In a development that many observers will have seen coming the AFP news agency is reporting that Bernard Kohl now says he was mis-quoted by the French newspaper L'Equipe and says he will sue.
In an interview published yesterday (Tues) the sports daily quoted the Austrian rider who came third in last year's Tour de France and won the king of the mountains competition as saying that the race's top 10 riders could have been positive and expressing surprise that only three riders were caught, including himself. Kohl was stripped of the KoM title after tests run after the Tour showed he had micro-dosed with CERA, a synthetic variety of EPO.
Whether he was misquoted or not, given the implications of what he said and that fact that Cedric Vasseur, president of the Professional Cyclists Association said that his accusation could not go unanswered students of the laws of libel, defamation and slander will not be surprised by his retraction.
Kohl now says that his original statement ran along the lines of given the difficulty of the Tour de France it was hard to understand it without doping rather than saying everyone doped. From a historical perspective it is difficult to argue with that statement even if currently it is not true.
Although only 27 Bernard Kohl announced his retirement from cycling in May when he was handed a two year suspension – given his recent statements it is unlikely that anyone in the peloton will miss him.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.