By Tim Maloney, European Editor
AIGCP President Patrick Lefevere replied yesterday to the outraged comments of World Champion Paolo Bettini, who is also the team leader of Lefevere's Quick.Step-Innergetic squad, saying "Before he even speaks or refuses to take a DNA test, Paolo should think first. He should read the ProTour Code of Ethics. [Paolo] is World Champion and he's an example to others: if the riders refuse to follow the Code of Ethics, they are putting their future and the future of cycling at risk."
But there is still strong opposition to the new ProTour Code of Ethics and any DNA testing for riders, as evidenced by the words of Italian Professional Riders Association [ACCPI] President Amedeo Colombo, who stated that "I have the same position as Bettini; we have to take another look at the ProTour Code of Ethics because the new regulations will not stand up in any court in Europe. It's against any work rules and even against human rights."
Colombo then pointed out that "The UCI is making their moves, as are the teams, to take more power over cycling. They have made a ProTour Code of Ethics and imposed it on the riders, but have refused to sit down [with the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA)] and talk about it. But this time, regarding DNA testing, the riders won't just look at the situation, because it's unacceptable to be treated like thieves or delinquents. The [CPA] is looking at this with our lawyers to defend our rights. Without the riders, the UCI and teams wouldn't exist. Someone like Bettini is someone people listen to. We want him to join the [CPA] board of directors."
Filippo Pozzato, winner of this year's Milano-Sanremo is vice president of the ACCPI and the talented rider from Sandrigo, Italy told the La Gazzetta dello Sport that "I have talked to other riders, other members of [the Association] and we all want the same thing; to be heard and have more power with our opinions in the decisions that are being made by the teams and the UCI. In other sports, that's how it works. We're not puppets, but the main protagonists in the theatre of cycling. Bettini's words have expressed what most riders think about the ProTour Code of Ethics. It's time to give [the UCI and teams] a strong signal."