The head of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the president of the Italian cycling federation, Renato Di Rocco, saw their relationship disturbed last week: Francesco Moser, head of the association of professional cyclists (CPA) told Italian TV his point of view on the discussion about doping in the sport. "If all riders can be brought to the same level then we should stick with doping controls. If not, then for the professionals perhaps the solution is [total legalisation]," said Moser, who topped Eddy Merckx' hour record in Mexico City in 1984.
His audacious comments meanwhile led McQuaid to criticise the way in which the Italian federation has been dealing with the Basso case. "When you see the stance the German federation is taking, and the president of the Italian federation openly supporting Basso, they are two opposite ones," he told AFP. "I support the German proposals based on solutions."
At a meeting of the European Cycling Union, the continental confederation of the UCI, in Milan on September 2, McQuaid and Di Rocco could explain themselves. "Let's not confuse the Italian federation with liberalisation," Di Rocco told Gazzetta dello Sport. "The person who declared certain things [Moser] should respond. We have done so much against doping: We delegated the controls to the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) in accordance with the UCI and WADA, and bought three new Sysmex instruments to be on UCI level. The Basso case is in the hands of the CONI now, and I as president cannot put any pressure on them. There is maximum transparence, and we are also for zero tolerance."
McQuaid, meanwhile, believes that if the riders implicated in Operation Puerto want to prove their innocence, they should do it by DNA testing. "(The Basso case) is not a doping case where there is a positive result, to be confirmed by the counter-analysis," he noted. "It is being examined by a magistracy, where there can be quibbles and shortcuts. The only way to clearly demonstrate his innocence would be a blood DNA test: all the implicated riders should ask for it."