By Susan Westemeyer and Katharina Schulz
Kurt-Asle Arvesen of Team CSC has learned the hard way that it may be better not to speak to the press right after crossing the finish line "after a 250 km long stage in one of the hardest races in the world, the Giro d'Italia".
Saturday afternoon, he was asked about his reaction to team chief Bjarne Riis' doping confession. He answered that it is worse to drive too fast in a school zone than to dope, since speeders took the risk of killing children, and dopers are only hurting themselves.
The Norwegian Cycling Federation (NCF) took exception to this comment, which it thought trivialized doping. Harald Tiedman Hansen, second vice president of the federation, said, "We at the NCF think that this statement should never have been made. It is very unlucky, that something like that is said".
On his website, kurtaslearvesen.com, Arvesen later acknowledged that his response should have been different, or that it would have been better if he had not answered at all.
"I have absolutely nothing to do with doping and support no athlete who dopes," he stated. "Doping is unforgivable."
He explained his statement to the NCF, to the satisfaction of both sides. Both sides agreed that the statement was affected by the situation under which it was made, and that the media had made too much of it.