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Italian pro racers call for lifetime bans

The Italian professional cyclists association is calling for a lifetime ban for pro riders caught doping.

In a letter sent to UCI President Pat McQuaid, the ACCPI said “lifetime bans should be introduced as an extreme solution to give cycling back its credibility.”

The letter said cyclists who cooperate with authorities should be offered the chance to race again after shorter bans.

The letter was signed by ACCPI President Amedeo Colombo and the association’s secretary, former world champion Gianni Bugno.

The letter:

Dear Mr. McQuaid,

A few days ago your statement regarding the opportunity to implement severer sanctions for doping appeared in the press.

To this end, we in our role of an association with more than 250 professional Italian cyclists would like to inform you that we are regrettably convinced that the way to combat doping is not just tougher sanctions but indeed lifetime bans i.e. expulsion.

The situation has now become so serious that only with extreme measures can we have any hope of giving credibility back to our beloved sport and – even more importantly for us – to our cyclists.
The positive tests of Riccò, Sella, Piepoli, Schumacher, and Khol are damaging, even more so because they are winning cyclists. Their conduct fuels the fires of those who unjustly sustain that the only way to win cycling races nowadays is by means of doping.

This is why the UCI needs to act to eradicate every possible illegal temptation from the movement, and thereby send out the message that anybody who willfully cheats is out of the game for good.

The main reason why we demand this action is to protect the cyclists who race in full compliance of the rules and who – we firmly believe – make up the majority of the group.

However punishing the riders is simply not enough! If doping exists, it is mainly due to the fact that there are people out there encouraging the cyclists to take these illegal measures.

So we need to unmask “the pushers and the doping scientists”. And the only way we can do this is to encourage the cyclists to really and effectively cooperate with the sporting authorities and with the police and legal systems.

The WADA 2009 Code agrees with our hopes, but we believe that the UCI can and must support these measures even further. On the one hand by instituting sanctions to expel cyclists that are found guilty of using prohibited substances or prohibited methods in the future, and on the other hand by offering them the chance to return to racing after shorter bans if they provide evidence that they no longer have any connection with those who encouraged or helped them to use prohibited substances or methods.

Mr President, if you decide to promote this initiative, you can be assured of our full support.

Kind regards.

President of the ACCPI

Gianni BUGNO
Secretary of the ACCPI

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