Jacques Rogge has stepped in to counter the claims of a 'senior European IOC member' who claimed cycling was "serious danger of exiting the Olympics", after becoming a point of concern among International Olympic Committee members. IOC president Rogge has hit back at the claims, saying that the sport's exclusion from Olympic competition is not the answer to solving its doping problem.
"To exclude the sport from the Olympic Games is not a solution," he told reporters during a visit to Belgrade which is currently hosting the Youth Olympics. "You have to put everything into perspective. What is happening now in the Tour de France is first of all a sign that the mentality of the athletes must change drastically, and rapidly."
Rogge's comments come a day after UCI president Pat McQuaid moved to squash speculation over cycling's Olympic future. McQuaid defended the recent spate of non-negative samples as a sign the sport is successfully catching drug cheats and dealing with them.
"At the end of the day, while these things such as Vinokourov and Moreni and Rasmussen are shocks to the sport, it shows that cycling is dealing with the issues," McQuaid told Cyclingnews. "It proves that the sport is prepared to face these issues head on, to tackle them and not hide things under the counter.
"There are many other sports that don't have as much testing as we do, but it is only when you actually have controls that you catch people. If there is even only a small percentage of athletes who are prepared to cheat, by doing loads of controls then you're going to catch that percentage.
"I believe it is a small percentage, but I do believe that that small percentage needs to completely disappear. It is only then that we will get the credibility back."
McQuaid feels that there is no overnight remedy and that it will take time to chance a long-standing culture of doping within the sport. WADA chairman Dick Pound and the UCI disagreed over this on Thursday , with the former implying that the tougher anti-doping measures introduced should already have eliminated the problem and the latter saying that such measures will, by their nature, lead to an increased number of positives in the short term.