Mark Cavendish has slammed the recent report from the UCI’s Independent Commission into doping in cycling, stating it contains “all the shit from the last years compiled into one document,” and the section dealing with the ethical state of the sport today is from “unreliable sources”.
The sprinter stated he had not been approached by the commission to give any information, but added – echoing his fellow Briton David Millar – that he felt the report did not include the views of enough riders who are racing now.
“I wasn’t asked [to contribute]. I can tell you that 95% of the peloton would know one rider who would have made certain comments. There are certain quotes that are from unreliable sources that don’t mean anything and warp the whole sense of the document.”
While it offers a lucid and damning analysis of Lance Armstrong’s dealings with the UCI between 1999 and 2010, the document is vague on the state of cycling today, stating “the commission did not hear from anyone credible in the sport who would give cycling a clean bill of health in the context of doping today”.
That drew criticism from Millar and also from the Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas, who told the BBC in the wake of the report, “it’s insulting when people say it [cycling] is really filthy and saying I’m doing something wrong. I dedicate everything to this. I think it’s a hell of a lot cleaner.”
Cavendish does not feel the document added a great deal. “To be honest I don’t think there is anything particularly new in there. It’s all the shit from the last years compiled in one document. It gives people something else to talk about. It’s an understatement to say it’s a bit frustrating but as long as cycling is cleaning up and I’m racing on fair terms that’s enough for me.”
Cavendish was speaking at a launch for the Prudential RideLondon Classic on 2 August, where he has confirmed he will race in the 150-rider field made up of 15 six-man teams over a course that includes the climb of Box Hill and a finish on the Mall in central London.
The multiple stage winner in the Tour de France said he is trying not to let uncertainty over his future divert his mind from racing. Cavendish is out of contract at his Etixx-Quickstep team this season, and has been told publicly by the team’s manager Patrick Lefevere he has to deliver.
Cavendish responded to Lefevere’s comments by winning a major Belgian one-day race, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and although mechanical trouble deprived him of his chance in Sunday’s Milan-San Remo, he is clearly in strong form going into Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen and Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem one-day races.
The sprinter said: “Without results you can’t speculate on anything. I’ve had a strong start to the year. If concentrating on getting a contract is going to affect my ability to race, I’ll concentrate first and foremost on the races and hope the contract comes from that. There’s not much uncertainty. This happens to every single bike rider in the world.”
Following Cavendish’s crash in the Tour de France last year, and his German rival Marcel Kittel’s strong showing, there was much speculation as to how the pair would shape up this season, but Kittel has had a poor start to 2015 because of a virus that has dogged him since January.
“I’ll take it as a compliment that not much is being said about Marcel Kittel’s slow start,” Cavendish said. “The only way I’ll get confidence over Marcel is from beating him, and it gives me more confidence seeing me having a good spring than seeing him struggle.”
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