September 28, 2007 (Stuttgart, Germany) “” 2006 Road Worlds Champ, Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Innergetic) from Italy will take part in Sunday’s elite men’s race to defend his title. On Thursday, organizers of the 2007 Road World Championships launched legal proceedings to bar Bettini from the race because the Italian cyclist has not signed the UCI anti-doping pledge. Today, a German court ruled that this was not a valid reason to stop Bettini from competing in the 267.4km elite men’s road race on September 30.
In recent days there have also been reports that Bettini supplied artificial testosterone to Patrick Sinkewitz (formerly with T-Mobile) who tested positive in July 2007 for the hormone. Both Sinkewitz’s lawyer, Michael Lehner and Bettini’s lawyer, Guido Marangoni have issued statements denying such reports.
Yesterday evening UCI President Pat McQuaid had responded vigorously when Susanne Eisenman, Minister for Sport in Stuttgart and head of the 2007 Road Worlds organizing committee, announced earlier in the day that a court injunction had been filed against Paolo Bettini and Danilo di Luca participating in the Elite Men’s road race on Sunday. “The UCI would very much like to denounce the actions of Doctor Eisenmann in this situation, because it seems to us that she is following a strategy which is political and commercial,” said McQuaid.
While McQuaid was critical of Bettini for not signing the Riders’s Commitment for a New Cycling he reiterated in his statement that the UCI did not have the power to exclude riders saying, “Concerning the participation of Paolo Bettini in the world championship road race on Sunday, the UCI would like to formally guarantee here that he will take the start. Nothing will go against that, but at the same time we regret that he has not signed the pledge. But he can still take the start.”
Organizers also attempted to bar Danilo Di Lucas (Liquigas) from the race because he faces the prospect of a four-month suspension over an abnormal doping test result. That case will not be heard because Di Lucas pulled out of the 2007 Road Worlds yesterday.