The Italian cycling federation have agreed to indefinitely suspend all cycling races on the national racing calendar as of Monday 18th as a result of the massive investigation following the police raid on the Giro last week. Internationally ranked UCI races will still run, but it looks like the National championships on July 1st will be canned pending results of a suspension review on Friday 23rd. We haven’t managed to find out whether Italian mountain bike events are affected by this suspension.
Reactions from the rest of the cycling world have been varied:
Italian Cycling Federation president Giancarlo Ceruti wants to make cycling “a sport without shadows.”
Joop Atsma, chairman of the Dutch cycling union (KNWB) said that “This makes no sense. This action works counter productively. The Italian teams are allowed to ride abroad. We don’t have to forget what happened in the Giro. But now it’s time to take action against this criminal circuit.”
“Probably there are certain products on the market which are still in the experimental phase. Mostly only two or three factories works with such products. We have to ensure that all medicines are marked, so we can find the trail and source of these products.”
Jean Pitallier, new president of the French Cycling Federation, has said that he is “not convinced” while French supercyclist Bernard “the badger” Hinault said penalties should be increased from 6 months to 2 years to deter doping. He continued “One should not assume that because one has doped, one can climb. It is absolutely necessary to go training every day, to do it conscientiously, to do it well, and the results will follow. One does not need a drug to climb a mountain.”
Meanwhile the disgraced ‘Mr Nice Guy’ of Italian cycling Dario Frigo can’t possible expect anyone to believe his press conference statement that he “never doped”. He continued “It was wrong to have those drugs in my possession, but I did not use them. They found them in my luggage, and not in my blood,” he continued. Even when he admitted he knew of the drugs he tries to implicate other users, saying they were there in case he needed “something that could have made me feel as strong as the others.” he still tried to maintain “I did not know what kind of substances were found in my possession, but they were in a bag and they would have remained there until the finish in Milan. And there, I would have thrown them away.” He did at least have the honesty to admit hs team were correct to fire him, saying “I did not respect the rules and therefore they were correct.” Pressure is now on Frigo to name the suppliers of the drugs in his bumper dope hamper so that the crucial next link in the chain can be identified.
It’s not all fun and games for the others either. 86 riders and team officials are still under investigation including Telekom, who admit to their team doctor carrying caffeine tablets and corticosteroid asthma medication for Ullrich. In fact only the French ‘Bonjour’ team has so far been declared totally free of suspicion, but then again they only had one rider left in the race!
Pantani on the other hand is in more trouble with the police for misuse of speed after being clocked at 190kmh on the autostrada. He’ll probably lose his licence for 3 months as a result.
All qoutes and latest news shamelessly lifted from Aussie racing oraclecyclingnews.com as usual. Apologies and many thanks in equal measure.