T-Mobile General Manager Bob Stapleton had strong words for the director of the Quickstep team, Patrick Lefevere today, according to AFP. Stapleton called Lefevere part of "the old guard" of cycling, and criticised him regarding the reports in the Belgian newspapers earlier this year that claimed he was involved in systematic doping and the fact that his was the last to sign the UCI rider agreement.
"He has been doing this job for 30 years and he's accused by a Belgian paper to have encouraged doping in the past. And his team was the last to sign the UCI agreement, that is unacceptable," Stapleton complained in an interview to Welt am Sonntag. "A lot of the people currently responsible for the teams have been deep in the system for years, even decades, and they don't think they can be competitive without doping, " added Stapleton.
"We have to convince the old guard that it is possible to fellow a different track; with more than half of the ProTour teams it is difficult to establish a co-operation, there is a lack of solidarity and there are deficits at the management level.
"Let's say if all the world would be clean, it'd be difficult to predict the Tour and there wouldn't be any favourites," he emphasised. Lefevere is president of the ProTour teams group, the AIGCP, and has been prominently featured with UCI president Pat McQuaid and Tour director Christian Prudhomme as a promoter of antidoping efforts.
However, a squabble broke out at the AIGCP meeting this week when T-Mobile and several other teams voiced objections to what they claimed were other, mainly Spanish, teams not abiding the terms of the UCI rider agreement the riders signed in the past weeks.