By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart
The last remaining obstacle to Paolo Bettini's participation in Sunday's world championship road race appears to have been removed with the news that the legal action taken on Thursday by the race organisers has been dismissed.
The Stuttgart Mayor for Culture, Education and Sport Dr. Susanne Eisenmann spoke to the media early on Thursday about the action, which sought to force the UCI to remove Bettini and Danilo di Luca from the race. Di Luca has been withdrawn due to an ongoing doping investigation, but Eisenmann – the chairman of the organising committee – learned on Friday that the Stuttgart District Court had dismissed the petition to grand a preliminary injunction.
She and Lord Mayor Dr. Wolfgang Schuster said they regretted the decision and still wanted the UCI to act, but that the city would accept the ruling and would not be taking any further legal steps.
"After the ruling, we are still sticking to our demand that the UCI must abide by the Agreement on the Anti-Doping Measures signed on 26th July 2007," said the Lord Mayor. "Ultimately the question as to whether Paolo Bettini starts or not is not a legal one but it's about the credibility of cycling.
"The UCI has to realise themselves what they are signaling when they guarantee Bettini's start – he still refuses to sign the pledge. It's definitely not a sign of a new beginning."