By Gregor Brown
The president of the Italian cycling federation (FCI), Renato Di Rocco, responded to accusations by UCI president Pat McQuaid that there existed a "'Mafia' Western European culture." McQuaid had made a tough comparison between country's anti-doping measures when he said, "The Western European culture [meaning Belgium, France, Italy and Spain - ed.] has to some extent, I won't say condoned doping, but because of their culture in life, the way they deal with everything else in life, they accept certain practices."
Di Rocco had immediately come out and issued a response for McQuaid to consider his words but yesterday, Tuesday, he wrote a letter to the president of cycling's organizational body.
"Despite the dialogue of democratic comparisons there are months that have passed where you have cast shadows and discredit on some national federations with unfounded arguments while flattering others with praise and caress, in an attempt to create opposing fronts," read the letter on tuttobiciweb.com.
"While, regarding the fight against doping, there is evidence the power of many national federations, including ours, are acting together with the UCI. You did not hesitate to launch downright pointless accusations against your partners, interfering with the ongoing proceedings, regardless of the rules, of the divisions of power and the principles we have all come to respect. All of which results in cycling being shackled and criminalized by public opinion."
Di Rocco took further aim at McQuaid but also called for a constructive dialog. "I remind you that Italy is amongst the mother nations of the European Union. This is my culture, and I am proud to be Italian. Imagine if I was to say the same things about the UCI! ... I urge you to take time and reflect, performing your role as president of the 'super party,' to finally have a dialog that ours and the other cycling federations can use to help better the cycling world."