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Eisenmann defends Stuttgart's actions

Stuttgart's Minister for Sports, Susanne Eisenmann

Stuttgart's Minister for Sports, Susanne Eisenmann (Image credit: Shane Stokes)

The organizing committee of the World Championships in Stuttgart made more news headlines than normal for a host city when they fought to exclude all riders even remotely associated with doping from attending the championships in September. Committee president Susanne Eisenmann defended the organization's actions in an interview with the Spanish news agency AS.com.

Eisenmann justified the fight to exclude Alejandro Valverde, defending World Champion Paolo Bettini and even long-retired champion Eddy Merckx from even attending the event by saying that the event had to mark a "new, clean era". She explained that the snub of the much beloved Belgian legend was because doping was widespread in his time, and this "was not compatible with the clean image which we wanted to transmit in the championship."

The strong-willed German staunchly defended the decisions, saying, "Our objective was that with this World Championships a new time began, clean, not made for cyclists who cheat - but we were not able to prevent people like Bettini from competing." The organization lost its fight to exclude Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, who appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and won the right to compete. "The Court dictated the sentence and we did not have any other option than to accept it," Eisenmann explained.

Bettini drew the ire of the Stuttgart organization because he refused to agree to all the terms of the UCI's rider agreement. "We tried to prevent him from racing because he had not signed the UCI's ethical charter, as did Danilo Di Luca. We took both to the Courts of Stuttgart." The case was ultimately dismissed, and Bettini allowed to ride - and win - the title of World Champion for the second year in a row. "We did not share the decision, but there was no way to appeal the sentence in less than 24 hours. With respect to Di Luca, CONI was the one that did not let him participate."

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