By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy
In June 2007, the UCI introduced a new rule presented as the ultimate way of dissuading riders from doping: ProTour team (and Agritubel's) members signed a letter in which they declared they'd pay one year's salary to the UCI for the fight against drugs should they test positive.
Questioned about that matter, president Pat McQuaid stated in a press conference on Saturday in Varese, Italy, that invoices have been sent to the riders. Reading between the lines, he was admitting that none of the riders had yet paid.
The UCI can't bill the offending riders until procedures reach their conclusion. Since the June 2007 agreement, Alexander Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cristian Moreni, Iban Mayo, Patxi Vila, Paolo Bossoni, Manuel Beltrán, Riccardo Riccò, Moisés Dueñas and Dmitriy Fofonov have tested positive.
"If they want to come back [to racing], they will have to fulfil their commitment," McQuaid said of the financial obligations now hanging over the heads of those riders.
Some of them might try to return to cycling in a role of team manager, while others, like 24 year-old Riccò might try to come back as a rider, but they will only be able to do so if they pay what they owe. However, as long as the riders don't have a licence anymore, the UCI cannot pursue them.
"We are looking into integrating into work contracts or UCI rules the measures that have been taken in the recent past, like the DNA [testing] availability and the payment of one year's salary," UCI Pro Tour manager told Cyclingnews.