McQuaid concerned about Spanish investigation

UCI chief Pat McQuaid has affirmed his concerns about the ongoing doping investigation around doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Spain. Talking to the Telegraaf, the Irishman said that he did not understand why there were only cyclists yet publicly linked to the affair, when Fuentes himself had admitted that a great deal of his clients belonged to other sports.

"When I was visiting Lissavetsky in June, I was told very clearly that [the affair] concerned 200 sportsmen," McQuaid said. "Thirty percent cyclists, thirty percent football players, twenty percent tennis men and a number of athletes. So far, not a single name has been named by the other sports. Spanish politicians even deny now that tennis and football are concerned, while Fuentes himself affirmed it. I do think that's odd, and have asked IOC president Jacques Rogge to start an investigation. I've also asked the World Anti-Doping Agency to follow up on it. I think that all sports should be treated the same."

The president of the International Cycling Union continued by saying that the current investigation had led him to believe that it was possible to take performance-enhancing substances and go unnoticed in the anti-doping controls. "The past has taught us that many regulations are not completely successful," continued McQuaid. "With our controls and by collecting medical data, we knew that something was going on in Spain - but it wasn't clear to us what exactly it was. The best example for this is Jan Ullrich. Between the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France, the Swiss Olympic Committee performed out-of-competition controls every week on him. All the results were negative. But if we believe the Fuentes dossiers, he was taking all these banned substances in that period. 'Operacion Puerto' has shown us that there are many doping practices which we can't get a hold of, and that is a source of great concern."

McQuaid explained further that it was because of these limitations in the fight against doping that the world governing body of cycling turned to other instances for help. "We can't do it on our own yet," he admitted. "That's why we need the support of politics and justice. The fact that athletes are then treated like criminals is a negative consequence, but it's a situation that the sport created itself. It's not only a problem of the sport, but of society: everywhere, also in politics, there are cheaters. That's why it's also unreal to believe that you can get doping out of the cycling sport altogether. But it is our task to make cycling credible again in the eyes of the greater public. That task is now on our shoulders."

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