Less than a week after the UCI and WADA announced they will appeal a ruling that cleared Roman Kreuziger in a doping case, Kreuziger’s legal team is defending the Czech rider.
Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) showed anomalies in his biological passport between March and August 2011, and April 2012 until the end of that year’s Giro d’Italia.
“We firmly believe that common sense will prevail. I should stress that the Czech Olympic Committee’s Arbitration Panel, the supreme independent body dealing with breaches of anti-doping regulations in the Czech Republic, cleared Roman of any wrongdoing,” said Dr. Jan Stovicek, Kreuziger’s legal counsel. “Roman Kreuziger has never exceeded the basal (extreme) values of the biological passport — if guilt is to be apportioned in such a case it begs the questions, what purpose do the basal values in an athlete’s biological passport actually serve? And, what are the clear criteria for determining guilt?
“Roman Kreuziger is thus innocent and should be treated accordingly.”
After joining Tinkoff in 2013, Kreuziger won the Amstel Gold Race and finished fifth at the Tour de France, riding in support of Alberto Contador.
Following his 2013 Amstel Gold win, however, Kreuziger admitted to having worked with controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari during 2006 and 2007. In 2002, the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) banned Ferrari from working with athletes in Italy.
Tinkoff kept him out of this year’s Tour de France but then grew frustrated by the UCI and attempted to start him in the Tour of Poland. Kreuziger was then provisionally suspended on August 2.
On September 22, the Czech Olympic Committee cleared Kreuziger of wrongdoing, and he returned to competition on October 1 in Italy’s Milano-Torino race — knowing full well that the UCI would appeal his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In addition to releasing a statement, Stovicek sent a letter to a Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) panel, presenting new evidence in the case. He claims Kreuziger has a thyroid condition for which he takes medication, and that the blood samples taken from him were mishandled.
“We are all in the same boat in the fight against cheats in sport. We are in agreement with colleagues from the UCI and CADF experts that the biological passport is a fantastic tool,” Stovicek said. “However, it needs to be used correctly and fairly. There is currently a lack of clear rules for determining what is and is not a breach of anti-doping rules. This lack of transparency opens the way for speculation, and this devalues the credibility of the entire system. This is something none of us want.
“Anti-doping regulations serve to protect decent athletes, and should not be a tool for bullying them. I understand that the UCI wants to demonstrate an uncompromising stance in the fight against doping in cycling. You cannot measure everyone by a different scale. It’s the same as accusing someone of murder because they have kitchen knives at home.
“The case of Roman Kreuziger is a very important precedent not just for cycling, but for all sports. Today it is Roman in the dock, but tomorrow it could be any other athlete. We are confident that the CAS will decide this case quickly and impartially and will not permit an honest man to be prevented from carrying on his profession. We should not allow the fight against doping to become a witch hunt.”