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Saturday 27, Apr 2013

  Kreuziger Refuses To Answer Questions On Doping

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Kreuziger Refuses To Answer Questions On Doping

Czech professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTour team Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Roman Kreuziger, refused to answer questions about alleged links to controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari.

The recently crowned Amstel Gold Race winner refused to entertain inquiries in both English and Italian from a handful of journalists before the team presentation ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The cyclist said he only wants to talk about the race and will speak about this theme after Romandie. Considered one of the biggest talents of the sport after winning the 2004 Junior Road World Championships and the 2008 Tour de Suisse at the age of 22, the 26-year-old Czech rider didn’t seem happy about the line of questioning and said he only wanted to talk about racing and directed questions toward the press officer of Team Saxo-Tinkoff. The cyclist then walked away and into a tent area where the media was not allowed to enter.

Team spokesman Anders Daamgaard said the Czech rider told him before the team presentation that he didn’t want to field questions about the alleged Ferrari links. The spokesman added that there is no official team statement on Kreuziger, and the Czech suggested he would speak about his past following the Tour de Romandie, April 23-28.

Kreuziger’s win at the Dutch classic puts him in the spotlight and revived questions about his alleged linked to Michele Ferrari, who has been banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Links between Ferrari and several former Liquigas riders were revealed by documents, via testimony of former Ferrari client Leonardo Bertagnolli, as part of USADA’s reasoned decision in the Lance Armstrong scandal. A former Liquigas rider, Bertagnolli, in a written affidavit in Italian, admitted that he worked with Ferrari with the knowledge and consent of Liquigas management and also claimed that Kreuziger was a Ferrari client, among others, including Franco Pellizotti and Enrico Gasparotto, all Liquigas riders at the time.

In 2009, Roman Kreuziger won the Tour de Romandie and was the victor of the Amstel Gold Race in 2013. Roman’s father, Roman Kreuziger Sr., was also a bicycle racer who won the Österreich Rundfahrt in 1991 and the Cyclocross Junior World Championships in 1983. After a successful amateur career which saw him win the Junior Road World Championships in 2004 and a stage of the Giro delle Regioni in 2005, Kreuziger turned professional in 2006 with Liquigas and took his first professional victory in the second stage of the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda. In late 2007, the cyclist was also able to complete his first Grand Tour after finishing 21st in the Vuelta a España. In 2008, Roman Kreuziger finished second in the youth competition, and 12th overall in his first Tour de France. Roman in 2012 finished third in the Tirreno-Adriatico and entered the 2012 Giro d’Italia leading Team Astana with Paolo Tiralongo. The cyclist left Astana at the end of the 2012 season, and joined Team Saxo-Tinkoff on a three-year contract from the 2013 season onwards.

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Thursday 08, Nov 2012

  Independence A Must For Clean Sport, Says Tygart

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Independence A Must For Clean Sport, Says Tygart

 USADA CEO Travis Tygart has said that the work is not done yet even though the lifetime ban and the disqualification of the results of Lance Armstrong are now secure.

The arbitration cases for Johan Bruyneel and Jose “Pepe” Martí are still lying in pending status and there is a huge possibility that more details may emerge from the seedy tale of the doping culture in cycling. Tygart, after unearthing the disturbing truths, sees independent organizations like USADA as the only way forward for the sport.

At times when the governing body of cycling was turning a blind eye to whistle-blowers such as Jörg Jaksche, Tyler Hamilton, and Floyd Landis, the United States Anti-Doping Agency was taking them seriously and started investigating on the allegations made by the former teammates of Lance Armstrong against him. Tygart said the reason why the cycling’s governing body failed to do so sooner was because of the inherent conflict of interest or “fox guarding the henhouse” that is key to cycling’s problems.

USADA chief said if a single precedent is established by the case of the disgraced cyclist, Armstrong, it is that clean athletes have now greater faith in the anti-doping establishments and trust that these institutions will not turn a blind eye, irrespective of how powerful or influential those who broke the rules may be. He added that the UCI was arguing and telling everyone that USADA was on a witch hunt and they seem to have no idea of what the evidence was, they sued Floyd Landis and called the whistle-blowers scum bags, these surely are not the actions one takes if the sport is to be moved in the right direction on this topic.

The differences between USADA and UCI emerged in public ahead of the 2011 Tour of California when the governing body of cycling said it wants the absolute results management authority and could only allow USADA to simply perform the controls. In 2010, a similar conflict happened between the UCI and French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) before the Tour de France. Meanwhile, the management committee of the UCI has decided to form an independent commission for examining the “various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair” but the USADA chief hopes the scope will be broader than just looking into a few important issues like the 2001 Tour de Suisse doping control of Lance Armstrong that was suspicious for EPO.

Tygart added that the USADA report into the Lance Armstrong doping scandal did to some extent what the Mitchell Report did for baseball. The report by USADA not only had a look into and exposed the past, but it also helped in learning lessons that one can unshackle himself from that past besides placing tangible recommendations to ensure the sport moves in the right direction. Tygart expressed hope that USADA, their equivalents around the world, and WADA itself, have demonstrated that they could offer a reasonable avenue for clean athletes to report on doping activities and said Armstrong scandal will surely send a very powerful deterrent and preventative message to those who cheat and think that they could get away with it or grow so big they become too big to fail.

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Tuesday 06, Nov 2012

  Jonathan Vaughters Calls For UCI To Split

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Jonathan Vaughters Calls For UCI To Split

Former professional cyclist Jonathan Vaughters who admitted to doping in an affidavit to USADA recently said the UCI, governing body of cycling, needs to distance itself from anti-doping controls.

The International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) head Jonathan Vaughters said he would like an independent audit on all the presently running anti-doping efforts and this will be of great use of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

AIGCP said its management committee will make an announcement this week on which sports body would be nominating members and define the scope of the commission. UCI had not yet contacted his organization, WADA’s director general, David Howman, said in an interview.

AIGCP members voted for supporting a proposal for an independent review of the anti-doping program of cycling ahead of UCI’s announcement of its plans for a commission. Pressure is mounting on UCI after Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his titles and banned for life by USADA, a decision that was later ratified by the governing body of cycling. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found through testimony from 11 of his former teammates, including Vaughters, that the disgraced cyclist doped for much of his career.

It was alleged by former teammates of Armstrong, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton that UCI had a part in Armstrong’s doping legacy and the cyclist bragged that the UCI helped cover up an alleged positive doping control from the 2001 Tour de Suisse. The allegation was however denied by UCI president Pat McQuaid but the management committee provided the green signal to a commission for examining it. The UCI stated, in a press release, that the scope of the commission will be to look into the different allegations made about the cycling’s governing body related to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and to identify ways for ensuring that sportsmen caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage.

The UCI has yet to respond to the proposal of the AIGCP, Vaughters said and added that he hopes the commission will examine the present anti-doping structure and explained that ideally the commission should make a recommendation to separate UCI from anti-doping operations as this will reduce the  chances of cover-up and bribery claims. He added that the anti-doping group should move to a different office and must be funded by teams and race organizers directly and WADA should have the ultimate authority and auditory power.

Vaughters of Garmin-Sharp has hired a number of ex-dopers and recently said Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, and David Zabriskie had doped in the past and he treats dopers and clean cyclists the same but with a condition that they will ride clean on his team and said he did not sign Jörg Jaksche not because he was a doper but because he loves to gossip and calling anyone and everyone a doper. Vaughters added that Jorge wants to be a leader but he believes that Jorge doesn’t have the physiological or social qualities to be a leader.

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