UCI antidoping agreement: 165 riders sign, Rabobank protests

Mark Cavendish (left) and Sandy Casar were some of the first to sign

Mark Cavendish (left) and Sandy Casar were some of the first to sign (Image credit: AFP)

A little more than one week after it introduced an antidoping agreement and required all ProTour riders to sign prior to competing in the Tour de France, the UCI has amassed a list of 165 riders' names on the charter as of Thursday evening, according to the UCI website. Many teams have added names en masse, including French teams AG2R, Credit Agricole, Agritubel, Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis, and the German teams T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner.

First time Tour de France participant Barloworld added its riders names to the list, as did most of Team Milram, however absent still are any riders from the Belgian Quickstep and Predictor-Lotto squads, Italian teams Liquigas and Lampre, and the Discovery Channel, Rabobank, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Astana, Unibet.com and Team CSC. Many teams are approaching the new document with caution.

In a press conference this week, Discovery team director Johan Bruyneel indicated that his riders would sign the document. "Yes. We're hoping it will be signed by all our riders before the Tour de France," Bruyneel said. "We definitely agree with it, but I believe that it is being amended as we speak because it is not a legally-binding document. But it's definitely a message all the teams want to send out together," he added.

Other teams have been more vocal about their objections to the document, which has the riders agree to give up a years' salary if found guilty of doping, and agreeing to give up a DNA sample. The Italian riders' association, ACCPI, is still debating the document, and the Rabobank team has released an official statement from the riders voicing their objections to the agreement. The riders' statement was quickly followed by a statement from the team saying that "All riders of the Rabo ProTeam will sign the statement 'Riders' commitment to a new cycling'" It added, "At the moment, the team is collecting all documents. Only when all signed statements have been collected, the team will present them to the UCI."

The Rabobank riders stated that they "unanimously question the actions of the International Cycling Union (UCI)," and felt that it displayed a "lack of respect for the rights of the individual cyclist."

The Rabobank riders' statement also criticised the UCI for failing to contact the riders before rolling out the agreement, and described the move as "a public tribunal by [the] UCI. It witnesses an undemocratic approach, that UCI makes public which riders have signed the statement on its website.

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