By Susan Westemeyer
Jörg Jaksche is another Operación Puerto rider who has found a team and rejoined the pro peloton. Riding for Team Tinkoff, Jaksche says that he has nothing to fear from any further steps in the doping scandal. "I have done everything that the UCI has asked, " the 30-year-old said in an interview with sport1.at. "I was even the only rider who declared himself ready to give a voluntary DNA sample. But everything is very unclear. Who knows, what will happen. I have the impression that something has to happen, because certain people have leaned too far out the window."
The 30-year-old explained further: "These people have to figure with legal steps against them, if they have falsely accused riders like Ivan Basso of doping. Our status has fallen from a respected rider to that of a beggar. Someone has to pay for that damage. That's why they are so interested that the investigation reach the results they want."
Does he believe that Basso will be allowed to ride the Tour de France this year? "He will definitely ride. His sponsors will make sure of that. Nike is Basso's main personal sponsor and an official partner of the Tour. Versus (an American television network that used to be called Outdoor Life network and that broadcasts the Tour de France in the US) belongs to Discovery Channel, and as far as I know, has bought the US TV rights to the Tour for the next four years. So theoretically speaking, Basso shouldn't have any problem in France."
Jaksche sympathized with landsman Jan Ullrich. "I'm sorry that Ullrich has been so massacred. It's really awful. I don't believe that he cheated. I have information from every possible side -- there are many rumours going around, all concerning Jan's innocence. They sound plausible. He's never been found to have cheated."
Jaksche is confident that there will be no match of his DNA samples to blood bags taken in the investigation. "Why else would I agree to a DNA test? If I didn't have a clear conscience, then I would never have offered the comparison, rather I would have tried to stop it. I am ready for it at any time. As soon as the UCI has the documents out of Spain, it will happen."
He doesn't like the suggestion that Tinkoff has a bad reputation because it has hired several prominent riders who have been involved in doping cases, such as Tyler Hamilton and Danilo Hondo. "That's just hypocrisy," he said. "Why do they always pick on Tinkoff? Gerolsteiner has two Directeur Sportif who were caught, and numerous riders who have something dirty to hide. Certain people make it easy for themselves, in that they simply forget the past."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto