By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor In a pre-Vuelta telephone press conference Tuesday,...
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
In a pre-Vuelta telephone press conference Tuesday, Discovery Channel director Johan Bruyneel spoke about the latest reports on OperaciÃ³n Puerto, particularly in light of the Vuelta starting in a few days. "I understand the UCI has sent several teams names of riders that they assume are implicated in the affair," he said. "I can say first we did not receive any names and we don't have anybody implicated in that affair."
When asked what his thoughts are of the way the revelations are being handled, Bruyneel expressed his contempt for the UCI, citing his and other director sportifs asking, then demanding that the governing body take action. "I think we are back at the same point where we were before the Tour de France. It's up to the teams to make a decision and I am a bit disappointed about that. If there is an authority then the authority needs to take the responsibility and not leave it up to the teams."
"All of the teams sat together at a meeting last week and we were pushing towards certain things. One of the issues we asked for was to take out all of the people who are under suspicion for the time being until the situation is more clear. We sent that message to the UCI but at the same time they have not followed us in that way of thinking. We asked the UCI to provisionally suspend two teams, Phonak and Astana, because of the large amount of people implicated."
Bruyneel also noted that the major revelations seem to come in step with major cycling events which does not make matters any better for the sport. "It's sad we are in the same situation before one of the three big events of the year. It would have been easy for the UCI to have done this weeks ago and ultimately take the responsibility themselves and say, 'This needs to happen and this is what has to happen.' I don't think it does the sport any good to send these messages out on the eve of big events, and on top of it, not taking a clear standpoint."
"The sport is not in a good spot right now and something has to happen. What has to happen is that there has to be a get-together of the main actors -- organisers, teams and the UCI -- and we all have to do the same thing. I hope that that the teams involved will take the necessary action, but ultimately I am disappointed in what our governing body is doing about this."