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Riders' association defends Offredo

The professional riders association (CPA, Coureurs Professionnels Associés) has issued a statement calling on the UCI to re-examine the suspension of French athlete Yoann Offredo for missing anti-doping controls.

Offredo was given a one-year ban for failing three times in 18 months to properly update his whereabouts, resulting in the missed anti-doping controls.

Unlike his fellow Frenchman, Gregory Baugé, who was given a retroactive ban with the loss of his world championship titles, the FDJ-BigMat rider was given a one-year suspension for this season.

The CPA asked for a meeting with the UCI to discuss "the devastating consequences that this kind of sentence could cause for the racer's career".

It said that Offredo's own team was responsible for one of the missed tests by putting him in a race for which he was not originally scheduled, noting that as a UCI event, it was possible for them to pull him for a control at the race.

"Of course this is not to minimize or avoid compliance with a regulation deemed appropriate and necessary, and certainly made for all, useful in the fight against doping. A struggle in which the CPA and its members have always associated with conviction," the statement read.

However, CPA chairman Gianni Bugno feels that the punishment is out of proportion when compared with that of riders who actually test positive.

"Although it seems very difficult to reopen the case of the unfortunate Yoann Offredo with the aim to scale down the heavy sentence, the CPA finds it necessary to meet as soon as possible with the UCI to discuss, challenge and change some settings especially of that regulation," Bugno explained in the statement. "It is important that such misadventure, unfair and cruel sanction for professional riders can be avoided in future."

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