- - Cookson Wants Riis and Vinokourov to Talk About Doping

Cookson Wants Riis and Vinokourov to Talk About Doping

UCI President Brian Cookson is calling upon Bjarne Riis and Alexander Vinokourov to talk more openly about their past "doping" practices, and to testify before the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC).

“I would like both of them to come to the commission,” Cookson told the media. “The commission doesn’t have powers of subpoena, but there is a court of public opinion here which is really important; 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.”

The UCI established CIRC as an independent commission to investigate past allegations concerning "doping" in the sport. 


Vinokourov is general manager of the Astana team, which won the Tour de France last weekend.

The former Russian cyclists served a two year ban for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France, but has never publicly confessed to having doped. He was prominent at this year race and celebrated on the Champs Elysees with his champion Vincenzo Nibali on Sunday.

Riis confessed in 2007 to having doped throughout his career, to include when he won the 1996 Tour de France. 

In 2001 he became the general manager and owner of what is now known as team Tinkoff-Saxo. This season he stepped down to become sport director after selling the team to Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov for a reported six million Euro.

Their continued involvement in the sport is one of the questions that is being looked at by the CIRC.

“We’ve got a rule that says if you’ve 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," Cookson said.

"So what I want 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."

“You have to have some possibility for redemption in any judicial system. It’s unrealistic to say we have to wipe out those people for ever and ever. There are teams that have tried that – my friends at Sky – and they have tied themselves in knots. Other teams have tried other ways and found other complications.”

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