The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) issued a statement Friday denouncing the treatment of riders and UCI President Pat McQuaid by race organisers. McQuaid was denied accreditation for the Tour de France by the ASO, a move which the statement called "a serious lack of respect to the institutional representative of world cycling."
The CPA decried the treatment of Cofidis' Cristian Moreni, who was met at the finish line of stage 16 by the French gendarmerie after word came that he had tested positive on stage 11 for testosterone. Moreni was escorted away in a manner which the CPA described as a "useless and unacceptabl[y] theatrical way." The statement argued that, "The Italian rider, who infringed the antidoping regulation, immediately admitted his responsibility and it was in no case necessary to deploy such a security plan as the French authorities did."
The statement conceded that "a rider who is positive in an antidoping control deserves to be punished and excluded from a sporting event," but called the arrest of Moreni by uniformed policemen at the finish line "behaviours which are completely disproportionate compared to the real importance of the infringement."
The CPA, which is presided over by Italian legend Francisco Moser, disagreed with Cofidis' decision to exit the Tour de France following Moreni's positive. "The CPA cannot agree with the decision the persons in charge of the team Cofidis took, to take all their riders out of the Tour de France: such a decision indeed affected riders who had nothing to do with the case."
Likely referring to the recent statement by the World Championships organisation which declared Erik Zabel and Alejandro Valverde "not welcome" at the championships, the CPA statement went on to state that it "wishes to call the organisers' attention to the fact that no rider can be declared persona non grata only on the basis of suspicions or journalistic speculations.
"The antidoping regulation[s], and in particular the results of the controls, each time more numerous and effective, or any proven implication by police investigations, must be the only elements that can be used to exclude an athlete from the race," the statement concluded.
On a more positive note, the statement congratulated the owners of the Caisse d'Epargne team, Abarca Sports, who held enough insurance on its riders to allow the widow of deceased rider Isaac Gálvez, who perished during the Gent Six Day, "to receive the lump sum of 550,000 Euro following her husband's death."
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