UCI president Brian Cookson has confidence in Russian cyclists
By Orla Chennaoui and Matt Westby
Last Updated: 20/11/15 9:15am
International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson says the doping scandal engulfing Russian athletics has not dented his confidence in the Russian Cycling Federation.
Russian track and field athletes were provisionally suspended from international competition last week after an investigation by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commission alleged "state-sponsored doping".
The commission said there is a "deeply rooted culture of cheating" in Russian athletics inherited from the "Cold War days" and added it was "impossible" that Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko was not aware.
Russia is a prominent cycling nation both on the track and road, but Cookson insists the UCI is not suspicious of Russian riders any more than other nationalities.
He told Sky Sports News HQ: "I have always had concerns about all nations and all teams in our sport. I think it would be foolish of me to say I didn't have any concerns about any particular geography, any particular country, any particular branch of our sport.
"But I'm confident that the people running the Russian Cycling Federation are trying to do the right thing and I'm sure that if there were any problems there, they would not want to cover them up at all.
"But, at the moment, I'm not aware of anything specific and, if and when I was, I would take appropriate action."
Cookson added that the athletics scandal is not a reason for him to break UCI protocol and call for an investigation into Russian cycling.
He said: "We have truly independent processes here [at the UCI] - the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, the Anti-Doing Tribunal, the legal service. All that happens without my direct involvement.
"I don't ask them to target anybody or any nation or team, and equally, I don't tell them not to target any team or nation or individual."