Sir Chris Hoy has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of “passing the buck” in not imposing a blanket ban on Russia for the Olympic Games next month despite last week’s damning report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the country’s doping culture, while Emma Pooley says Russian cyclists should not be able to compete there.
Hoy, who retired after London 2012 where he won the fifth and sixth gold medals of his career, becoming Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympian, took to Twitter yesterday to express his disappointment at the IOC’s decision.
What sort of message does this send out? Surely IOC's job is to make crucial decisions rather than passing the buck https://t.co/hJMEooFTRB
— Chris Hoy (@chrishoy) July 24, 2016
Rather than imposing a ban across all sports, the IOC has instead left it to individual global governing bodies of the sports that will feature at Rio. WADA and a number of national anti-doping agencies, including USADA, have condemned the decision.
But UCI president Bran Cookson, speaking to Sky Sports News as the Tour de France concluded in Paris on Sunday, said he felt that the IOC had made the correct decision, while adding that in the case of cycling, the governing body he heads will analyse the impact on the sport.
"I think we'll have to continue our detailed analysis of the situation," he said. "Which Russian rider has been selected for the Rio Olympics, who is in the registered testing pool, the biological passport, and so on.
“Frankly, I think I favour an individual approach rather than a blanket ban. I think that Russians cyclists are tested just as frequently as other nationalities," added Cookson.
Hoy isn’t the only leading British cyclist to have condemned the IOC’s decision, however.
Former world time trial champion Emma Pooley, who took silver in that discipline at Beijing in 2008 and who will ride the event at Rio next month as well as supporting Lizzie Armitstead in the road race, said Russian cyclists should be excluded from next month’s Olympics.
While the IOC’s decision last week came with the stipulation that Russian athletes who have served doping suspensions will not be allowed to compete at Rio, some are challenging their exclusion at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Olga Zabelinskaya, who won bronze medals in both the road race and time trial at London 2012 has since served an 18-month ban after later failing an anti-doping control, but still hopes to ride in Brazil should her appeal succeed.
However, Pooley, quoted on Mail Online, said: “Zabelinskaya got two medals in London, tested positive a year after London, served a ban and — hey presto — she’s back in competition again just in time for Rio.
“That makes me pretty angry, I don’t trust her, I know her home anti-doping agency isn’t testing her properly out of competition,’ said Pooley.
“I don’t think she should be in the race. I think anyone who tested positive should have a lifetime ban from the Olympics. I know it’s up to the UCI now, I would hope they wouldn’t allow the [Russian] cyclists to race.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.