International Olympic Commission president Jacques Rogge has thrown his support behind cycling's governing body, assuring the sport of its position in the Olympics providing the UCI continues its battle against doping.
"You should not throw the baby out with the bath water," Rogge told AP. "It is not the UCI who is cheating. It is the riders who are cheating. As long as the UCI will do the utmost effort and have the same zero tolerance as the IOC, they will have their place at the Games."
Rogge's support comes just days after the UCI introduced a new doping charter, in which signatories pledge they were not involved in Operación Puerto and will provide a DNA sample to the Spanish authorities for confirmation. Additionally, those of the 600 ProTour riders who sign the charter risk losing a year's salary and face a two year ban should they be found guilty of using a banned substance.
"I believe they are doing their best," added Rogge. "It is a struggle, an uphill battle, but we want to keep them."
Despite the support of Rogge, Italian Olympic Commission (CONI) president Giovanni Petrucci has criticized the UCI for not tackling what it feels the heart of the doping issue is – team pressure. Petrucci has written an open letter to UCI president Pat McQuaid requesting a meeting to discuss ways their two organisations can pool resources to fight the sport's doping problem.
"It's just the individual rider that has to pay," read the CONI letter. "The UCI seems to completely ignore what has happened in the past and what still happens today as various investigations have shown: teams pressuring athletes to dope.
"The doping problem is too serious to be resolved with simple measures that penalize riders without producing solutions," added the letter.