Posted by Editoress on 06/23/07
"Man in black" - Vinokourov Smells Campaign
Thanks to Frank Bodenmüller for his assistance with this news.
Team Astana's ProTour star Alexandre Vinokurov is defending himself and his team against doping suspicions, initiated by Anne Gripper, chief of the UCI anti-doping-programme.
"They want to frighten us. But I am very calm/relaxed." Vinokurov said in an interview with L'Equipe earlier in the week. Vinokurov was responding to the comments of Ms Gripper, who declared last Wednesday that the UCI doping-hunters have six or seven of the top ten riders in focus because of abnormal blood characteristics. Gripper did not name riders, but these are the riders that are expected to be on top in the Tour de France.
The riders have been surprised with unannounced training controls during the last few weeks. Three of these pros have been found training in black jerseys without the usual team clothing.
Vinokurov complains "Stop these 'men in black' fantasies; the riders should not be identified by their jerseys." The Astana rider says he is wearing black jerseys when training at the Riviera because he wants to hide from the many tourists and fans.
"If you are preparing for a Tour de France it is not helpful to have 20 riders for hours on your back wheel."
Vinokurov confirmed that he has been tested three times unannounced during the training in this season. One time before the Fleche Wallone, one time in April on Tenerife and in the beginning of June at his home in Monaco.
"If there would have been any abnormalities I would have been the first who heared about it. Till today I got no post from the UCI".
The former T-Mobile captain defended his friendship to his former team doctor Lothar Heinrich and to Michele Ferrari. Armstrong also worked with Ferrari Vinokurov points out.
Vinokurov sees himself up against a campaign. "Those who want to destroy me should know that I am hard. I will not step back." And, although he finds it strange, he will sign the UCI declaration. (see document below)
Note: Despite loud sanctimonious protests by German TV that cycling is dirty and they won't cover the Tour much, the networks have scheduled 89 hours of coverage for the Tour...
Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) Statement regarding UCI's 'Riders' commitment to a new Cycling' program
The CPA deplores the fact that the UCI did not expose the details of the "riders' commitment for a new cycling " (see document below) during the meeting that took place on June 15 in Aigle. It also regrets it was not informed about the choice of the riders who signed the document in the presence of the press. It considers that the UCI should have informed it, more in detail, about the step which it was going to take.
Moreover, that commitment which the riders were requested to sign without reserve, has been interpreted in different ways by the bunch.
On the one hand, many riders received this initiative very positively on account of the fact that they want to show, and for a long time, that their behaviour is irreproachable and that they have nothing to hide as for their sport results. Above all, they want to fight on equal terms and in all honesty throughout the season and in all the competitions.
Other riders feel that measure like being one constraint more and are frustrated because it was taken without prior dialogue with their representatives. However these same riders acknowledge the fact that, given the current circumstances, it would not be credible to refuse to submit to that obligation.
The CPA is conscious that it is time to stop beating about the bush and that it is necessary for the collective to definitively become aware of the fact that the profession is in danger and of the existing peril that, shortly, more and more sponsors could disappear. As a consequence the contracts would be likely not to meet any longer the financial conditions compared with the hard job of professional cyclist.
It is obvious that this measure shows, once more, that a majority of clean riders continue to pay the consequences of some cheaters' irresponsible behaviours who must be excluded from the bunch. These cheaters have not understood yet that they are encircled by the zero allowance and that, sooner or later, they will irremediably be unmasked.
In other respects, the CPA is glad about the fact that, finally, the fight to finish cleaning our sport is not longer centred exclusively on the riders. The CPA requires that the UCI complete, as soon as possible, and as it declared on June 19 in Geneva, the implementation of an ethical code for the totality of the people belonging, closely or distantly, to the staff of professional teams. The CPA reminds that it expressed this wish on several occasion these last years to the UCI so that the riders are no longer the only ones to be punished.
On principle of equality, it considers that the implementation of an ethical code applied to the organizers is also necessary.
Finally, the CPA and all the professional riders wish that the differences showed for too long in our circle, definitively make way for a long-lasting atmosphere of intelligence and comprehension shared by all the stakeholders.
UCI unveils the "Riders' commitment to a new Cycling"
At a press conference held after a meeting in Geneva (June 19th) with the 20 teams that hold UCI ProTour licences, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced a series of new measures to combat doping.
The main initiative is the "Riders' commitment to a new Cycling". The UCI has requested the teams to invite their riders to sign this declaration.
By signing the Commitment, the riders swear that they are not involved in OperaciÃƒÂ³n Puerto or any other doping affairs and that they will not contravene any of the UCI's anti-doping regulations. In order to confirm their commitment, riders signing the declaration agree to pay an amount equal to their annual salary for 2007 to the UCI's anti-doping campaign if they break their pledge.
The names of riders who have signed the " Riders' commitment to a new Cycling " will be added to a list published on the UCI website. Two riders signed the declaration at the press conference: French rider Sandy Casar (FranÃƒÂ§aise des Jeux) and British rider Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile).
Other measures, which form part of the same strategy and also concern undertakings by riders, were also announced.
Riders signing the Commitment are also making a declaration to the Spanish authorities that their DNA is available for comparison with the blood samples seized during OperaciÃƒÂ³n Puerto. The riders request the Spanish authorities to arrange this comparison as quickly as possible or allow the UCI to organise it.
The UCI ProTour Council (UPTC) met in Geneva on the previous day, June 18.
After acknowledging the satisfactory progress of negotiations with the organisers of the three Grand Tours and the IPCT (International Professional Cycling Teams), UPTC notes that agreement has not yet been reached.
As it was convened on 3 April to resolve matters for the 2008 season by 30 June in the interest of the teams and to guarantee the proper functioning of the 2008 season, UPTC has taken the following decision: in accordance with UCI ProTour principles, teams holding licences shall have the right and obligation to participate in all the events on the UCI ProTour calendar, including ASO, RCS and Unipublic races.
UPTC also acknowledges the cancellation of the 2007 ZÃƒÂ¼ri Metzgete (Championship of ZÃƒÂ¼rich). The Swiss race will not be replaced. A new procedure for the allocation of licences shall be implemented for the 2008 season in accordance with UCI ProTour regulations.
The riders must sign the following document
Riders' commitment to a new cycling
The Puerto affair highlighted the serious problem of doping in cycling. This, like all other doping cases, greatly harms my sport and me personally.
The uncertainty surrounding the identity of riders and other people who could be involved in the Puerto affair is also very harmful and will continue to be until the case is closed.
Currently, there is a climate of suspicion. It is undermining the credibility of my sport and is eroding the trust of the public, authorities, organisers and my colleagues.
For these reasons, I want to make a contribution to putting the situation right and making cycling clean by signing the statement below, to demonstrate that I fully adhere to the principles defended by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Ã‚Â«I do solemnly declare, to my team, my colleagues, the UCI, the cycling movement and the public that I am not involved in the Puerto affair nor in any other doping case and that I will not commit any infringement to the UCI anti-doping rules. As proof of my commitment, I accept, if it should happen that I violate the rules and am granted a standard sanction of a two-year suspension or more, in the Puerto affair or in any other anti-doping proceedings, to pay the UCI, in addition to the standard sanctions, an amount equal to my annual salary for 2007 as a contribution to the fight against doping.
At the same time, I declare to the Spanish Law, that my DNA is at its disposal, so that it can be compared with the blood samples seized in the Puerto affair. I appeal to the Spanish Law to organise this test as soon as possible or allow the UCI to organise it.
Finally, I accept the UCI's wish to make my statement publicÃ‚Â».
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