By Susan Westemeyer
Jörg Jaksche is a bitter man, after suffering the aftereffects of being named in the Operación Puerto affair. "All of the suspects were guilty and had to be suspended, it was said. And what happened? Not one single rider has been suspended, but 30 pro cyclists lost their jobs.
"Nobody is taking responsibility for this," he said in an interview with the Austrian Radwelt magazine. "We're looking at the ruins of our sport, although not sanctions have been imposed. The image of cycling is equally destroyed as the existence of many riders."
In an effort to prove his innocence, Jaksche has offered to submit a DNA sample. "A few weeks ago I sent a letter to the UCI, in which I told President [Pat] McQuaid that I was prepared to give a DNA sample at any time and under any conditions. Until today, I have not received any answer."
Jaksche blasted the DNA test as useless, however. "Everyone thinks that a DNA test can prove that a cheater is guilty of doping. No way and never," he said. "A DNA test is not a doping control and will never be recognized as such."
"If I had given up three bags of blood by Dr. Fuentes," he continued, "And if they could be identified as mine by a DNA test, that wouldn't be enough for a doping ban. It would only show that I had given the blood. Giving blood alone is not a doping violation."
After the Austrian Professional Continental Team Volksbank confirmed that it was negotiating with Jaksche, Deutschland Tour director Kai Rapp indicated that he would withdraw the team's invitation to his race. This was enough to scare Volksbank off, although Rapp later moderated his view.
"A small team was blackmailed by the Deutschland Tour," is how Jaksche saw it. "It was basically, either you don't take Jaksche or you don't ride the tour." He added, "I was never positive, never in prison, there are no proceedings against me and my license wasn't taken away. But nevertheless, Volksbank was forced to turn away from signing me."
Jaksche also blasted fellow German rider Jens Voigt. "Jens Voigt is to me the biggest hypocrite. He rode together on a team with Ivan Basso and earned hundreds of thousands of euros through him. And when Basso is down, he kicks him. But he's happy enough to keep the money."
He is still optimistic about riding again, if not in this season. "Right now it doesn't look bad, even if I wouldn't want to bet everything on it. I'm talking to a couple of teams, and I'll keep up with them. If it doesn't work out, then I'll take the year off and keep on training, so that I can come back at my full strength in 2008."