Friday in Genova, Switzerland, rider and team representatives are slated to meet to discuss the proposed DNA testing within cycling. The meeting is in response to the decision by the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) to ask that the riders authorize the UCI to collect their DNA samples, and, with the start of 2007, any new professionals to automatically authorize the collection of their DNA.
"The agreement was unanimous," said President of AIGCP, Petrick Lefèvere, to La Gazzetta dello Sport after the meeting in Paris on October 25. "We can not force the riders to agree to our request, but who refuses will have to assume the consequences. For example, a team could decide not to renew their contract."
The discussions brought about a round of comments from riders, including Paolo Bettini, who rides on Quick-Step, which is managed by Lefèvere. "DNA testing for riders is absurd," said the World Champion Bettini last week. "... And to make DNA testing obligatory is even more unacceptable! They only do that to serial killers; maybe whoever came up with this idea is watching too much TV. Since 1997 we have had to be available for blood testing, but now they are talking about violating all of our personal rights."
The UCI issued a statement on the proposed meeting, suggesting it would be smart for both the riders and teams to voice their concerns on the subject of DNA testing. "The initiative will help carry out a joint reflection on the developments of Operación Puerto and the problems associated with DNA testing," read the release printed in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The UCI hopes that this meeting will further a general concession for the regulations that need to be adopted for the fight against doping."
The test is welcomed by Vittorio Adorni, president of the ProTour Council. "It is the only way to remove all the doubts and it will not be as serious as it seems," said Adorni to the Italian paper. "If a rider has nothing to hide then what problem is there? I praise Giampaolo Caruso [who said he wold be the first to submit his DNA]. If, for example, Basso would give his then he would have a resolution earlier. Regarding the words of Bettini, maybe he did not consult the other riders."