Riders who have doped must be honest about the past to give cycling a future.
That’s the call from Jörg Jaksche, a retired professional and winner of the 2004 Paris-Nice, and who confessed to blood doping in 2007 after being implicated in the Operacion Puerto investigation.
Jaksche, a podium finisher at the 2006 Tour de Suisse, was speaking at a press conference held last week in London by the group, Change Cycling Now.
“This is where we have to go…ex-cyclists, or cyclists that doped, if they would confess, it would be great.
“If they would help us to learn from the past, this is a crucial part, and we want them to do this. This is very important.
“There is no future without being honest about the past,” he said.
The German was a member of the professional peloton for 11 years from 1997, and rode with a host of teams including Polti, Telekom, ONCE, CSC, Liberty Seguros-Würth, and Tinkoff Credit Systems.
Jaksche said the “pure love” for the sport with which all cyclists began their careers had been taken by what he described as “the system”.
No current member of the WorldTour peloton took part at CCNs’ summit meeting, held at London’s Metropole Hotel, or in the subsequent press conference.
CCN member, Paul Kimmage, a retired professional cyclist and campaigning journalist, said the panel had considered placing an empty chair on the press conference dais to symbolise the absence of riders, whom he said were “terrified of what the repercussions might be,” of informing the UCI of doping practices in the peloton.
“Now if that isn’t a sign of an unhealthy organisation and something that needs to be addressed, then I don’t know what is,” he claimed.
Jaimie Fuller, CCN’s financial backer, said he had held “north of 10 discussions” with riders, the majority of whom he claimed were intimidated by the potential consequences of criticising the UCI.
“One in particular wrote a beautiful email explaining that to do what we need to do is a revolution,” Fuller said, “and at times one’s got to metaphorically be prepared to die for the revolution.
“And he said, Unfortunately I’m not quite ready to die yet.”