Hushovd cuts off former chief

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Norway’s best-known cyclist, Thor Hushovd, told reporters Wednesday that he doesn’t think he wants to have any more contact with the man who’s been sports chief for the Norwegian cycling association, Steffen Kjærsgaard. Hushovd had already called Kjærsgaard’s doping admission this week “the biggest scandal in Norwegian sports.”

Thor Hushovd of Norway crossed the finish line just ahead of another top Norwegian cyclist, Edvald Boasson Hagen (at right), to win another stage of the Tour de France last year. Now he worries the credibility of Norwegian cycling has been damaged by the doping admission of cycling association sports chief Steffen Kjærsgaard. PHOTO: Garmin-Cervelo

Hushovd was clearly disappointed if not disgusted with Kjærsgaard, after the former pro-cyclist admitted to using illegal substances during his professional career, also when he cycled in the Tour de France.

“He (Kjærsgaard) has said he’d be contacting all the riders, but whether he contacts me, I don’t know,” Hushovd said during a press conference in his hometown of Grimstad. “I don’t think I want more contact with Steffen.”

Hushovd urged Kjærsgaard via the media, however, to come forward with everything he knows about doping, also regarding other guilty athletes who haven’t admitted to doping. Hushovd claimed he’s never been offered doping, “but I know that teammates of mine have used doping, because it’s been revealed later.”

Others have also called on Kjærsgaard to share what he knows, while national athletics boss Børre Rognlien called on other guilty athletes to do as Kjærsgaard has done and come clean. Kjærsgaard’s admission “hits the sport of cycling first and foremost, but it also affects sports in general,” Rognlien told news bureau NTB. “It was important that the truth came out. I encourage everyone who has something to say, to report to Antidoping Norge and tell their stories.”

Hushovd said he was stunned by Wednesday’s news about Kjærsgaard’s admission. “It’s not just that he was a top Norwegian cyclist but also a sports chief,” Hushovd told newspaper Fædrelandsvennen.  “This hit like a big bomb.”

Hushovd said he also felt that Kjærsgaard’s admission puts a veil of suspicion over himself and other cyclists, and that now the credibility of Norwegian cycling is tarnished as well. “Folks have a right to raise questions, but I know what I’ve done without taking any shortcuts,” Hushovd said. “I’m proud of that.”

Hushovd said on Wednesday that he thinks it was a good idea to start his own career with the Crédit Agricole team. “I’ve always thought about the good image of a team,” said Hushovd, who now cycles for BMC Racing Team.

“I know myself that I can look folks in the eye and say that I’ve never done doping,” said Hushovd, who’s now 34 years old. “Cycling is still a popular sport, and I think I’ll continue next year.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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