Kreuziger on biological passport case: ‘Very few believe in the UCI’
MUSCAT, Oman (VN) — Roman Kreuziger questioned the objectivity of journalists and the UCI, and said he hopes the CAS will act appropriately when it rules on his ongoing biological passport case. The case and Kreuziger’s past involvement with doping doctor Michele Ferrari, however, have created a controversial image for Tinkoff-Saxo’s Czech cyclist.
“Very few believe in the UCI, that’s the problem,” Kreuziger told VeloNews, “but I hope that the CAS is objective.”
Kreuziger finished 12th Sunday at the Tour of Oman, his first race of what he hopes is a full season. Last year, ahead of the 2014 Tour de France, the UCI forced him to a stop for suspect biological passport readings.
The passport indicated that Kreuziger may have doped or manipulated his blood in the 2011 and 2012 seasons when he raced for Astana. Instead of supporting Alberto Contador in the Tour de France last summer, where he placed fifth in 2013, he had to begin preparing his legal defense.
Kreuziger argued that UCI’s medics mishandled his samples and that his under-active thyroid gland may have skewed his passport readings. The Czech Olympic Committee ruled in his favor and soon afterwards, the UCI, together with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), appealed the ruling to the CAS, sport’s high court in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Pending a decision by the court, which has yet to schedule the hearing on its already busy schedule, Kreuziger is free to race. He just finished Oman, but Tinkoff has yet to confirm his next events.
After several rejected attempts to speak with him in Oman, Kreuziger answered questions regarding his case.
VeloNews: Does it bother you that CAS has not yet set a date for your hearing?
Roman Kreuziger: No, they have to decide. If the other side is always dragging its feet, then you always have to wait. When an agreement is made on the date, it’ll go ahead.
VN: Do you feel that people have lost faith in you?
RK: No. For sure, not.
VN: In the past, you admitted to working with Michele Ferrari. Now, you are involved in a biological passport case. These things together do not create a good image for Roman Kreuziger.
RK: The shitty image, you make. You write the articles. You write them how you write them. I don’t see a problem, or why I shouldn’t be racing. I’m cleared. I’m a clean cyclist. So these articles with “black clouds” are useless because I’m a clean cyclist.
VN: It’s up to the courts to decide …
RK: But we don’t know when that will be.
VN: In the history of CAS, the court has never ruled against the biological passport.
RK: You’re mistaken. There are people who’ve won. In athletics. [Claudia] Pechstein. In cycling, too, I think.*
VN: What would you do if they suspend you? Have you thought about your future without cycling?
RK: I don’t have a response because I still don’t have a CAS hearing date, so I can’t think about that. Anyway, I’m convinced I’m going to win. I don’t think that I’ll lose.
VN: Can you explain why people should have faith in you?
RK: They should, there are no doubts. I’ve been transparent. And what more can I do to convince people? In the end, no one has done what I’ve done. I’ve published everything. More transparent than that, I can’t be.
VN: You’ve taken a polygraph test. Do you think that it will count for something in your case?
RK: It’s already been used at the CAS. More than once, they’ve accepted … They’ve taken it into consideration when they weren’t decided, so I think that it’s an extra to the [documents] that I already have that will convince them.
VN: Do you believe that polygraph tests are a way forward, that sport could use it to catch cheats as it does with the biological passport?
RK: Look, when someone tests positive, it’s useless to take a lie detector test, but every passport needs to be looked at separately, taking into consideration everything: If you have a disease, if you were sick, if you were at altitude, if you were training or not training, traveling or not traveling … You have to put everything together. It’s not easy.
VN: Have you ever doped or used banned substances?
RK: Certainly not. One only has to look at the responses that I gave during the lie detector test, the chance is only 0.0001 that you could be saying a lie.
VN: Have you ever manipulated your blood?
RK: Ah, come on! What are we talking about? Are we kidding ourselves? It’s absurd. This whole story is crazy. The people who’ve written so many articles, so many negative comments, will pay for this.
VN: Do you still have faith in the UCI?
RK: Very few believe in the UCI, that’s the problem, but I hope that the CAS is objective.
*Note: The CAS found German speed skater Claudia Pechstein guilty in 2009 despite her arguments that genetic abnormalities triggered her biological passport case. In January, however, a Munich civil court threatened CAS’s validity when it agreed to hear her case. VeloNews was unable to find examples when the CAS ruled in favor of the athlete in a biological passport case, contrary to Kreuziger’s comment. The court has upheld the passport in appeals by federations or athletes — for example, Leif Hoste, Pietro Caucchioli, and Franco Pellizotti.