Cristian Moreni, the former-Cofidis rider who tested positive for testosterone in the 2007 Tour de France and whose entire squad abandoned the race as a consequence, will pay a fine of one year's salary to the International Cycling Union (UCI). The UCI introduced the unique anti-doping measure prior to the 2007 Tour, and while Alexander Vinoukorov, Andrey Kashechkin and Michael Rasmussen also violated anti-doping laws that year, Moreni is the only one willing to pay - and is actually upbeat about it.
Speaking to L'Equipe, the Italian said that it was him who initiated the payment of a sum equivalent to one year's salary. Asked why he would do this, Moreni answered, "to appeal people's conscience. In cycling, there are rules, but every body just thinks of how to evade them. Let's start to respect our engagements and it will be a big step forward."
Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer was impressed by Moreni's attitude and welcomed his choice. "He has a lot of courage," Boyer said. "Even more so as nobody had asked him to pay. The UCI has never claimed the debt. The charter turned obsolete, but now, Moreni is returning it some credit."
UCI president Pat McQuaid meanwhile said that the other riders caught in 2007 (Vinoukourov and Kashechkin for blood doping, and Rasmussen for lying to anti-doping authorities about his whereabouts prior to the Tour) "have appealed the decision to CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] and we are waiting its decision."
Moreni confirmed that his former colleagues did not like his move. "Rasmussen has already informed me that he disapproves," the 36-year-old said. "The same goes for Vinokourov, who has the same lawyer."
After a two-year ban, Moreni now wants to return to pro cycling to finish his career "on a more honorable note. That is why I want to clear my conscience. But not one single manager has contacted me. Yet, everybody should be supportive of those who try to combat doping. I want to help move cycling forward."
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