Italian cyclists rebel against UCI over Armstrong case

ACCPI calls on governing body to drop sporting-justice role

Italian cyclists rebel against UCI over Armstrong case

Rome, October 26 - Italian professional cyclists' association ACCPI on Friday challenged the authority of the sport's international governing body, the UCI, for its handling of the Lance Armstrong case. On Monday the UCI stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him for life, but the move only came after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had done the same following probes into doping by the American rider. ACCPI said in a statement that there were suspicions that the UCI had allegedly "not wanted to see" Armstrong's illegal practices and even more serious ones of the possibility that the body was allegedly involved in covering them up. Therefore, ACCPI called on the UCI to "take a step back so that cycling can regain credibility" and drop the role it has in administering sporting justice for cycling. "The UCI can no longer be the guarantor of the application of sporting justice," the ACCPI statement said. "In our opinion, it's necessary to create an independent, autonomous body of justice". This week the UCI ratified the decision USADA took in August to strip Armstrong of his titles for participating in what was described as "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen". The 41-year-old American, a cancer survivor who was seen as a hero by many sufferers of the disease, called the charges "nonsense" but announced in August he would no longer contest them. The UCI defended itself by saying that it did not have the anti-doping tools to detect Armstrong's illegal practices when he was racing. "The UCI has always been the first international sporting federation to embrace new developments in the fight against doping and it regrets that the anti-doping infrastructure that exists today was not available at that time so as to render such evasion impossible," a UCI statement said. UCI President Pat McQuaid has rejected calls for him to resign over the Armstrong scandal.

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