UCI president Pat McQuaid has hit out at World Champion Paolo Bettini and the Italian Cycling Federation, with the Italian to defend his rainbow World Champion jersey in Stuttgart, Germany this week despite not inking his name on the UCI's anti-doping charter, introduced in the lead-up to July's Tour de France. McQuaid says he's "angry and annoyed" over Bettini's ongoing refusal to sign the document, in which riders pledge to give a blood sample for cross referencing with evidence gathered in the the Operation Puerto doping investigation and to pay back one years salary if found guilty of doping.
"Bettini has not signed and I feel very angry and very annoyed," McQuaid told AFP. "To be honest with you I'm equally angry with the Italian Federation as with Bettini. The Italian Federation have said they won't ask riders to sign and the Spanish have done likewise."
Since introducing the new charter in late June the UCI has relied on the public pressure of making the list available online to get riders to sign the agreement, as it has no legal right to force riders to sign the document or prevent them from racing if they don't sign. Public pressure it seems isn't enough to sway Bettini's position on the matter and as one of Italy's highest profile riders the national federation isn't in a rush to force the Quick.Step-Innergetic rider, or any of its other members for the matter, to sign the document. "There are some people who still do not realise the state that cycling is in today," McQuaid said. "He has decided for whatever reason not to sign it willingly and to try and sign an altered version, which we won't accept. It is only a pledge. It is not a legal document. We cannot stop them racing. It was never meant to be [a legal document]."
Bettini has reacted to McQuaid's comments saying that any attempt to prevent him from racing will only make him more determined to leave Germany on Sunday afternoon the same way he entered the country - with the World Championship jersey on his shoulders. "If they are doing this to destabilise me they should know that I'll win the world championship in Stuttgart on purpose," said Bettini.