By Susan Westemeyer and Laura Weislo
The news of Vinokourov's positive test drew strong reactions from the rest of the cycling world, from riders, team directors and fans alike, and could very well put sponsorships which are hanging by a thread to an end. T-Mobile is expected to announce its decision on whether to continue to support that team next week, and it remains to be seen if the sport's general managers will be able to successfully spin the event into a positive light. The first reactions, however, were decidedly dreary, while later reactions revealed a glimmer of hope.
Eric Boyer, Team Manager, (Cofidis):
"I feel sick. I hope that Vinokourov won't be a coward and deny everything. He said that he worked with Ferrari just for training plans. He always told us what a brave guy he is, that he is stronger than the pain, that the French ride behind everyone else because they are lazier. Now we see that he is a big bastard. These practices discredit all of cycling again."
Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile Team):
"This is naturally very bad and I feel like Vinokourov has made a fool of me, but it shows that the controls work."
Jonathan Vaughters Team Manager, (Team Slipstream):
"If you declare war on doping there will be some casualties. Sinkewitz and Vino are both signs that the UCI isn't pulling any punches. Maybe its further damage to the sport's reputation, but it serves to clean it up.
"It's very good news for young riders. If people really want clean sport, this is what has to happen. The majority of the riders have cleaned up, so the few who persist are not trying to even the playing field, but instead are trying to cheat. They stick out like sore thumbs these days, and the UCI knows who they are.
"Anne Gripper, the new head of antidoping efforts at the UCI is a smart and tough Aussie lady. She will get the job done, no matter how much pain it causes, so my advice is to not mess with her. Nature culls sick herds of animals. Cycling is just going through a natural culling....sad to say, but true. The riders and teams that have chosen to be clean will survive this. We will too."