By Gregor Brown in Stuttgart
The Italian cycling federation (FCI) President Renato Di Rocco called on the International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid to protect cycling's legends, allowing them to attend the World Championships. The organizers of the Worlds in Stuttgart had already asked previous ambassadors Rudi Altig and Erik Zabel not to attend, later adding the names of Gianni Bugno and Eddy Merckx. Cyclingnews confirmed Bugno to be in Stuttgart, where he won his first Worlds' title 16 years ago.
Di Rocco reprimanded McQuaid for not protecting cycling's history and legends. "I've read the latest statement by the Organising Committee of the Stuttgart World Championship that refused to invite athletes such as Eddy Merckx, Gianni Bugno and Rudy Altig, that is, riders who have written extraordinary pages of our sport worldwide. I find it impossible for UCI not to react and protect its own competencies and history!" the Italian wrote in a letter to the head of the UCI yesterday.
"I expect you to take action immediately in order to recover your role with respect to an Organising Committee that has been indulging for too much in actions and methods which damage the image of cycling and UCI itself."
The UCI has had its hands full this week with legal issues, including its fight against Spaniard Alejandro Valverde and threats of lawsuit from the city of Stuttgart for allowing Italians Paolo Bettini and Danilo Di Luca to race.