UCI Chief Wants Vinokourov And Riis To Testify

Brian Cookson, the UCI president, has called upon Alexandr Vinokourov and Bjarne Riis to testify before the independent commission on the doping history of cycling. Cookson urged Riis and Vinokourov, the heads of the two most prominent teams in this year’s Tour de France, to make this effort to help the sport move from its disgraced past.

At the Tour de France finish in Paris, Cookson said he would like both of them to come to the commission. The UCI head remarked the commission doesn’t have powers of subpoena, but there is a court of public opinion here which is really important and those two people and others as well need to bear that in mind if they want to continue to operate in our world, opinion in the world of cycling would be much more favorable towards them if they came forward.

Cookson said he believes the cycling’s independent commission could help in the process of rebuilding within the sport. The UCI President said we have got a rule that says if you have got a major anti-doping violation you can’t be involved with a team, but our advice is that it’s difficult to employ that retroactively. He added so what he wants to try to do is find ways in which we can reassure people that the people who are involved in the sport who may have had a history have renounced that and given a commitment to work with us in a way that respects the rules, and is clean. Cookson added such and such a guy may have done wrong things but he was penalized for that, served his sanction and he has also spoken to the commission and told them about what happened. He went on to add that it is unrealistic to say we have to wipe out those people forever and ever and remarked there are teams that have tried that – his friends at Team Sky – and they have tied themselves in knots and other teams have tried other ways and found other complications.

Brian Cookson remarked he would not favor compelling former dopers who want to work within cycling to first testify to the commission. Cookson said he would rather want that it was by consent rather than compulsion and those people can come forward now. The UCI chief also said he would like to appeal to those people to show good faith at least and he expects them to come forward to the commission, to tell what happened, how it happened, and why it happened.

   The UCI President said he is “delighted” that Lance Armstrong has testified to the commission and remarked that it underlines that people are coming forward, people of significance, and that should encourage others to step forward because what we want to do is learn some lessons, take some action and address this situation of people who’ve been involved in doping being involved with teams.

In 2007, Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping but now is in charge of the Tour de France winner’s Astana squad. Riis, in charge of Tinkoff-Saxo, admitted to using erythropoietin to win the 1996 Tour. Riis was initially expunged from the record but subsequently reinstated.

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