No Point Just Blaming The Riders, Says Ashenden

Anti-doping researcher Dr Michael Ashenden has defended cyclists and said they are afraid to tell the truth about doping.

Ashenden added there are more skeletons in the closet and remarked there is no question cyclists are afraid to tell the truth about what has happened both in the past and what’s continuing to happen today. The anti-doping researcher, who was behind the highly successful blood passport system with the International Cycling Union (UCI), said he is in touch with cyclists who have told him things that he is not able to take to the authorities because they (cyclists) won’t put their name to it. He went on to add that he would certainly pass the information anonymously to the authorities but unless there’s a name they can then go to corroborate that evidence, there’s nothing they can do.

The researcher added the issue of doping in cycling is bigger than the individuals who are found guilty and remarked it is not just about pulling out more cyclists and labeling them drug cheats. He said it is about asking them who was encouraging you or who was aware of this and was there any sort of structural flaws that need to be brought into the open. Ashenden said he believes that it’s the environment more than anything that has led to the problem we’ve got today.

Michael Ashenden and the UCI were clashing often in the last few months after the world governing body of cycling claimed Ashenden has an ‘astonishingly inaccurate knowledge’ of the system. UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani dismissed the anti-doping researcher’s assertion that he never had the opportunity to review Lance Armstrong’s profile. Carpani remarked Ashenden was the only one to have defined Armstrong’s profile as “normal” without making any other remarks, comments, or reservations and added the relevant documents are available for inspection by Dr Ashenden at any time should he wish to come and verify the truth of the above information.

Ashenden, replying to Carpani’s allegations, said given Armstrong’s blood results have been published and are public record, and given we now know that the anonymous code assigned to Armstrong’s results is BPT374F23, it may be possible for the remaining experts to check their own records to confirm whether they ever saw Armstrong’s suspicious results. He went on to add that he has checked his archives and cannot find any trace of the profile BPT374F23 having been sent to him again after May 2009. Ashenden concluded that whereas he had suspected this previously, it has now been confirmed that he was never asked to review the suspicious blood results of Lance Armstrong from the 2009 Tour de France.

President of Cycling Australia Klaus Mueller said he believed Australia led the way in terms of its anti-doping practices. He added there is no suggestion that the sort of conduct that we’re speaking about that’s happening overseas in the peloton, is happening over here and said he thinks we’ve got in place in Australia world’s best practices and that’s not to say that they can’t be made substantially better, but they are presently world’s best practices in relation to detecting and clamping down on dopers.

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