September 8/06 4:32 am - Hermida Responds to Suspension and Reinstatement
Posted by Editor on 09/8/06
Hermida Responds to Suspension Reversal
Jose Hermida, who was suddenly removed from the Spanish team for the World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand two weeks ago, is in Schladming, Austria for the World Cup Final after being reinstated just as abruptly yesterday. Our correspondent Erhard Goller spoke with him earlier today.
Hermida was very calm and relaxed as he spoke to the media today. If it's true, what he said - and Multivan Merida team manager Andy Rottler confirms it - this (suspension) was a big balloon with nothing in it but hot air.
Hermida says that the Spanish federation had no evidence, not even a suspicion that Hermida was doping. The Spanish Federation, the UCI and also the investigators in the Operacion Puerto could not present any facts tying Hermida to the doping investigation. The prosecuter, according to Hermida, said that there is no investigation on him. Andy Rottler confirmed this and said that the only thing the team received was the fax they put in the press release yesterday (see Daily News - Hermida Exonerated, September 7/06 Noon EDT). Hermida was very critical about the lack of information provided by the UCI.
Bad days? No, bad days are if it's something with my son or the family. I learned from Les Gets (France, 2004 Worlds, when he could not start due to a high hematocrit result) that if the things are going on like this, you cannot stop them. I knew that would be a problem, but that we can solve it. Since my son Eric is born, the priorities in my life have changed.
For sure, I was one of the favourites at Worlds, that's the bad part of it. But I'm the same person as I was before. My way to do the sport is to follow the rules. That was it before and will be in the future.
My federation didn't talk with me since the phone call in Rotorua. It was the vice president, without knowledge of the president, who took the decision (to remove Hermida from the team).
My lawyer began legal action against the federation yesterday, because of preventing my start at the Worlds without any reason. And a second legal action will be done because of damaging my image.
But in the future, I think, I will ride again for the federation, because you can do Worlds and Olympics only with the federation.
For us it was a difficult situation, José knew that. We have a "no-tolerance" policy concerning doping. We had no link in the ways the information was provided. The UCI told us nothing, but in the end there was not even a suspicion (that Hermida was under investigation).