The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Belgian Jacques Rogge, has spoken out in favour of the creation of a DNA database assembling the vital facts of all top-level athletes, including cyclists. In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, Rogge considered this to be the next step in the fight against doping, not only within cycling, but also in other sports.
"Today, the riders have to give urine and blood samples. Tomorrow, this has to include DNA also," Rogge stated. "It's not very painful: a pin prick inside the cheek, a bit of hair... that's less painful than blood extraction. The data would be well-stored and protected. Tell me, what's the problem?"
The IOC boss went even further, saying that the fight against doping needed the interventions of police authorities to be successful. "(A DNA database), together with more controls, home searches, telephone taps... We have to find the next Fuentes fast."
Still, Rogge presented himself as a firm supporter of the presumption of innocence, and said that Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich should not be excluded from their sport, as their guilt had not been established. "The question of whether or not they are guilty has not yet been answered," he added. "Basso, Ullrich and the others are therefore free to race wherever they want to. Now, does this annoy me as a sports fan? Yes. But should we be allowed to exclude them? No. I don't find it particularly pleasant to tolerate them in the peloton, but it is necessary. The presumption of innocence is a sacred principle to me.
"We can't hold a with hunt without proof - the ProTour teams have to understand that. It's not enough to be convinced of somebody's guilt," Rogge concluded.