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'Ethics in Cycling' conference held at Madonna del Ghisallo on Saturday
On Saturday UCI Anti-doping manager Francesca Rossi and UCI Doctor Mario Zorzoli both rejected the Italian anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri's comments that doping is rife in cycling and defended the sport's reputation by revealing data from the UCI's Biological Passport programme.
The two UCI officials were speaking at a congress called 'Ethics in Cycling' held at the Madonna del Ghisallo cycling museum just before the Tour of Lombardy passed by. Ivan Basso and his coach Professor Aldo Sassi also attended.
"It's not true that all cyclists are doped. The truth is that a lot of cyclists follow the rules. The values studied in their biological passports prove it," Gazzetta dello Sport reported Rossi as saying.
She told the Corriere della Sera newspaper: "The athletes Torri speaks to are all under investigation and so he's got a pessimistic view of the situation. But the biological passport controls tell us that the mentality of most of the athletes is changing."
Zorzoli gave further details: "So far 850 riders have been followed with the passport programme and their whereabouts is monitored 365 days a year."
"Between 2008 and 2009, more than 19,000 test were done, 80% of them out of competition and 65% of them were blood tests."
"The percentage of tests showing suspicious data has dropped from 11% to 2-3%."
Rossi and Zorzoli refused to speak about the ongoing Alberto Contador Clenbuterol positive case or Franco Pellizotti's biological passport violation. However Rossi insisted that any suspension based on the biological passport data only comes after a process of right to reply, so that riders have the chance to justify any unusual blood value fluctuations that could be caused by illness or perhaps altitude training.
"Riders are only deferred for disciplinary action after a long process. It doesn't happen automatically. There's a dialogue: the rider has the right of reply to justify any eventual anomalies," Rossi said.