Igor Astarloa has reacted with anger to the news that the International Cycling Union (UCI) has issued a two-year suspension and a fine of 35,000 Euro against the former pro, who hung up his bike in May 2009. Speaking to Spanish news agency Deia, the former world champion called the sanctions "absurd and ridiculous", refusing to pay the fine as his last team, Amica Chips, never paid him his salary on which the percentage is based.
"It seems absurd to me. I stopped racing after the Vuelta a Asturias in 2009 but in this sport, even when you're retired, they don't leave you in peace. I could say I don't care, because I'm no longer a cyclist and it doesn't bother me if they don't let me race, but it annoys me that they don't stop because it's unjust. They controlled me a thousand time, any hour, any place, and I was never positive," Astarloa said.
The sanctions were based on irregular blood values the UCI found in Astarloa's biological passport. He was one of the first five riders to fall foul of the new anti-doping tool in June 2009.
Regarding the fine, Astarloa added that it was “ridiculous.”
“How am I going to pay a part of my salary that I never received? The UCI knows very well that neither I nor my teammates received our salaries and that this was the reason why the team disappeared."
Astarloa, who was released from German team Milram in May 2008, rode for Amica Chips in 2009. But the team had financial problems and folded halfway through the season.