April 20, 2007
Tour director Prudhomme wants Puerto riders excluded again
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme still wants riders implicated in last year's Operación Puerto to be banned from this year's race, potentially derailing Ivan Basso's plans to ride for wins in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.
In a story in L'Equipe, Prudhomme said, “Cycling cannot afford to let riders named in the case enter the Tour if they are not cleared of suspicion.”
Jan Ullrich, who announced his retirement last month, is the only rider currently facing charges for involvement in the investigation. Other riders, including Basso, were named by investigators as possible clients of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, but, one by one, the others have been cleared by their national federations. The case was closed when a Spanish judge found that no laws were likely broken in Spain, which had no anti-doping law.
Prudhomme told L'Equipe that the DNA link that German officials claim to have made between Ullrich and 9 bags of blood stored by Fuentes gives him hope: “Now we know it's possible to establish the truth.”
No riders were 'cleared' by their national federation. They were told they couldn't use the information whilst the legal process was underway. The legal proces has determined that no laws were broken in Spain at the time, therefore nothing can progress legally against Fuentes et al. The national federations now have the freedom to determine if any doping infractions have occured, it appears Italy is taking this responsibility seriously - congratulations to Italy. I hope Basso is clean, but if he is not, he needs to be out of the Peleton.
Posted by: Jon at Apr 25, 2007 7:07:20 AM
Prudhomme and the rest can carry on with their sanctimonious declarations that they "know it's possible to establish the truth,” but given their arbitrary methodologies, the inability of WADA to control information (or at least keep it out of L'Equipe's hands), and the love these various organizations have for trying athletes in the court of public opinion, I'm pretty skeptical of anything they put in front of us. Sally Jenkins' article for the WaPo has a pretty fair take on the credibility of WADA and USADA. I recommend it to everyone before bringing out the tar and feathers.
Posted by: cyntax at Apr 25, 2007 12:22:38 PM