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“Roman took the position to drop all of this behind him. It’s history for him. He doesn’t wish to bring up any claims, or any damages.”

Photo: Sirotti




10.06.2015 @ 16:42 Posted by Joseph Doherty

After missing almost all of 2014 due to a provisional suspension and having his name tainted with doping claims, Roman Kreuziger will not sue the UCI to reclaim legal expenses or damages after he was cleared of any wrongdoing and could finally get back to focussing solely on racing. Kreuziger is the first athlete to have charges dropped against him in a biological passport related case.


“Roman took the position to drop all of this behind him. It’s history for him,” his attorney Jan Stovicek said to VeloNews. “He’s happy it’s closed, he wants to look forward, to focus on racing, to the Tour de France this year. He doesn’t wish to bring up any claims, or any damages.”


On Friday the UCI and WADA said in a joint statement that, “based on the availability of newly obtained information … [they] have come to the conclusion that … there is, at this stage, no basis to proceed further.”


However, as Stovicek hinted in his interview, Tinkoff-Saxo, Kreuziger’s employer, general manager Stefano Feltrin told VeloNews the team are carefully considering their options and may seek damages.


“I have to say, we are carefully considering this possibility,” Feltrin said. “It’s definitely a possibility. But it’s not the most important aspect of this entire story. There is a lot more to learn form this story, hopefully a new way of dealing with these problems. This situation has obviously been of great impact on the team. We said a year ago that we believe the biological passport is a wonderful tool, but it can be improved upon. The problem is how you manage it.”


“The Roman Kreuziger case shows that it was poorly managed, and it created a lot of problems. We would like to understand what were the facts behind the decision to drop the case five days before the hearing. We would like to get the UCI’s view on the full story. We would like to understand how to deal with the huge impact this thing had on all people involved. Obviously Roman was the person who was most impacted, and I understand his position to move forward, to forget the whole story, but as a team we should consider what this meant for us, and how the UCI intends to deal with it. At the moment [a lawsuit] is a possibility. We are at the stage that we need to review the facts, and to understand the other party’s decision.”


Feltrin also discussed the issues caused by wrongly accusing a rider of doping and the effect this has on the team in terms of sponsorship agreements, which make up a large part of a team’s budget.


“Teams are already struggling desperately for survival because of the economic cost and difficulties in finding new sources of revenue and income. In other sports, the jersey-sponsorship model is an old model, but in cycling this is the only source of revenue, other than manual contribution from race organizers, merchandising, and hospitality. More than 95 percent of a team’s budget is covered by uniform sponsorship. And if you have uncertainty, if you have these difficulties on the regulatory side, you have a desperate battle for survival.”


Feltrin says that he is more than happy to not seek compensation if the UCI are willing to fix their system to ensure this never happens again to any rider.


“The money and economics has an impact, but it’s not the most important thing,” he said. “Seeking compensation for damages is possibility, but the bigger part is ‘how do we manage this in the future?’ I would be much happier to not seek compensation if I was told this would not happen in the future because of this, this, and this — if I was told that a team would not be put under scrutiny over what happened two years before a rider joined the team.”




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