New sanctions planned, UCI ProTeam reportedly targeted in Italian anti-doping raids
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

New sanctions planned, UCI ProTeam reportedly targeted in Italian anti-doping raids

by VeloNation Press at 10:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Italian federation plans to ramp up doping sanctions

The headquarters of a UCI ProTeam based at Lake Garda has reportedly been raided as part of a countrywide anti-doping operation in Italy.

According to Tuttobiciweb, the action involves numerous police agents and those concentrating on the team have seized the medical records of five Russian riders living in Spain.

It has been reported that Katusha is the team in question. It has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Meanwhile following calls this week for a cleanup in the sport from Gianni Petrucci, the President of the Italian Olympic Committee CONI, the Italian cycling federation is aiming to ramp up the sanctions for those involved in doping cases.

Under the planned changes to the current legislation, the ban for serious doping offences would double from two years to four, while other individuals involved in such matters could face a lifetime expulsion from the sport. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, team managers, executives, mechanics and soigneurs would be those facing the latter sanction.

In addition to that, the criteria for selection to the national team for world championship and Olympic Games would be made tougher, with biological passports one of the methods used to screen those involved. Riders who previously served a doping suspension could be excluded from consideration.

Petrucci demanded change, something that most likely was provoked by the news that 32 individuals are to be investigated in relation to an alleged doping ring based in Mantova. It mainly involves past and current riders and staff from the Lampre team.

“We've asked for strong action because this really requires something serious: the reality is that the number of positive riders forms a sizeable part of cycling history," Petrucci said this week, according to AP. "I'm extremely worried, and it's got to be cycling itself that takes concrete moves and says, 'enough'.”

"I have spoken honestly with the federation president, Renato Di Rocco, and we did an analysis of recent years. Every time we delude ourselves with a win and then we are disillusioned. We can not go on like this - I have asked the federation to act strongly on this.

His calls for change were backed by Italian federation president Renato Di Rocco. “We've got to stop this situation, which is dramatic,” he said. “If I could stop some riders from participating in the Giro, I would, starting with Contador. But that's not in my powers, so we'll think of something else.”

That something else begins with the tougher sanctions mentioned today. While the UCI has already said that it wants to see four year bans becoming the norm, the Italian federation’s proposed life bans for those helping riders to break rules is certainly a step in the right direction. For many years it has been said that there has been too little focus on others involved in such cases, and so a change to this policy would be a welcome development.


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