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Italians ban ex-dopers from nationals

The Italian cycling federation is coming down on hard on ex-dopers and is banning any rider with any sort of doping penalty from competing in the Italian national championships next weekend in Sicily.

That means such star riders as Michele Scarponi, Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca and Alessandro Petacchi will not be lining up to fight for the tricolore national title jersey.

According to a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport, the ban could extend to international competition as well.

National coach Paolo Bettini questioned if the new ruling was too stern, but said he will work to build the best possible team.

“That’s coming down a bit heavy, I will certainly miss some important men,” Bettini told La Gazzetta. “It just means that I will have to be even more focused on building a team around younger riders.”

According to the report, Italian cycling federation president Renato Di Rocco was considering putting a time limit set to 2008, but changed his mind and made it for any rider with any history of a doping scandal.

The new Italian posture come just as the UCI tightened up its own rules outlining former dopers.

According to new rules set to be in place by July 1, any rider who served a doping suspension will not be able to work in the future as a sport director or other role in a top pro team.