By Susan Westemeyer
Gerolsteiner Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer took the opportunity of the squad's presentation to express his faith in cycling's steps to save the sport from doping's destructive forces, reflecting on the 2007 season with a rather massive understatement, saying it "was not a good year for cycling". He made it clear that cycling itself was responsible for its own problems, and indicated that he is confident that the sport is making its own bold steps to solve the problem.
"What gives me courage not to quit is that changes are coming, they are happening," Holczer admitted. "Steps are being taken with an extraordinary control programme." This extraordinary programme in Holczer's mind is the UCI's programme and he sees no need to invest in an internal anti-doping programme to protect the team's image. "We have no internal anti-doping programme. We will follow the UCI anti-doping programme, the biological passport. "
Holczer was subtly critical of the internal programs of Team High Road, Team CSC, Astana, and Slipstream, which take large amounts of money from the team's budgets to fund tests which the UCI has based the biological passport upon. The internal program, he said, is "unnecessary and is the wrong step. As I see it, all the money that is put into this area should all go into a common program," Holczer continued.
He went on to say that he doesn't expect it all to be smooth sailing with the biological passports. "There will be problems, there will be positive tests, but that only goes to show that the programme works," he said, concluding, "No sport will ever be free of doping."
To read the full Gerolsteiner launch feature, click here.