Still no team for Jaksche and Sinkewitz: "Watch out for your license."

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03.01.2008/  Jörg Jaksche and Patrick Sinkewitz are still looking for a team. Both riders are represented by attorney Michael Lehner. Lehner suspects the UCI is threatening teams who want to sign the crown witnesses.  

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Jörg Jaksche talking with Manolo Saiz (picture: Cyclingheroes)

In an interview last year with Cyclingheroes Jörg Jaksche sounded quite optimistic about finding a team to race with after the end of his ban. Jaksche told Cyclingheroes: "I suppose with some teams I don't stand a chance... But there are other possibilities. I think I would get a contract."  But Jaksche still didn't find a team and fellow crown witness Patrick Sinkewitz also has difficulties to find a team.

Both riders are represented by German attorney Michael Lehner. According to German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lehner is brooding about a letter to UCI president Patrick McQuaid. Lehner wants to know if the UCI is putting pressure on Pro-Tour teams not to sign Jaksche and Sinkewitz. Lehner said: "I heard things that are difficult to understand." Lehner is looking for a team for his clients and continued by saying: "It can't be that behind the scene there possibly are reprisals carried out.

According to Lehner it was indicated to him that the UCI threatened Pro-Tour teams with harassment if they would sign one of his German riders. An anonymous source told Süddeutsche said that a "traitorous" team would be tested more and would have to stay in bad hotels in races like the Tour. According to Lehner "one team manager was told: watch out for your license."

That might explain that Jaksche and Sinkewitz didn't receive much support from the cycling world for their confessions. Lehner said that the UCI even appealed against the verdict against Jaksche at the International Sports Court (CAS). The Austrian Cycling Federation reduced Jaksche's ban to one year after Jaksche cooperated with sports- and state authorities. The UCI appealed after the term to appeal had expired.

The case is resting but the motives of the UCI are interesting. According to Lehner the UCI appealed because the world body claims that the Austrian Federation is not responsible for Jaksche's case. This is interesting because after 'Operacion Puerto' broke out the UCI  demanded that the Austrian Federation should take action against Jaksche. Jaksche lives in Austria and has an Austrian license. 

Lehner believes that the ostracization of Jaksche and Sinkewitz "is a sign to all: Attention, speaking out doesn't pay!" A reduced ban won't help a crown witness when no team is willing to sign him.

Lehner is also surpised about the behaviour of the president of the German Sports and Olympic Federation, Thomas Bach. Bach said in an interview with German daily newspaper FAZ that "the old clan are still working" in cycling. But Bach also criticised Jaksche and Sinkewitz. Bach said: "I don't see this shift in awareness and understanding of wrongdoing by Jaksche and Sinkewitz."  Bach added: "They are mostly complaining, (...) that they don't find new contractual partner."

A delicate remark because Bach also is the head of the Court of Appeal at CAS. Lehner is affraid that his clients won't get a fair trial: "No president of a distrcit court could allow remarks like those from Bach in a pending court case. That considerably reduces the credibility of CAS judicature." Lehner is astonished that "the same Bach publicly praised Zabel and Aldag as ambassadors of good will." Rolf Aldag and Erik Zabel only confessed doping offenses that were time-barred.

Related Stories:

Jörg Jaksche: We can discuss the whole thing in court, my pleasure!

Jaksche: "The team management knew everything"

Jaksche will cooperate with authorities

Special coverage: Puerto affair

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