Statement following the UCI decision to appeal

Statement following the UCI decision to appeal

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has announced its decision to appeal against the decision of the Czech Olympic Committee’s Arbitration Panel in the matter of the alleged breach of anti-doping regulations by Roman Kreuziger.

In response to this notification Roman Kreuziger’s legal representative, Dr. Jan Stovicek, made the following comments:

„We note the appeal lodged by the UCI in the case of Roman Kreuziger, we were expecting it.  However, the strong arguments remain on our side. We are convinced, and during discussions before the Czech Olympic Committee’s Arbitration Panel is was clearly demonstrated, that the Expert Panel of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) decided on the alleged guilt of Roman Kreuziger on the basis of incomplete and insufficient information. This relates, in particular, to the fact that two-thirds of the blood samples used as a basis for the decision making process were not during transportation to the laboratory demonstrably kept in conditions conforming to WADA regulations and may therefore have deteriorated. In addition, Roman Kreuziger has since 2003 suffered from hypothyroidism (insufficient function of the thyroid gland), and a worsening of this condition required the use of high doses of a substitute hormone L-Thyroxine precisely in the years in which the suspicion of misconduct arose (2011 and 2012), which was unknown to the panel.

The CADF Panel, which comprises respected haematologists (but no endocrinologist), did not, however, take into account fundamental work in the area of endocrinology, which is very important for this case. Therefore we sent an open letter to the panel (text attached) requesting them to reassess their position. We believe that the panel will bear this in mind and are aware of their scientific and legal responsibility for these important deliberations.

We firmly believe that common sense will prevail. I should stress that the Czech Olympic Committee’s Arbitration Panel, the supreme independent body dealing with breaches of anti-doping regulations in the Czech Republic, cleared Roman of any wrongdoing. Roman Kreuziger has never exceeded the basal (extreme) values of the biological passport – if guilt is to be apportioned in such a case it begs the questions, what purpose do the basal values in an athlete’s biological passport actually serve? And, what are the clear criteria for determining guilt?

Roman Kreuziger is thus innocent and should be treated accordingly.

We are all in the same boat in the fight against cheats in sport. We are in agreement with colleagues from the UCI and CADF experts that the biological passport is a fantastic tool. However, it needs to be used correctly and fairly. There is currently a lack of clear rules for determining what is and is not a breach of anti-doping rules. This lack of transparency opens the way for speculation, and this devalues the credibility of the entire system. This is something none of us want.

Anti-doping regulations serve to protect decent athletes, and should not be a tool for bullying them. I understand that the UCI wants to demonstrate an uncompromising stance in the fight against doping in cycling. You cannot measure everyone by a different scale. It’s the same as accusing someone of murder because they have kitchen knives at home.

The case of Roman Kreuziger is a very important precedent not just for cycling, but for all sports. Today it is Roman in the dock, but tomorrow it could be any other athlete. We are confident that the CAS will decide this case quickly and impartially and will not permit an honest man to be prevented from carrying on his profession. We should not allow the fight against doping to become a witch hunt.