The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) insisted on respect for cyclists in light of doping problems in the sport. The recent doping affairs of Stefan Schumacher and Bernard Kohl in the last weeks have hit cycling hard.
In a press release issued today, the CPA stated, "victims of these individual and irresponsible acts are again the clean riders."
Riccardo Riccò, Leonardo Piepoli, Kohl and Schumacher tested positive for a third generation of EPO – CERA (Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator) – based on controls taken at the Tour de France, July 5 to 27. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) tested blood samples from the race this month after urine samples were inconclusive during the race.
Many other riders were rumoured to be positive during the time of the blood testing. The CPA saw this as unjust and pointed to cycling's lead in doping controls.
"A thankless struggle was declared against the cheaters and even if it made some victims, we have to remember that the riders who will now start preparing the season 2009 deserve everybody's trust and respect. Indeed, in addition to the disappearance of some sponsors, the reduction of the number of riders per team and of famous races, a lack of recognition on behalf of certain interlocutors is also obvious.
"What else can those riders do to prove they are sincere? A biological passport was set up at the end of 2007 and led, for some riders, to more than ten out of competition unexpected controls. All the riders who belong to the teams which participate in the most important races of the world calendar make part of the ADAMS system. The controls which occur after the races and which sometimes concern more than ten riders, are rigorously organised.
"The CPA also regrets the fact that all the other sports do not follow the same policy in order of transparency and tolerance zero as regards the fight against doping."
The CPA stated its continued support of the International Cycling Union (UCI), the national federations, the organisers, the teams and the riders.