Danilo Hondo has issued a statement regarding the current legal debacle surrounding his aimed-at return to professional racing. A Swiss Cantonal Court recently put aside the Court of Arbitration for Sport's two-year ban imposed on Hondo, but the World's governing body of cycling and the World Anti-Doping Agency do not accept this turn of events. While WADA has published a communiqué saying that the "decision from the Court of Appeal constitutes either an annulment of the CAS decision, or the raising of fundamental questions on the World Anti-Doping Code", Hondo continues to hope that he will find a team to start racing again.
"It's crazy - a judge issues a temporary injunction under which I can start racing again immediately, but I'm still sitting at home," the sprinter said. "The UCI has finally issued its position statement, but with a hook on it: they leave the decision to the teams, reminding of the so-called 'Code of Ethics', an agreement among all the Pro Tour and Continental Pro teams.
"Which I can't understand at all, because this Code deals with the non-signing of riders who purposely and knowingly doped," he continued. "Neither of those apply to me, and in addition, the temporary injunction is not the only thing that says I am innocent."
The German cyclist's arguments were that the same rules should apply in sports law than in civil law, where a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. "The sports court procedure in Lausanne was finished, but the civil judge put it entirely aside, which means that until a final verdict is reached, I am considered innocent, as is normal in civil law," he said. "Why, then, can't I ride in the highest sporting league, ply my trade and earn money? It is also not entirely right that the UCI gives me the right to start as of April 1. I have that right as of March 16, the date the court issued its ruling. In addition, Swiss Cycling has already sent me my license."
Until further notice, Hondo will now continue to train as he has been doing ever since he was suspended, keeping an excellent shape. "I hope that the UCI, as the international federation, finds the time in the coming days to think about it and to clear the misunderstandings out of the way, because I would like to ride top races as soon as possible, and many top teams want that, too," he concluded. "So I will keep training hard over the weekend in the hopes of soon being a real pro again!"
The UCI's Code of Ethics prevents ProTour teams from hiring riders found guilty of doping infractions for up to four years, so Hondo had been linked to a Continental outfit, Team Wiesenhof-Akud, as team manager Raphael Schweda had raised the possibility of Hondo signing with them. Wiesenhof's spokesman, Marcel Wüst, didn't deny there were talks, but didn't confirm them either.
"Good for him if he finds a team, but so far it is all temporary," Wüst told Cyclingnews, insisting on the fact that a main trial before a higher court will still determine the rider's future in about six months. "On the performance side he will be back soon, and any team could count on good results from him soon. If he signed with a team like Wiesenhof-Akud, it would be a big thing, especially because it would get some big media coverage, too. But whether sponsors (in general for all teams) would like to have someone on their team who is (so far) only temporarily allowed to race is another story."
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