Davis sees light at end of tunnel

Australian sprinter fights to clear his name of Puerto allegations

Australian cyclist Allan Davis said Thursday there was light at the end of the tunnel as he fights to clear his name of doping allegations.

The 27-year-old is one of the best sprint cyclists in the world, but is without a professional contract after he was caught up in the Spanish Operation Puerto doping investigation. Davis, from Bundaberg in central Queensland, believes he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Operation Puerto targeted the Liberty Seguros cycling team.

While investigators found proof of doping within the Spanish team, there has never been any evidence put forward that Davis was guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs.

International cycling body UCI asked the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) to investigate Davis, which found he had no case to answer. But after Davis's most recent team, Discovery Channel, was disbanded last year, he was left without a contract.

UCI vice president Ray Godkin, an Australian, claimed this week that team managers were refusing to sign Davis without official clearance from the body.

"There is nothing really to link him with anything, yet he's just not able to get anything to say he's free to negotiate a contract with a ProTour team," Godkin told Australian media.

Davis said winning Thursday's third stage of the Tour Down Under had lifted a great weight from his shoulders. "It's a big relief personally," he said. "This is amazing for me, for my wife and two kids. We've been through a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the last 18 months, and anyone who's doubted me or said things about me behind doors, you can stick this right up you."

Davis said the bid to clear his name was gathering momentum and he was optimistic about his future. "It's going really well. In my power I've done everything I can do to clear the whole situation up," he said. "I've offered DNA, I've offered whatever it takes."

He added: "The talks I've had here with the high rollers in the game, you know I think a lot of people are very embarrassed and feel for me personally," he said. "Hopefully the tide's changing and I can get back on track pretty quick."

© AFP 2008

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