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Doping in cycling greatly reduced says CONI boss

CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri delivers decision on Alejandro Valverde next week

CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri delivers decision on Alejandro Valverde next week (Image credit: AFP)

There has been a “monumental change” in doping in cycling, Ettore Torri, the anti-doping prosecutor for the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) said. Doping has not been eliminated but reduced “a great deal”.

Speaking at an anti-doping conference in Faenza, Italy, AP reports that Torri said, “When I began with CONI (in 2006) the situation was serious. Today I can say that there has been a monumental change.”

“Good work has been done by all those involved, including the riders’ association,” he said. “I’m not optimistic enough to say that doping has been beaten, but certainly among professionals it has been reduced a great deal and I’ve contributed to that.”

As evidence, the 79-year-old Torri pointed out that there was only one doping case from this year's grand tours.  That was Alexandr Kolobnev's positive test for a diuretic.

“Interest in doping has lessened,” he said. “Before there were few tests and the penalties were light. Now it’s not worth it any more.”

While professional cycling is getting cleaner, amateur cycling is going the other direction, he claimed.

“The situation there is serious. I’ve met entire families who dope. From lawyers to manual labor workers, they do anything just to win a salami in ridiculous races.”

The International Cycling Union's anti-doping manager, Francesca Rossi, said that cycling's approach to the doping problem “should be taken as an example,. Other sports do a lot of testing but in terms of quality they don’t compare to us. Cycling is always in the spotlight but today it’s at the vanguard of anti-doping.”

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