Lithuanian cyclist faces suspended jail time

  • 2006-02-01
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - A French court has sentenced Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas and his wife, Edita Rumsiene, to suspended jail terms for doping offenses committed in 2002. The Court of Bonneville sentenced Rumsas, 34, and his 32-year-old wife to four months in prison on Jan. 26, said Marijus Dunda, consul of the Lithuanian Embassy in France.

But, the couple can avoid imprisonment if they keep away from illegal activity for the next four months. Rumsas, who finished third in the 2002 Tour de France, and his wife were charged with possessing and importing illegal substances. At the time, Rumsiene was caught with growth hormones and EPO 's an endurance enhancing drug - in her car. The court handed her a fine of 3,000 euros on top of suspended jail time.

Polish doctor Krzystof Ficek, who prescribed the doping products, was sentenced to one year of suspended imprisonment. All three suspects have been ordered to pay 1,000 euros each in moral damages to the French cycling federation.

Defense lawyers have not yet indicated whether they will file appeals.

Although the case was examined on Nov. 24, 2005 the court postponed sentencing for two months.

Shortly after the 2002 Tour de France, police detained Rumsiene at the French-Italian border. She was in possession of a large quantity of illegal medications. Rumsiene claimed the drugs were for her ill mother and was detained for 75 days before being released on bail.

The news disgraced Rumsas, who had just won bronze in the Tour. His name was further stained when French officers discovered that Rumsiene was carrying anabolic substances, cortisone, testosterone and growth hormone medications.

In the wake of the scandal, Rumsas was banned for a year from the 2003 Giro d'Italia race for taking illegal drugs. Although he failed a test for EPO the cyclist has always denied taking any illegal substances.