Germans stage public 'tit for tat'

Jörg Jaksche and Patrik Sinkewitz have both responded to Gerolsteiner's Markus Fothen, who blasted...

Jörg Jaksche and Patrik Sinkewitz have both responded to Gerolsteiner's Markus Fothen, who blasted the two confessed dopers earlier this week on German television, saying, "First they lie forever and then after being caught, they confess everything in order to slide into the 'cooperative witness' program and get a reduced sentence -- that's a no-go." Fothen was also critical that the pair would want to come back to the sport.

At a discussion at the German Sport University in Cologne, Jaksche noted that Fothen has had a positive doping test, according to the dpa. "He was tested positive once, too, for cortisone. Those days it was easy enough to explain away the problem with a faked medical certificate." Fothen answered that by explaining that after an eye operation in 2004, he had eye drops with cortisone in them, for which he had the appropriate certificate. He presented the UCI and the German federation with the certificate when a doping control came back noting "traces of cortisone." Fothen refused further comment, saying he didn't want to discuss the matter "on this level".

Sinkewitz responded, also on German television. "If Mr. Fothen has such a clear conscience, then he can say things like that. But I don't think that it is very helpful. Besides, he contradicts himself: On the one hand, he wants a clean sport, on the other hand, he has no understanding for people who want to help. No rider will admit something before it is proved. Actually he ought to applaud our statements. We have learned from our mistakes and have helped cause the system which he has criticized to get cleaner. In my eyes, it is not a solution to exclude riders or team workers who have confessed and to continue working with those who aren't any better."

Fothen had also criticized World Champion Paolo Bettini for not signing the UCI's 'Riders' commitment for a new cycling, to which Italian national team manager Franco Ballerini responded that Fothen did not understand what Bettini had done.

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