks of granite, sheltered from the confusion of the coast (but the beaches are always short range). Gallicantu, a micro-resort revisited by architect Jean Claude Lesuisse, with just five rooms and two suites, is close to Luogosanto (its name comes from the 22 country churches in the area), Tempio, where Fabrizio De André had chosen to live, and the beautiful Aggius, which is part of the authentic villages of Italy. If you wish, instead of reaching the Costa Smeralda, you can stop by the pool, among the olive trees. There is also a wellness area with sauna, Turkish bath, emotional showers. The pre-nuragic cave of the property is instead intended for the tasting of wines, cold cuts and cheeses.

Cape of Senses / Torri del Benaco (Verona)

55 lake view suites, three swimming pools, one of which is sports and two infinity, adults-only Spa, with fitness and yoga platforms, two restaurants, a 15,000-metre property among the retreats in Italy that will make headlines in 2023 is the Cape of Senses, which will open in July in Albisano, above Torri del Benaco, on Lake Garda. Designed by Hugo and Alessia Demetz, the hotel will be an oasis where you can stay for three days or more: upon request, you can sleep in a mobile structure, in direct contact with the stars. Two restaurants, At sunset, with gourmet à la carte cuisine, and La Pergola, with traditional cuisine served on the panoramic terrace.

This article was originally published on GQ (Italiana Edition)

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NGOs: Belgian authorities treatment of Kaili is inhumane

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Greek and European Human Rights organisations have organisations have criticised harshly the Belgian authorities treatment of Eva Kaili and described it as inhumane. The NGOs including Amnesty added that Kaili’s daughter was deprived of her mum for very long time due to the ongoing investigation.
Reports have suggested earlier that Haren prison where Kaili is jailed is one of the worst and most populated prisons in Belgium with very low staff maintaining it. In fact, Belgians have agreed under pressure to allow Kaili to see her daughter after a month of separation between the mum and her little daughter. Such treatment of the Belgian authorities can only be seen under oppressive regimes not in Europe.
After almost a month, Eva Kaili, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament who was jailed as part of the investigation into the Qatargate corruption case, was able to see her two-year-old daughter again.

Accompanied by her grandfather Alexandros Cailis by taxi, the little girl arrived at the Haren prison, according to the Italian newspaper Repubblica.  This is the new Belgian prison located a few kilometers from the center of Brussels and where the MEP is being held.

According to the same sources, Eva Kaili’s lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said that the Greek politician was “happy to see her child again after a month”. Mother and daughter “played together for about two hours and twenty minutes. The room was very nice and I didn’t feel like I was in a prison,” he added. 

Then the well-known criminologist revealed that in the coming days the child will again return to Haren prison to see his mother.

It is noted that in the previous period the Eva Kaili had complained that they did not allow her to see her daughter, a claim denied by the Belgian authorities, stating that detained mothers can see their children at predetermined times, while they have the possibility – if they wish – to keep them in specially designed cells.

It is recalled that Kaili was arrested on December 9, for calling her father and asking him to come and pick up a suitcase from the house where she lived with her husband Francesco Giorgi, after learning that her partner had been arrested. A suitcase in which there were 750,000 euros. Kaili told authorities she knew her husband was holding something on behalf of Italian former MEP Antonio Pancheri, but claims she didn’t know the contents of the suitcase until that morning. 

However, the MEP’s entourage speaks of a plot of big interests on her back, while the documents that linked the Greek politician to bank deposits in Panama are still under the microscope.

It is recalled that Kaili was arrested on December 9, for calling her father and asking him to come and pick up a suitcase from the house where she lived with her husband Francesco Giorgi, after learning that her partner had been arrested. A suitcase in which there were 750,000 euros. Kaili told authorities she knew her husband was holding something on behalf of Italian former MEP Antonio Pancheri, but claims she didn’t know the contents of the suitcase until that morning. 

However, the MEP’s entourage speaks of a plot of big interests on her back, while the documents that linked the Greek politician to bank deposits in Panama are still under the microscope.

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