Kreuziger launches defence website
Roman Kreuziger has posted some of his blood data on a new website ahead of the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing that will decide whether or not he will face a two-year ban for biological passport violations.
The Tinkoff-Saxo rider was provisionally suspended by the UCI in August of this year after anomalies were detected in his biological passport dating back to 2011 and 2012, when he raced for the Astana team.
Kreuziger was cleared of wrongdoing by the Czech Olympic Committee in September and returned to racing at Milan-Turin, but the UCI and WADA have since appealed the matter to CAS.
The website, kreuzigercase.cz, outlines his defence under the heading "The Curious Case of Roman Kreuziger," which repeats some of the claims already made by his lawyer in September – namely, that some of the blood samples were incorrectly stored and transported, and that Kreuziger's treatment for an under-active thyroid may have affected his blood values.
"I have never tested positive for doping. Despite this for a year and a half now I have been living in uncertainly as to whether I will be able to continue to devote myself to my life's passion and continue with my career," Kreuziger writes in an open letter. "I condemn doping and cheating in sport. I consider the biological passport to be an excellent tool. However, clear rules for its use must be set out otherwise it is useless and can be used to eliminate anyone."
The website includes data from blood samples taken between 2007 and April 2013. The data shows a rise in Kreuziger's haematocrit and a drop in his reticulocytes and haemoglobin during the latter part of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, which is understood to have prompted the UCI to initiate proceedings against him.
Kreuziger's legal team has claimed that his use of the substitute hormone L-Thyroxine as treatment for an under-active thyroid affected his blood values. Such treatment for hypothyroidism has itself been the source of some debate in athletics, although L-Thyroxine is not on the WADA banned list and does not require a therapeutic use exemption.
Ullrich to appear on German television
Jan Ullrich will speak about his doping past in a pre-recorded interview due to be screened on German television station RTL on Sunday evening.
The 40-year-old Ullrich belatedly confessed to blood doping in an interview with Focus magazine in June 2013, seven years after he was barred from participating in the 2006 Tour de France due to his implication in the Operacion Puerto investigation.
Ullrich had tacitly admitted to wrongdoing in early 2012 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued him with a two-year ban for his links to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, although he stopped short of an outright confession to doping at that point.
"I thought I'd done everything right. I didn't say I never doped. I always said that in my view I hadn't cheated," Ullrich said in the RTL interview, according to German tabloid Bild. "It was only later that I saw I'd made a mistake. A giant mistake."
Bild reports that Ullrich will also speak about some of the problems he has faced since his retirement, including his struggle with depression and burn-out in 2010. "It lasted for a year and a half. My partner Sara convinced me to have therapy."
Nibali at Miss Ciclismo
After trips to Japan, Dubai and Astana's training camp in Montecatini Terme in recent weeks, Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali travelled to a different century on Saturday evening when he was handed the dubious distinction of presiding over the jury of the Miss Ciclismo beauty pageant.
The event was part of his agent Alex Carera's annual end of season party near Brescia and is now in its tenth year. "Vincenzo has already been on the jury in previous years and beyond being a great champion, he's always shown that he's a great man," said Miss Ciclismo president Matteo Romano.
The party also saw an award to Michele Bartoli, who was feted ten years on from his retirement as a professional rider.