Cycling chief backs data release

UCI chief Brian Cookson
UCI chief Brian Cookson
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Teams have been encouraged to release rider data by the president of the sport’s governing body the UCI following claims against Chris Froome.

Preston-born Brian Cookson said he was not stopping teams from releasing power or technical data, adding the publication of such information in the “current febrile atmosphere” would be a “good thing” to do.

Briton Froome pledged to honour the Tour de France yellow jersey after claiming his second title in Paris on Sunday.

The 30-year-old, who insists he is clean, was called a “doper”, spat at and had urine thrown at him during the three-week race.

Team Sky released Froome’s performance data from the first Pyrenees stage of this year’s event in an attempt to quell the furore surrounding his display.

Speaking on radio, Cookson said it was a “strange leap of faith” for people to accuse everybody who puts in an exceptional performance of doping due to cheating in the sport’s history.

Asked about calls to release all the required information to clear up the allegations, Cookson said: “Well I think that’s a matter for the team and for the rider.

“The UCI, the international cycling union, does not hold the power data or technical data.

“All we do is with the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, which is an independent body, with the national anti-doping agencies, with (the World Anti-Doping Agency), we collect samples and analyse them, and if we believe that an anti-doping rule violation has occurred then we will take action against that rider.

“We do that independently, impartially, irrespective of nationality or irrespective of team, irrespective of rider. I think that’s all we can do.

“So if the team wants to produce information about power outputs and so on, they have that, we don’t.”

Questioned if he was encouraging them to release the information, Cookson said: “I’m not stopping them doing it. I’m indifferent to it.

“Yeah, by all means do it. By all means if that would help and I think it probably would in the current febrile atmosphere, then I think it will be a good thing for the teams to do it, yeah.”

Cookson said the actions of the spectators who spat and threw urine at Froome were “absolutely disgusting and disgraceful”.

He added: “Nobody should have to go through that when they’re going about their 
lawful business, whether it’s in sport or any other walk of life, and frankly, those people should be ashamed of themselves.

“If there are people who misbehave like that and you’re watching any sort of sporting event then I think we all have a responsibility perhaps to speak to the nearest policeman or security person and to tell those people their behaviour is unacceptable.”