Italian Riders Association calls for fair treatment
The Lampre-Farnese Vini team has confirmed it has no plans to suspend or withdraw from races any of the riders under investigation in Italy for their links to pharmacist Guido Nigrelli.
On Friday the BMC team withdrew former Lampre rider Alessandro Ballan from their Paris-Roubaix line-up. Fellow Italian and former Lampre rider Mauro Santambrogio was also withdrawn from future races until their involvement is fully clarified.
However Lampre-Farnese Vini has no intention of taking a similar stance.
"We believe that at the moment there are too few details known about the investigation to decide to suspend any riders, so for the moment, the team does not believe it will stop any rider (from racing). We'd like to understand the situation better so that we can evaluate, make a comment and take any eventual action," the team told Cyclingnews.
On Friday the Lampre-Farnese Vini riders studied the key cobbled sections of Roubaix and then travelled to Compiègne for Sunday's start. Alfredo Balloni, Vitaliy Buts, Mauro Da Dalto, Danilo Hondo, Mirco Lorenzetto and Marcin Sapa have been named in the team for Paris-Roubaix.
On Saturday, the President of the Italian Professional Riders Association (ACCPI), Amedeo Colombo, issued a statement condemning doping but criticising anyone for 'deciding that some one is guilty before it's known what they've been accused of.'
"We hope that those who have the responsibility to decide if riders race or not, do so with the necessary prudence and fairness," he said.
"The Mantova case is still in the investigation phase (those involved have only received a request to extend the investigations, not a notification that they will be formally accused) and the judge handling the case has said that he needs more time to define, decide, who and what and based on what facts."
"We believe that blocking a rider and or their team on the basis a of a simple request to extend investigations is a impudent and unfair. Cycling needs rules that are clear, certain and above all equal for everybody."
"We're the first to call for rigour and severity but we're totally convinced that rigour and severity cannot come before justice and equality."
"Deciding that some one is guilty before it's known what they've been accused of is the damaging, unjust and unequal thing that can be done. Not only for athletes but most of all for our sport and for all its fans."
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