Andreas Klöden (Astana) has finally signed the UCI riders' agreement "because I want to start the Tour de France." The German rider expressed his disagreement with the UCI's actions.
In an interview to German paper Die Welt the podium-hopeful for the Tour declared that "again a decision was made without involving the athletes. I am at an age where I don't want to be shifted around like a chess piece."
Klöden explained that there is always a chance to fall into a case with contaminated samples and then "I have to pay back a year's salary. I have a family to feed." The German declared that he is afraid of doping controls, not because he has something to hide, but because of a false positive.
The recent string of admissions surprised him and he never would have believed that people like Henn, Bölts or Zabel took drugs. The stories of Bert Dietz and Jörg Jaksche on the other hand he thinks were triggered by the six-figure sums they allegedly received. "I'd only believe it if they pay back every cent they earned illegally."
Klöden is vehemently opposed to an amnesty. He says that despite being treated by the two T-Mobile doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid he has not doped. Asked what he does so people can believe him he replied that "I am obliged to tell the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] three months ahead of time when I am going somewhere. I have to tell them exactly where I can be reached mornings and afternoon for a three-month period. The UCI is getting the same information, along with the German Anti-Doping Agency [NADA] and the Swiss anti-doping office."
When confronted with the fact that many riders have been slipping through the controls the Astana rider gets frustrated. "Should I now also take on making sure the labs have better control methods? I can only say it and show it. If 20 or 30 people dope that doesn't mean everyone does it. There are riders who risk doping so they can get where a Jan Ullrich, a Michael Schumacher or a Boris Becker had been." Klöden concluded that if "everyone did what I am doing cycling would be clean."
"In 2001 I was already excited three weeks ahead of time. I am certain this Tour will be less about the sport and more about doping. It's a horror scenario." One that he'd be prepared to even leave the Tour for, if things get too much out of hand.
On the sporting side he has prepared to be able to contend for the overall victory. Although he thought that "this year's winner may have less fun than the victors in the 1990s, when everything was still OK."