The International Cycling Union has denied that it protects certain riders, citing its doping investigation of three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador as only one of many cases involving top-name riders.
Recently, Floyd Landis appeared on both German and French television, reiterating his charges on doping within the peloton, and saying “It is known in the peloton that Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen or others responsible at the UCI over the last 20 years have protected some people and not others.”
While not mentioning Landis by name, the UCI issued an apparent editorial in its Velo World magazine countering the claim. “Given the impressive progress that has been made in anti-doping programmes and, sadly, the ever-higher number of proceedings we have had to initiate in recent years against some of our sport’s biggest stars, it would be very interesting to know the names of these privileged riders who have enjoyed such favourable treatment.”
The UCI specifically cited the Contador case, in light of which, it says, “his theory seems all the more absurd.”
The consistency, rigour and serenity that governed the inquiry, conducted in close cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency, into the abnormal test results of the triple Tour de France winner, should offer the most telling guarantee of our commitment to eradicate doping, regardless of the low levels of product detected, regardless of all the possible justifications, regardless of the rider’s impressive record, and regardless of the additional negative consequences for cycling,” the UCI said its own defence.
The editorial referred to the accuser simply as “a certain person who has a tendency to throw around certain accusations without the slightest effort to back them up.” It further calls him “ a person who lacks all credibility and has no sense of responsibility, who believes he now has free rein, having abused the system himself, having lied to all of us and all of you. “
Landis tested positive for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, which he had won. The title was taken away from him. He denied for many years having doped, but this spring finally admitted to having used doping products.