In his most recent interview, Bernhard Kohl stated that all top 10 riders in last year's Tour de France could have tested positive. This sweeping assessment would include fifth-place finisher Christian Vande Velde of the staunchly anti-doping team Garmin-Slipstream. Garmin-Slipstream manager Jonathan Vaughters countered the Austrian's comments when speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday.
Vaughters was looking to bolster his 2009 roster during last year's Tour, and Kohl was one of the riders he approached to discuss a possible contract. The negotiations fell through when it came time to examine Kohl's blood profile results.
"We look at a lot of results and have very high standards when it comes to hiring," Vaughters said.
"When speaking with Kohl's manager, we asked for his UCI tests. The way this normally works is that the UCI would send the results with permission of the rider. However, in this case his manager emailed some test results. Since this did not follow protocol, there was no way to verify the authenticity. It was an action that did not meet our or other standards and made us lose interest in working with them."
Kohl later tested positive for EPO CERA, admitted that he doped and said he would retire from the sport rather than live a life of lies.
Vaughters' story seems to run counter to Kohl's assertion that the blood passport results were beneficial in helping riders to regulate their doping.
Vaughters said he still believes the passport is effective, and disagreed with Kohl's view that all of the top riders were doping.
"I think with the passage of time, the passport system will be shown to have a great effect on the sport. I believe 100% the Tour can be won by a clean rider. If I had serious doubts about this, I would have no interest in continuing in this line of work, that is certain.
"There's no point in running a clean team if you feel its impossible to win in that context. It is not. Period."
That said, Vaughters expressed his support of Kohl's openness. "I do applaud Kohl's transparency and his helping WADA and other anti-doping officials."