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Open letter to UCI President Mr. Brian Cookson

Tinkoff - Saxo 2014

TO: UCI President, Mr. Brian Cookson

Re: Your interview of August 3rd on the Roman Kreuziger’s case 

Dear Mr. Cookson,

As Managing Director of Tinkoff Saxo I am writing to you in response to your statements in your interview of August 3rd to explain what you have described as an “inexplicable” decision by our team (i.e. the decision to put Roman Kreuziger in the line up for Tour of Poland).

I am not going to go through the history of the case – but just going straight to the point:

When the UCI informed the rider about its fluctuations in 2013 – which the rider received on the first day of the Tour de France – he was requested to provide an explanation but no provisional suspension was imposed; it was fine for him to continue racing, and he did.

In May 2014, again shortly before the start of the TdF, the UCI formally indicated it would initiate proceedings against the rider but, again, nothing was said about a possible provisional suspension pending the outcome of those proceedings.

The team did not suspend him but decided, with his agreement, not to send him to TdF to protect him and the team (which was trying to win that race) from media attention, speculation and to allow him to get his defence organized.

It should be noted that since becoming aware of the issue in 2013 the team had requested expert opinions, had reviewed Kreuziger’s expert opinions, had reviewed the UCI anti doping rules applicable at the time and concluded that the rider should be eligible to continue racing, a decision, until now supported by the UCI.

On June 28th the team clearly stated: “Though he won’t be racing for now, until more information becomes available to the team it will not provisionally suspend Roman unless required by the UCI or the Czech Federation“.

UCI did not react to the public statement from the team that its clear understanding was that the rider was not suspended.

More than a month after that statement both Roman and the team expected to be able to have him racing in Tour of Poland. After all, we have a contract with the rider and we pay him a salary to race.

What seems inexplicable to us is how UCI can decide that from a certain moment in time but also retroactively the interpretation of the rule, that riders will not be provisionally suspended for alleged blood passport violations, which has applied since 2011 when the blood passport was introduced, shall be revised. What changed on August 1st, 2014?

It is also hard to understand how the UCI’s President in the same interview can state, on the one hand, that “I don’t know the detailed history of the case as I wasn’t the president then, and one of the things that I have done is separate myself from the detail of the anti-doping process” and, on the other hand, “There are very serious anomalies“: obviously one of the two statements can not be true.

It is also difficult not to object to your statements below:

(i) “The WADA code is clear but a little bit ambivalent on that point“, and (ii) “And I’m not saying that he [Kreuziger]‘s guilty” but “In this instance that’s [to suspend the rider provisionally] what we’ve decided and we’re going to look at all future cases to see if they should be pursued in the same way. It’s not a definite once and for all though“.

It seems to us that (a) a penalty to a rider shall be applied only based on very precise and verified circumstances (b) UCI and yourself have written that the provisional suspension is imposed because it is likely that the rider’s results will be affected by the asserted anti-doping rule violation – thus you believe he is guilty; and (c) we believe that justice shall be administered treating all cases in the same manner and not on a case by case basis.

This team is fully committed to the fight against doping in sport, to the use of the biological passport and to the application of strict anti-doping rules but does believe this should be conducted in a manner that respects the facts and proper process, guarantees proper defense right and do not jeopardize the team’s ability to plan properly when hiring riders and select a team to participate in a race.

Kindest regards

Stefano Feltrin

15 Responses to Open letter to UCI President Mr. Brian Cookson

  1. Alastair says:

    As far as the teams standpoint is concerned, I see nothing at all wrong with your letter regarding this issue. To make the team look guilty is unacceptable. I however cannot but fear that Mr Cookson has been badly advised by a person or persons unknown at this time. I agree that situations like this cannot continue to happen and any inquiries into any possible infringements must in the future be quickly dealt with through the correct channels i.e. An independent body such as CAS. Mr Cookson needs to address this problem quickly before he, like his predecessors looses credibility which after all was the reason he was elected in the first place.

  2. Signe Jørgensen says:

    Good letter by Stefano Feltrin. Hope that there come something right out off this. It is not fair after some years to start this, and this case has nothing with Tinkoff-Saxo to do. It was from before Kreuziger come to the team.
    We had unfortunately seen some case her in the last years, who had take so long time. Some off them over 2 years or more and it is stupid.
    Hope the very best, but I am unfortunately believe that UCI again think that they had the right to do what they want. I had hope that it would bee better with Cookson, but I am afraid it will not.
    Good luck.

  3. Peter Kuruc says:

    Very proper response. I consider it necessary to deal with such unusual procedures all the teams and expressed strong position to continuously learn. These negotiations must proceed on the principle of openness and transparency. Perhaps it is also time to revise the relevant provisions, including clear procedures. This case Roman Kreuziger lacks transparency and I think the purpose.

  4. jelantik says:

    Cookson is just as corrupt as McQuaid. Clearly UCI is singlehandedly try to sideline Tinkoff Saxo. The fact that he critized Roman’s inclusion and on other interview calling: “my friend at sky”.. that doesn’t bode as UCI being neutral. Now we know where he is lining up his ally. Having his kid in Sky team.. I’m all for battling doping. But I’m sickened by how UCI treated Roman and TS so far on this case. Just a week before TDF, .. suddenly conveniently Roman bio passport is being questioned. How odd that would be. If they can wait for more than 2 years, what matters to wait until TDF is done? Because “somebody” there who are buddy buddy with UCI wanted to stop Tinkoff Saxo for their bid for yellow jersey. Now, after the news broke… cricket sound! Then when TS decided to let Roman rides for tour Poland, suddenly the UCI president criticized the move and suddenly the case is matters again. How can you clean up the doping issue, if UCI action is wishy washy? And let alone their new president. Is this what you call transparency Mr. Cookson? Transparency .. BS.

  5. Colin says:

    A very good letter and fully justified in its contents. I fear that mr cookson is no more than a feeble successor to mcquaid. It is also quite obvious that far from being the neutral person that his position should exhibit. He does in fact show a considerable amount of bias to a certain team satellite tv provider. I.e Chris froome and the inhaler’s. Cycling is trying to sort itself out and the uci id Not doing anyone any favours with their dithering.

  6. Grethe Obling Nielsen says:

    Mr. Cookson you are corrupt, seeing as to conclude this matter, and then remove all andklager of Roman Kreuziger, it would dress up your cracked reputation and perhaps restore the faith of your righteousness sense

  7. Duncan White says:

    Excellent letter.

    Very proud to be a supporter of Oleg and his team.
    Kreuziger is both tough and clean.

  8. Juan Eloy Dominguez Ramirez says:

    Muy acertada la carta. No confío nada en el Sr. Cookson, es igual que McQuaid y dudo que la UCI, verdadero nido de corruptos, no actúe como es debido, no solo con Roman sino con otros corredores.
    Todo mi apoyo a Tinkoff-Saxo.

  9. Tanya says:

    I do not understand UCI justise. No
    Presumption innocence no respect
    To anybody. It seems that they want
    To see sombody guilty and they do it.

  10. S clarke says:

    Good letter. There is no excuse for these lengthy delays. Makes one suspicious when it springs up before the Tour and other high profile races.

  11. Shock says:

    Roman’s lawyer: “I contacted Antonio Rigozzi advocate of UCI. He admitted that, some decisions of UCI are more political than based on legislation”

  12. Lubos says:

    Have a look to my “interesting” conversation with UCI Press Officer. The most “interesting” is that he wrote “as correctly mentioned by you this is an ongoing case for which – and for any case at this stage – we (he meant UCI) do not comment.” So, if Cookson is commenting the case, he is may be not member of UCI…and all his answer are very “open” and “clear” – in line with new way of UCI communication to public, like in Menchov case….

    ——————————————————–

    Chenaille Louis – UCI
    Aug 1 (3 days ago)

    to me
    Hi Lubos, as correctly mentioned by you this is an ongoing case for which – and for any case at this stage – we do not comment.
    Thank you.

    Envoyé de mon iPhone

    Louis Chenaille
    Attaché de Presse | Press Officer

    Union Cycliste Internationale
    CH – 1860 Aigle | Switzerland
    http://www.uci.ch
    T: +41 24 468 58 11
    M: +41 79 198 70 47
    D: +41 24 468 58 31

    Le 31 juil. 2014 à 21:27, I wrote :

    Dear Louis,

    what do you thing about Tinkoff-Saxo decision to let Kreuziger race on Tour of Poland despite you have not yet closed his case?

    Thank you for your answer.

    Best regards,

    On 24 Jul 2014, at 08:30, Chenaille Louis – UCI wrote:

    Dear Lubos,
    Thank you for sharing your readings. As press officer and as a spokes person for the UCI I am not supposed to comment media reports. My fonction is to help media people to get a sense of what our organisation is doing. As you may know, July is traditionnally a period of intense bike racing and you got me on my way to Rotterdam for the UCI BMX World Championships after several days on the roads of le Tour. Thank you for your understanding.
    Regards

    Louis Chenaille
    Attaché de Presse | Press Officer

    Union Cycliste Internationale
    CH – 1860 Aigle | Switzerland
    http://www.uci.ch
    T: +41 24 468 58 11
    M: +41 79 198 70 47
    D: +41 24 468 58 31

    Le 23 juil. 2014 à 19:00, I wrote :

    Dear Louis,

    long time no answer on my last question on you.

    Could I kindly ask for your comments/opinion about the content and credibility of that article.

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

    Lubos

    On 9 Jul 2014, at 00:00, I wrote:

    Dear Louis,

    one more question to you – how would you comment that article?

    http://inrng.com/2014/06/roman-kreuziger-uci-passport/

    Thanks,

    Lubos

    On Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 10:49 PM, I wrote:
    Dear Louis,

    thank you for PR answer. Let’s go to the point – what steps/actions you are doing in Kreuziger case? What timing you set for those steps/actions you are doing?

    Fully understand, that you have should be very cautious in his case as (in case of wrong decision not supported by clear evidences) you will destroy his career.

    And also thank you for information about Tiernan-Locke case status.

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

    On Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Chenaille Louis – UCI wrote:
    Dear Lubos, I can understand your frustration but I must repeat that scientifical and legal guarantees ask us to be very cautious in the way we bring a case forward. As for JTL’s ongoing case, it is in the hands of the British anti-doping authorities.
    Regards.

    Louis Chenaille
    Attaché de Presse | Press Officer

    Union Cycliste Internationale
    CH – 1860 Aigle | Switzerland
    http://www.uci.ch
    T: +41 24 468 58 11
    M: +41 79 198 70 47
    D: +41 24 468 58 31

    From: me
    Sent: mardi 8 juillet 2014 11:48
    To: Chenaille Louis – UCI
    Subject: Re: Kreuziger, Tiernan-Locke, Froome

    Dear Mr. Chenaille,

    first of all, I would like to thank you for your reply.

    However, I cannot agree with your explanation why UCI took 7 months in Kreuziger case and even more months (and still counting) in Tiernan-Locke case:
    - Kreuziger – 1) based on the public sources, Czech National Agency is awaiting yours decision in his case, so only you are working (hopefully with higher drive and focus than before) on his case – so there is obviously no coordination at place now. 2) he was able to provide first explanations about his ABP abnormalities by 2 inindependent accredited expects 2 months (in comparison to yours 7 months) then 3rd explanation from 3rd independent accredited expect in 4 weeks after you informed him, that you do not accept the first 2 explanations. 3) During the periods in which you saw abnormalities in his ABP hi passed successfuly all anti-doping tests by several authorities – putting those together, it simply does not make sense, that you did not accepted his first explanations – or do I miss something?
    - Tiernan-Locke – what is the actual status of his case?

    I hope, we would agree together that both and other open case should be closed as soon as possible – with whatever result – in favour of professional cycling credibility in eyes of the sponsors and mainly fans – would you agree with that?

    Best regards and have nice day,

    On 8 Jul 2014, at 09:33, Chenaille Louis – UCI wrote:

    Dear Mr Lubos,
    Thank you for your message.
    Both Kreuziger and Tiernan-Locke’s cases are based on their athlete biological passport which showed abnormal findings. Handling ABP cases takes always time for scientifical reasons. Consider please that some cases are also handled by different antidoping organizations including national agencies and the UCI; all these bodies much coordinate their procedures.
    Regarding Mr Froome, only the rider can decide to disclose its ABP as well as his medical books.
    We hope this is helpful.
    Regards,

    Louis Chenaille
    Attaché de Presse | Press Officer

    Union Cycliste Internationale
    CH – 1860 Aigle | Switzerland
    http://www.uci.ch
    T:
    +41 24 468 58 11
    M:
    +41 79 198 70 47
    D:
    +41 24 468 58 31

    From: me
    Sent: lundi 7 juillet 2014 23:21
    To: Réception – UCI
    Subject: Re: Kreuziger, Tiernan-Locke, Froome

    1 week si gone and still no answer – having vacations? During TdF???

    On Fri, Jul 4, 2014 at 9:09 PM, I wrote:
    Hello,

    have you worked this week? I did,but I have not received any answer from you on my questions…

    Small comparison – when USADA revealed Lance Armstrong report, I approached Travis Trygart with some questions and he answered the next day (Saturday)…

    No regards as you are not communicating….

    On Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 10:39 PM, I wrote:
    Hello.

    2 working days and still no answer…Any respect from you to cycling fans?

    By the way, the fact, that Kreuziger will not ride TdF must be “exciting” for ASO as they will loose at least 250 000 TV watchers in Czech Republic a for Spezialized as theirs sales in Czech Republic will very likely go down as Kreuziger is Specialized’s face here

    Hope you will answer my questions this week.

    Best regards.

    On Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 12:27 AM, I wrote:
    Hello.

    1 working day (I guess you are working on Monday) and still no answer…

    Hope, you will be working today (Tuesday)…

    Best regards.

    On Sat, Jun 28, 2014 at 11:35 PM, Lubos Mrvik I wrote:
    Dear UCI representatives, mainly management,

    I have just 2 simple questions:
    1) Kreuziger, Tiernan-Locke – why you are not proceeding theirs cases faster while you presented you will act quickly in any dopping or other clean cycling affairs? Kreuziger 8 monts, Tiernan-Locke even more
    2) Froome – can you publish his biological passport and anti-doping test in past 4 years? Who knows him in 2010? And now he is front-runner of Vuelta 2011, Tour 2012, and Tour winner in 2013 – hero from zero in 4 years?

    Thank you for yor answers in advance with hope I will receive them this year…

    Best regards

  13. Hugh Williamson says:

    Good, fair letter – I hope it helps.

    Difficult, though, to see how your publishing all these responses (with their potentially libellous allegations) will help. Should you be providing a platform for people to expose themselves to possible legal action by the UCI or its President?

    • Alastair says:

      Obviously this Lubos person has no understanding of law or the job of a press officer. A press officer does not have the authority to comment on ongoing cases such as this. That’s not his job. I trust Louis Chenaille will be aware that the majority of Team Tinkoff Saxo fans are at least a little more intelligent than this person. I would suggest the web master removes Lubos’s additions to this page ASAP.

  14. John Reilly-Stewart says:

    The extended timeframe of the Kreuziger case is bizarre. Why has this dragged on for so long but keeps coming to the fore prior to the TDF (just in time to disrupt TS preparations for the TDF and undermine Contador’s attempt to win the race)? Yet the organisation bends over backwards to accommodate Froome.

    There are shades here of how Contador’s case was handled. At the time, McQuaid had not yet been fully exposed in lacking any credibility and used his position to vigorously pursue Contador despite virtually no evidence and his clearance by the Spanish authorities. He was found guilty because he couldn’t prove he was innocent. Will it ever be clear what McQuaid’s motivation was in all this, or whose behalf he may have been working on? Could his former friend Armstrong have had anything to do with this as payback for 2009 when Contador undoubtedly went into his black book?

    Where there is power, there is corruption. The UCI is no exception.

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