Goss: report showed less skin, more transparency

Australian sprinter Matt Goss has welcomed the report of an independent review into his Orica-GreenEDGE team’s anti-doping processes. He also said he found assisting the investigation was no different to undergoing a doping test, except ”they just see less of your body.”

”I’ve always been on teams with anti-doping systems. You are always under scrutiny. We are always being tested so answering a few questions is no different to doing a [drug] test, I guess … they just see less of your body,” Goss told Fairfax Media before Friday’s Giro d’Italia 13th stage, from Busseto to Cherasco.

The inquiry was launched late last year in the aftermath of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s findings in the case involving Lance Armstrong, who has been banned for life. It included evidence from former Orica-GreenEDGE head sports director Matt White, who admitted to doping as a rider.

White lost his job with Orica-GreenEDGE and also with Cycling Australia as the national men’s road team coach. He recently revealed an inquiry into his case by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority ruled he be handed a six-month retroactive ban dating back to October 13. With the ban having expired on April 13, he was free to resume work in the sport, although his future at Orica-GreenEDGE hinged on the report by anti-doping expert Nicki Vance.

The findings have recommended he be reinstated to his position on the team, and that sport director Neil Stephens be kept on and not penalised for his involvement as a rider in the 1998 Festina doping scandal.

How many of the recommendations are actually implemented depends on a meeting between Vance and the team’s owner, Gerry Ryan, and general manager Shayne Bannan in Australia next week.

Despite the wait for Vance’s findings, Goss said he understood why the probe was carried out and lauded it as trouble-free for riders.

”If it makes the team a more respected team in the cycling community because of it, I’m happy to do it,” Goss said. ”It took a few minutes out of the day to talk to Nicki. Like all the [riders] on the team, I have nothing to hide, so it was no drama to talk to her. Hopefully it does some good in resolving the issue in the sport and gives another option of a team that they know is abiding by the rules.”

Goss is focused on trying to win a stage at the Giro, despite again missing out on the action in the 13th stage, which was won British sprinter Mark Cavendish (Sky), with Australian Brett Lancaster (Sky) fourth. But Goss knows with his recovery from a virus incomplete, and the Giro to finish in Brescia next Sunday, there are really only two more chances for him – stage 17, 214 kilometres from Carravagio to Vicenza, and stage 21 from Riese Pios X to Brescia over 197 kilometres. ”I’m not feeling that great, but I’m getting through,” he said.

Rupert Guinness is covering the Giro d’Italia as a guest of Eurosport.

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