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Mountain bikers and 'cross racers respond to Fumics

Sabine Spitz was the first to sign the petition

Sabine Spitz was the first to sign the petition (Image credit: Bjorn Haake)

Thirty seven cyclo-cross and mountain bike riders and team officials have issued an open letter addressing the anti-doping measures in the sport, and distancing themselves from Lado and Manuel Fumic, who have criticised the measures.

The Fumic brothers were suspended by the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (German cycling federation) for failing to file their "whereabouts". They were later allowed to continue riding after appealing the decision. The brothers had protested against the "whereabouts" requirement, saying it was impossible to say three months in advance where they would be, and that the National Anti-Doping Agency violated their personal rights.

The athletes rejected the brothers' views, and noted that the anti-doping program had its problems, but that it served the purpose and was not the "total observation" that the brothers claimed.

The letter noted that while the brothers had a right to their opinion, it was not shared by all others within the sport. The system is "a sensible way to win back cycling's credibility and to present mountain biking as a clean sport".

The riders said that they were willing to accept these measures "because we are convinced that this is the only way to equalize things, to protect our health, and to be good role models for younger riders."

While admitting that filling out the "whereabouts" forms was a time-consuming activity, "we do not see it as a violation of our personal rights. We certainly do not feel as if we are being treated as criminals."

"We are not forced to tell our location three months in advance. It is always possible to send in a form not filled out. It is then assumed that we are at home at this period. If that changes, it can be sent in on the internet ADAMS system, or in an emergency, via a text-message," the letter went on to say.

Nor did they feel as if they were being observed by "Big Brother". "The system makes intelligent controls possible. That increases the chances of discovering cheaters and so protecting the clean athletes."

"The position and statements of the Fumic brothers have negative consequences for us mountain bikers, as far as public opinion is concerned. We vigorously defend ourselves from being associated with these views of Ludo and Manuel Fumic," the latter concluded.

The letter was circulated by the management of European Champion Sabine Spitz, who was the first to sign. Florian Vogel, Thomas Frischknecht, Nino Schurter and Nina Wrobel were among the riders who signed.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.