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Bradley Wiggins (Sky) believes that professional riders should publish their UCI biological passport data online in order to give the sport greater transparency.
Wiggins finished fourth in the 2009 Tour de France and admits that the result encouraged him to post his passport data from the race in a bid to prove he raced clean.
“I think it was the natural thing. Everyone thought I was on gear after that and I can’t blame people for that,” Wiggins told Cyclingnews from the Team Sky training camp earlier this week.
“I would have thought the same thing about someone who had come from absolutely out of nowhere from the gruppetto and finished fourth on the Tour and JV [ed. former team boss, Jonathan Vaughters at Garmin] just said to me, ‘we did it with Christian Vande Velde last year, what do you think?’ I said, ‘let’s do it.’”
Wiggins' values for the period February 16, 2008 to July 28, 2009 were made public on July 31, just days after the Tour, and roughly 18 months on he would like more riders to follow his example.
“I think they should make these things public,” he said.
“The whole blood passport should be on [the] internet, every rider in the peloton. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be. It’s got to that stage now where if there’s nothing to hide why aren’t they up there? You can pull up in any walk of life, company accounts, people’s tax and that’s public knowledge, so I don’t see why the blood passport shouldn’t be public knowledge. It will silence people or challenge certain things but I don’t see what harm it would do. It would give you credibility in the public’s eyes … but I don’t think everyone would agree to it, maybe for moral reasons or people thinking that it might be an invasion of privacy.”
Another rider who published his passport data in light of his 2009 Tour de France result was Lance Armstrong. The American returned to competitive racing that year after a three year absence and finished a place ahead of Wiggins in the Tour GC.
However, his data was put through far more scrutiny at the time and in an unrelated matter, the American is now facing a US FDA investigation into doping practices at the US Postal team.
Wiggins is a firm believer that Armstrong is innocent until proven guilty, admitting that he is a fan of the seven-time Tour winner.
“I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Lance and have sided on the side of innocent until proven guilty with him. There isn’t an athlete or a cyclist out there that isn’t more tested than he is, certainly since his comeback, he’s probably been the most tested cyclist in the pro peloton and you take that on face value and that he’s never failed a drugs test and until he does he’s clean. That’s how I’ve always had as a stance on Lance.”
The contention that Armstrong is the most tested athlete now or in any of his years of competition has never been proven but the allegations levelled at him by former teammate Floyd Landis shocked the sport back in May, when they first surfaced.
“All the other stuff that’s come on with Landis and things like that is one for the courts and whether the truth will ever come out is down to this investigation. I think time will tell with that. As it stands today, with the time I’ve raced with him – and I’ve never raced with him in his era of winning seven Tours – but in his comeback, he’s probably been the most tested athlete and never failed a drugs test.”
Landis announced his retirement from the sport earlier this week after being unable to secure a team for the last year. Wiggins, it seems, is a firm believer on letting the judicial process do its work.
“I think you have to question Landis’ credibility because he lied under oath before and the stories that you hear about him drinking and things like that and you know, [making] telephone calls to people I know, threatening them with things, you just think that the guy appears to not all be there. So when you see these kinds of claims in the press you have to question his credibility because it’s almost like it’s coming from a mad man, but at the same time maybe that’s all borne out of frustration and things.
“You just never know but you just look at the way his life has gone over the last five years and you think there’s one person who it would have been so easy to have just admitted it when it happened in 2006, come clean if he did do it and he would have been back racing in a professional team making pretty good money. It’s quite sad how his life has gone away, just dwindled away and now there’s all these claims and counter claims and it’s quite a sad story for him.”
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews over the coming days as we talk to Wiggins about the Tour de France, Sky and Alberto Contador.