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Italian cycling holds summit but fails to produce concrete proposals
The Italian Pro League, the Italian Cycling Federation, race organisers and a multitude of Italians team and rider associations have called for a series of changes in the way cycling is managed and have taken a stand against allowing the sport to become part of a closed circuit as recently proposed by Omega Pharma-Quick Step owner Zdenek Bakala.
200 representatives from Italian cycling gathered in Salsomaggiore, near Parma, for a summit after yet another difficult season for Italian cycling. The USADA investigation has revealed some details of the Padua police investigation but Italian cycling is braced for more doping scandals and is struggling to compete in the WorldTour due to a lack of major sponsors.
The recently reformed Lega Pro has former Italian politician Vincenzo Scotti as president. The 79-year-old warned that the Lega Pro could take legal action in the European courts to block any attempts to create a closed Champions League system as proposed by Bakala.
"We can't accept that any changes damage Italian cycling as was the case with the ProTour. We'll control what happens carefully and we're ready to fight any dominant positions and conflicts of interest by using European law," Scotti told Gazzetta dello Sport.
In a vague and confusing statement the Lega Pro and those who attended the meeting in Salsomaggiore Terme also called for democratic change and further efforts to fight doping in cycling.
"The history and role of Italian cycling in our country and the world, the presence and potential of our young riders, our technical and professionals skills and the brave and admirable decisions taken by our Federation in the last few years mean that we all have to accept the challenge of globalization, transforming the difficulties into opportunities and actively taking part in the changes with solid and coherent proposals," the statement reads.
"Any hypothesis of reforms can't happen via a wild deregulation and a concentration of power in the hands of just a few people who are principally driven by profit. Just as in the financial world, a lack of rules and ethics lead to a global crisis. Deregulation and a concentration of power, with an evident conflict of interest, would only lead to a crisis and loss a the founding values of our sport."
"The reforms have to be accompanied by a change in global governance of cycling that avoids dominant positions of the market and allows for merit –the foundation for every human activity."