Roche warns against 'guilt by association'

Fri, Oct 19, 2012, 01:00

CYCLING:STEPHEN ROCHE has cautioned against finding people “guilty through association” in the wake of the United States Anti-doping Agency’s scathing reporting into Lance Armstrong.

Team Sky, home of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, have reiterated their zero-tolerance stance and will sever ties with anyone with a history of doping.

Team Sky sports director Sean Yates worked closely with Armstrong earlier in his career, but denies any wrongdoing.

Roche, a friend of Yates, insists the Briton should not be reprimanded just because he was friends with Armstrong – whose seven Tour wins were fuelled by doping, according to Usada.

Roche said: “Is everybody guilty through association? In that case, get rid of everybody. Wipe out half the peloton, half the directeur sportifs, half the managers, half the UCI and then start from scratch.

“I’d understand, but I don’t think it’s really fair. It’s a bit radical to tear things up like that. Sean has been a great part of Sky. He’s been a great asset to cycling. I think it’s unfortunate if he loses his job now because of this.

“There are others in the same situation and I don’t know if this is the right way to tackle the problem.

“Cycling has come along a lot since 1999. Maybe it got worse before getting better in the early 2000s, but definitely in 2010, 2011, 2012, even though (Alberto) Contador had his problems, cycling has come on an awful lot.

“Whatever mischief was going on then could never happen today. The proof the system’s working is that a guy like Bradley Wiggins has come along and he’s suspected of being clean, which is brilliant, and he’s come out and won the Tour de France.”

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