Freire: ‘I did not dope’ – El País
Three-time world champion Óscar Freire denied doping throughout his career during an interview with the Spanish daily El País, published Sunday.
Freire, who retired after falling short of a fourth rainbow jersey last year, said it was possible to ride clean during the EPO era and insists he never doped.
“No, no, no,” Freire said when asked if he doped. “But it’s a stupid question. I can say yes or no, but the people can believe what they want no matter what I say. They can believe me or not. I always did everything to give the maximum and I have had a lot of disappointments with cycling and with certain cyclists in that sense, but also great joy. And, no, I have not doped.”
Freire also defended his time at Rabobank, which is now under heavy pressure about its doping legacy during the EPO era. Several former riders have admitted doping, including a confession by star rider Michael Boogerd earlier this month.
“There are clean riders, there were before and there are now,” he said. “Even I could not have imagined all that had happened.”
The Spaniard insisted that Rabobank, where he raced during 2003-11, always had a staunch anti-doping policy, but admitted that riders often broke the rules and worked with outside doctors.
“I never saw anything strange at Rabobank,” he said. “Quite the contrary. … Everyone wants to talk now about what happened when there is nothing to be resolved. The problem was that detection methods were not effective. You cannot only blame the riders, who are the most guilty, but also those who were behind the controls, who made fools of everyone.”