UCI President hopes public opinion will encourage people to talk about their pasts
UCI President Brian Cookson has called on Bjarne Riis and Alexander Vinokourov to testify before the CIRC, the independent commission which is looking into doping and cycling. The two team managers have both been involved in doping scandals during their careers but continue to play important roles inside professional teams.
"I would like both of them to come to the commission," Cookson told the Guardian.com website. "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 favourable towards them if they came forward."
The UCI established the Cycling Independent Reform Commission to "investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years". It is funded by the UCI but works independently and is due to complete its work later this year.
Vinokourov is general manager of the Astana team, which won the Tour de France with Vincenzo Nibali. Vinokourov 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 Nibali on Sunday.
Riis confessed in 2007 to having doped throughout his career, including when he won the 1996 Tour de France. In 2001 he became the general manager and owner of the team now known as 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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