Thursday, April 18, 2024

Jörg Jaksche – “I decided to tell the whole story, I can look at myself in the mirror”; Interview Part II


HomeInterviewsJörg Jaksche - "I decided to tell the whole story, I can...

As a man who’s incurred the wrath of the UCI and the professional teams for ‘fessing up,’ and is in London this weekend to take part in the “Change cycling Now” meeting, we thought that it would be interesting to get Jörg Jaksche’s views on the current situation.

If you read the first interview we published yesterday, you’ll remember that at the end of 2010 he was living in Austria, still without a team and wondering about his future – two years later, here’s what he told us…

Jörg brings us up to date in this interview.

Thank you for agreeing to speak to us Jörg, are you still living in Austria?

“Yes, it’s a nice country to live in.”

But you’re not working for SRM anymore?

“No, I’ve gone back to university.

“I wasn’t sure which subject to study – but eventually chose Economics; I think it gives you an overall view of the world, it’s not so specific.”

I believe you’ve kept training over the last few years?

“No, not really, I run a little and cycle – but not training, just keeping fit.

“The club I’ve joined is more of a ‘hobby’ team – for sportivs and fun.”

Did Operatión Puerto affect your everyday life?

“Not really, there are some people who know me from cycling.

“It did change my life, I had to stop my sport – but it turned my life around and it’s the link which brought me here to university.”

Jörg has raced for some of the most historically notorius teams.

Are you surprised how big the Lance scandal is?

“Lance played in a different league.

“He started his Foundation, he won seven Tours and befriended politicians – who all wanted to be associated with his success.

“I have to say that I was surprised that he had influence with Sarkozy, trying to get Bodry fired – it just shows how unscrupulous he was.”

Has there been a feeding frenzy with the German media?

“The media in Germany is pretty hypocritical, when he was winning he was great, but now they’re seeking to profit from his fall from grace.

“The German media isn’t like the Belgian media where they are actually into cycling – it’s different across Europe.”

Do you think that other sports must be laughing at us – we take all the flak?

“Well, not all of the bad people are in cycling!

“It’s not just cycling; there are other sports where there’s much more money – but yes, they’ll be happy that cycling gets most of the negative media attention.”

Jörg Jaksche
Compared to when Jörg was racing, he says doping is far less of a problem nowadays.

Do you think the drugs problem is better, now?

“Compared to my era, it’s 100% better.

“I see the main problem as the fact that the UCI don’t know how to deal with the situation they now find themselves in.”

But can the sport move on with all the people from the ‘bad old days; still involved?

“The big problem is that it’s very difficult to run a team with people from outside of the sport – and there are very few people who have been involved in the sport over the last 10 to 15 years who haven’t been touched by doping.

“For me, it would be best to have guys who said nothing about the past, but now know it was wrong, than to have guys who were forced to confess and didn’t tell all of their story.

“It’s unfair to blame Lance for everything; I remember the US Postal guys, they were like groupies around him, kissing his ass so they got a Tour ride because they knew they could make a lot of money.

“It was their own decision to dope; they were part of the system – Lance didn’t force anyone.”

Jonathan Vaughters was rather uncomplimentary about you, recently.

“He actually emailed me to apologise for some of what he said – I said to him; “why did you say these things about me?”

“But it’s the way he communicates, through forums and Twitter – so it’s not really ‘official’, but it still discredits you.

“He said I was always gossiping about drugs; I may have spoken about it – but then everyone did.

“And how he can he state that I wouldn’t be a good rider without taking drugs; it’s not as if he knows any of my values – how could he?

“It’s bullshit.”

Jörg Jaksche
‘JV’ is also attending the CCN meeting tomorrow – a chance for him and Jörg to put their viewpoints across. Photo©Getty Images.

Do you think that the UCI are the right people to do the drugs testing?

“No, I think it should be an independent body; perhaps from the country’s national sports organisation – but not from within cycling.”

You never named other riders, but you did tell the UCI what was going on in teams – was that ever acted upon?

“As far as I know, nothing was ever looked into.

“When I agreed to speak to the UCI there was a clear agreement that I would not be naming any riders.

“As far as I was concerned, we were all in the same situation; it was the system which was wrong – the organised doping.

“I spent four or five hours talking to them and my ban was reduced to one year because I cooperated; but then they said I hadn’t cooperated fully because I didn’t name riders.

“And they said that I wouldn’t cooperate with CAS – I’d spoken to the German Public Prosecutor, so speaking to CAS would have been like a trip to kindergarten.

“They twisted all my words around – it was like something from a banana republic.”

Do you think four year bans would be a bigger deterrent?

“A two year or a four year ban, it stops your career – but you can start again.

“Rather than talking about the future, we should be looking back and learning.

“After every big scandal we hear the same boring nonsense from the UCI. Isn’t there anyone in the UCI clever enough to understand that after the 10th scandal and the 10th set of promises to change everything – when there’s yet another scandal it proves their work is senseless and ineffective?

“We have still the same problems.

“Is it so hard for them to understand that punishing team managers and doctors is the only way to save this sport. You don’t have to be Einstein to understand this that you need to dig at the roots not cut the leaves.

“We only talk punishment. It’s the team doctors; they’re the people who inform the riders about the way to take them.

“And before them there are the people who make money from selling the drugs – it’s a chain and you have to get to the beginning of it. It’s no good looking at the end and administering harsher punishments if the chain is still in place.”

Jörg Jaksche
Dave Brailsford’s goal for Team Sky is ‘zero tolerance’ of doping, present and past. Photo©Martin Williamson

What do you think of Sky’s ‘clear out?’

“It’s like I say, if someone has been in the sport for 10 or 15 years, it’s hard not to be touched by drugs.

“I think the Sky thing is for the media; if you want to have a team without sinners then you better just take juniors.

“I understand what David Brailsford is trying to achieve, but I doubt the end result – it can only make offenders even more scared to tell the truth.

“I’m not saying that everyone who has been a pro for a decade blood doped or took EPO, but many will have taken cortisone.

“But I do think that it’s different for guys from the last three or five years.”

Jörg Jaksche
Jörg decided to “tell the whole story, not just one tenth of it”.

You must be confused – you were a pariah for confessing, but now if you confess, you’re a ‘hero.’

“It’s ridiculous; they’re confessing to one tenth part of what they did and are back racing in the spring.

“I was one of the first guys to speak out; I was discredited and treated like shit – but it is what it is.

“I find it amusing that JV has set himself up as the judge of ‘how guilty’ riders are!”

Do you ever wish you’d just kept quiet, served two years and come back?

“I often think that the silliest idea of my life was to honest about what I did.

“On the other hand, there are riders out there who told one tenth part of the whole story.

“I decided to tell the whole story, not just one tenth of it – I can look at myself in the mirror without worrying about the rest of the story coming out.”