Roman Kreuziger, winner of the Amstel Gold Race, refuses to clarify alleged links to doping doctor Michele Ferrari. Asked by Cycling Weekly, he would not clarify why his former teammate testified about his Ferrari dealings.
The Saxo-Tinkoff Czech said today ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, “I don’t want to talk about this nonsense.”
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Ferrari has been banned twice in doping cases, including last year in the US case against Lance Armstrong. Before the Armstrong case, as far back as 2002, the Italian doctor was prohibited from working with any cyclist in his home country. A cyclist caught breaking the rules could be banned immediately without having to prove doping took place.
Italy banned cyclists Filippo Pozzato and Michele Scarponi recently for their ties to the Ferrara-based doctor.
When the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released supporting evidence in its Armstrong case, an affidavit mentioned Kreuziger.
The 26-year-old has won the Tour of Switzerland and Tour of Romandy, and placed eighth in the Tour de France. However, former team-mate Leonardo Bertagnolli shed light on something more sinister. When they raced with team Liquigas, he said that he worked with Ferrari.
The Italian said in his affidavit dated May 18, 2011, “I know that many of my team-mates went to Ferrari because we talked about it and the team knew: [Franco] Pellizotti, [Roman] Kreuziger, [Enrico] Gasparotto, [Francesco] Chicchi.”
Bertagnolli also mentioned former Sky rider, Morris Possoni and one of Francesco Moser’s nephews. He added that Ferrari taught him how to transfuse blood and which refrigerator worked best for storage.
Keeping a distance
Kreuziger, perhaps wanting to distance himself from Ferrari, said after winning Amstel Gold that he no longer lives in Italy. In perfect Italian, he said he now lives in the Czech Republic.
Cycling Weekly asked him for clarification at the start of Flèche Wallonne.
Are you worried about what Bertagnolli said?
“Let’s just say that I’m concentrated on the race. Maybe we’ll talk about these things later.”
Did you work with Ferrari?
“I said that I’m concentrated on the race. I’ll talk after the race, tomorrow, but not now.”
On the eve of Liège-Bastogne-Liège today, he was just as elusive.
May we talk about it now?
“No. I have races, I’m at the race, and I am thinking of them. We can talk after the Tour of Romandy. I’m concentrated and I don’t want to talk about nonsense now.”
At Flèche, you said let’s talk later…
“Yeah, and there was Thursday and Friday. Today’s Saturday. So, next time. You fell asleep.”
Did Astana and Liquigas end their contracts with you due to the alleged Ferrari links?
“What? It’s better to speak to Anders [Daamgaard, Saxo-Tinkoff’s press officer].”
Do you know why [they ended their contracts]?
“I’m not going to respond now.”
Are you saying “no comment”?
“No, I didn’t say ‘no comment.’ I said that that I’ll respond after Romandy, that’s different.
You said the other day that you’d talk later, but now you won’t speak.
“Yes, but that was three days ago. You should wake up. Thursday and Friday were rest days. Tomorrow is Liège. Why do you want to talk about nonsense?”
Kreuziger then turned his back and walked away into a tent where the organiser was presenting the teams for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It was a safe zone for him as journalists were unable to enter.
Daamgaard said that Kreuziger told him he did not want to respond to Ferrari-related questions. He did add that his rider would speak after Romandy, April 23 to 28.
After his Amstel Gold win, Kreuziger has received more attention, but the Ferrari-link was unwanted. He and Saxo-Tinkoff will be thinking about their next move. For now, contrary to what he said, it is a “no comment” from Kreuziger.