Bettini cleared for world championships

By AFP | Friday, September 28, 2007 1.49pm

A German court on Friday gave Italy's Paolo Bettini the all clear to defend his crown in Sunday's elite men's title at the cycling world championships.

The reigning champion's participation was in doubt after German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz claimed Bettini had supplied him with doping products.

On Thursday the world championships' organising committee filed a provisional order at Stuttgart's regional court to prevent Bettini from starting, but the court on Friday rejected their demand. The ruling was criticised by championship organisers Stuttgart City Council but they are not intending to pursue the case any further.

"The UCI (International Cycling Union) should know which signal they're sending by guaranteeing Bettini's participation. It is certainly not a sign of a new start," said Stuttgart mayor Wolfgang Schuster. "In the end it isn't a legal question, it's a question of the sport's credibility."

Organisers had insisted Bettini sign the full UCI anti-doping agreement which makes it compulsory for every rider to provide a blood sample before Sunday's race. But Bettini had refused saying that demanding a sample was a breach of his human rights and because of a clause which demands the repayment of a year's salary after a positive drugs test.

UCI president Pat McQuaid had earlier insisted the organisers did not have the legal right to prevent Bettini competing.

Bettini's refusal to sign the contract has cost the organisers a subsidy of 150,000 euros, the sum blocked by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

In a separate development Matteo Tosatto has been named as a replacement to Danilo Di Luca, the Tour of Italy winner who pulled out of Sunday's race on Thursday. Di Luca withdrew after Italy's Olympic Committee called for him to be handed a four month suspension for his connection with a drugs scandal.

© AFP 2007

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