French team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has spoken out in the midst of a season's end full of doping affairs and retired rider comebacks. The head of Bouygues Telecom, whose Jérôme Pineau has just won the seasonal French Cup on Thursday after Paris-Bourges, was more than annoyed at the recent positive doping tests of Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli, as well as with some of the comeback announcements of suspended riders such as Ivan Basso.
Bernaudeau felt that cycling did not do enough to oust the cheaters, and accused the media of taking advantage of the numerous affairs in pro cycling. "I know today that, despite what the sports authorities or the government say, all of "this" continues. The [anti-doping - ed.] measures are not effective," he said to L'Equipe. "[French cycling magazine] Velo-Magazine gives three pages to the comeback of Ivan Basso. I feel that everybody is an accomplice! For me, Ivan Basso is a guy that doesn't exist! He was part of the Puerto affair."
The Frenchman, who was himself a pro rider in the 1980's, is frustrated that once-convicted riders are given a second chance. "They tell us, managers, to not sign these riders. But these thieves of glory and results are still being taken on. The media are the first to talk about it. Everybody keeps it going. As for myself, I guide my team and find money - sponsors - to pay salaries to people that still believe in our sport."
Bernaudeau moreover promised to continue to speak out on the issue in the future. "It's evident that the more this continues, the less chances they will have to try and buy me. I am not corrupted, but some people have tried! I'm proud of doing something that goes into the right direction. Even if I may be a dreamer, I'm happy to work like this," he concluded.