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Kohl: unfounded doping accusations are "character assassination"

Bernhard Kohl racing in June

Bernhard Kohl racing in June (Image credit: Sirotti)

By Susan Westemeyer

"The doping accusations against Jan Ullrich and the others have done a lot of damage to our sport," quipped Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl. "It's time now for those who made the accusations to present their evidence. But obviously they don't have any. That's character assassination."

Kohl continued with his comments to the Austrian newspaper Niederösterreichische Nachrichten, putting a positive light on cycling, saying that, "You could tell at the World Championships in Salzburg that cycling isn't at all in a crisis."

The 24 year-old rode the past two seasons for T-Mobile, but will join Team Gerolsteiner in 2007, and is looking forward to the new challenges. "Top priority is of course the Tour de France." He has started training already, despite continuing problems resulting from a nasty crash in stage 9 of the Vuelta a España. "I bruised my sternum in the Vuelta crash. I'm still not pain-free."

The little Austrian has another problem; so far, he has managed to gain about six kilograms in the off-season, he explained to "Everything comes together. I eat what I'm usually not allowed to eat and don't burn any calories because I don't train. So my weight shoots up twice as fast as usual."

This is due, he said, to his slow metabolism, which is actually an advantage. He'll never have the problem of "bonking" during a race. "People with a fast metabolism are barely able to keep up with taking in as many calories as they need during one of the Grand Tours. But my metabolism is so slow, that this problem doesn't really arise."

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