PARIS, Nov 15, 2012 – Professional cyclists have called for tougher
sanctions for dope cheats, the sport’s governing body has said, as it seeks to
restore its reputation after the damaging Lance Armstrong drug scandal.
The International Cycling Union’s (UCI) athletes commission made the
recommendation after a three-day meeting in Switzerland which looked at ways
of improving how the sport was run and boosting its tarnished image.
“The commission proposed stiffening the sanctions against riders found
guilty of doping in order to have a dissuasive effect,” the world body said in
a statement on its website uci.ch.
“In this respect, the athletes’ commission supports the UCI regulations
introduced on July 1 2011 that prohibit any person involved in a doping case
from returning to cycling in any post or position of responsibility.
“Furthermore, the commission proposed sanctioning the teams and the
entourage of riders who test positive and not just the rider him or herself.”
Members of the body include male and female cyclists and para-cyclists.
Their proposals will be transmitted to the UCI, national federations,
anti-doping agencies, competition organizers and professional groups, among
others, the statement added.
The commission said that there should be an increase in the minimum salary
for riders to help resist the temptation to dope while there should also be
greater parity between money paid to team leaders and the rest of their
Prize money should be equal between male and female racers, it added.
Cycling was plunged into turmoil early last month when the US Anti-Doping
Agency (USADA) published substantial evidence to support its decision in
August to ban Texas rider Armstrong for life and strip him of his career
record for doping.
The UCI, criticized for not detecting Armstrong sooner, confirmed the
decision late last month, leaving him shorn of his record seven Tour de France
titles and record back to August 1, 1998.
Armstrong, whom the USADA said was at the center of the biggest doping
program in sports history, has consistently denied taking
Separately, the so-called “clean cycling union”, the Movement for Credible
Cycling (MPCC), said three more teams — one from the second tier and two from
the third — had joined the group, taking membership to 14.
The MPCC has called for a zero-tolerance approach to doping from next year.