Jakob Fuglsang hits back at Marcel Kittel over Astana comments
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jakob Fuglsang hits back at Marcel Kittel over Astana comments

by Ben Atkins at 6:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
German sprinter has had issues of his own, says Danish rider

jakob fuglsangJakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) has hit back at Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) over comments he made in the week about the Astana team. The German sprinter questioned the International Cycling Union International Cycling Union (UCI) decision to award the Kazakh team a WorldTour license for 2013, cast doubts over the Astana’s ethics, and said that he would never ride for the team.

These comments have angered Fuglsang, who will ride for Astana in 2013, who pointed to the fact that Kittel underwent a UV blood-manipulation technique himself a few years ago; although it was not contrary to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code at the time.

“I think Marcel Kittel must put his own house in order,” Fuglsang told sporten.dk. “It is not so long ago that he had his own problems in Germany, where he had used some methods that were not quite correct. In the end he should look at his own account when he says something.

“I am glad that I am going to Astana,” he added. “At a time when the sport doesn’t have it easy, I think I am going to a team that is safe.”

The Astana team has been dogged with doping scandals since its inception in 2007, when Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin bot tested positive for homologous blood transfusions, during and after that year’s Tour de France. Lance Armstrong rode for the team in 2009, with evidence in USADA’s case that saw him banned for life showing that he used blood manipulation techniques to finish on that year’s Tour podium.

In 2010 Alberto Contador became the second Tour de France winner to be stripped of his title after testing positive for Clenbuterol on the race’s second rest day; while the latest controversy around the team involves allegations that Vinokourov paid Katusha’s Alexandr Kolobnev €150,000 to let him win Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2010.

Fuglsang is defiant however, and defends his choice to join the Kazakh outfit.

“If you have to sign with a team where there is one that has a doping history, there are not many teams available,” he said. “So I could, for example, not have signed with Team Saxo Bank Tinkoff or with [Omega Pharma-]Quick Step, for they also have people who have admitted doping in the past. Vinokourov is of course among the more prominent, but I think he has learned from the mistakes he has committed.

“Whether Vinokourov has paid for a victory or not, I think it would be too much to if you take the WorldTour license away from Astana and Katusha,” he added.”

Fuglsang has endured a frustrating year at RadioShack-Nissan, with his early proclamation that he intended to leave the team at the end of the season prompting then general manager Johan Bruyneel to refuse to send him to any further WorldTour races. Before deciding on his 2013 team therefore, the Dane consulted with fellow Scandinavian Fredrik Kessiakoff; the Swedish rider enjoyed a successful season with Astana, wearing the mountains jersey at the Tour de France, and winning time trial stages at the Tour de Suisse and Vuelta a España.

“Kessiakoff was a big help to me in choosing the team by expressing that he is really happy to ride the team, and he is doing really well,” Fuglsang said. “If he is doing well on the team, so I also believe that it can be right for me.”


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