Mixed response for proposed DNA testingClose
There's been a mixed reaction from the riders after the UCI and the AIGCP announced plans to introduPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM The UCI's plan to introduce DNA testing among ProTour teams has been met with a mixed response from the riders. Last week, the professional teams association (AIGCP) headed by Patrick Lefvre voted to go ahead with DNA testing to fight doping, but now, some of the top riders have spoken out against it, believing it to be a violation of their basic rights. Italian World Champion Paolo Bettini and his colleague Filippo Pozzato are against the testing, arguing that "it is only done for serial killers", while pointing out that cyclists have been undergoing blood testing since 1997. Similarly, ProTour winner Alejandro Valverde said, "For cyclists to be forced to undergo DNA testing would be a serious invasion of the private lives of the riders. If we accept this, what will the next step be? Drop our pants before the beginning of each race? The fight against doping is necessary, but DNA testing is going too far." On the other hand, Frenchman Cdric Vasseur told La Dernire Heure that "without DNA tests, I would not longer be a rider." Vasseur was referring to his involvement in the Cofidis affair a couple of years ago, where police allegedly found traces of cocaine through hair tests. However, a DNA test performed on the hair sample proved that it wasn't Vasseur's, and he was cleared. "So yes, these tests are important to prove someone's innocence," added Vasseur. "And if they permit cycling to be saved from the scourge of doping, then I'm all for it. But I don't think it's necessary to rush into things, and it's also necessary to properly analyse the decision with competent people, such as lawyers, for example." Vasseur agreed with his Quick.Step teammates Bettini and Pozzato that "cycling has been a testing ground for the fight against doping. To that end, during a year, you could also follow the riders with a webcam in their room or remove a muscle to see whether it was changed during the course of the season! I say that while laughing, but it illustrates our position, with a sport that has a problem but is hyper-controlled. I discussed this with a president of a high level basketball club that has never had an anti-doping test in the European Cup in two years." The UCI will call a meeting between the team managers and the riders on November 10 to further discuss the situation. Hincapie to lead Tour of California charity ride The 2007 Amgen Tour of California will feature a series of charity rides to promote cancer awareness. The Breakaway from Cancer rides will kick off on Sunday, November 12 with a ride from Washington, DC, led by Discovery Channel's George Hincapie. There will also be rides on Sunday, December 3 in San Francisco, CA and on Sunday, February 11 in Thousand Oaks, CA. The rides are open to cyclists of all abilities and all ages to demonstrate support for people affected by cancer. Visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com to register. Indoor velodromes for USA and Spain Philadelphia, the USA's east coast cycling hub, will get a new indoor velodrome. The track and events centre will be built on the outskirts of the city on a 14 acre site not far from Valley Forge National Park. It's the first of its kind on the east coast, and is the USA's second covered track after the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. The velodrome will have seating for 2,500 spectators and will have the capability of hosting high level national and international competition, as well as providing a facility for training and development of American cyclists. Although cycling will be the main focus of the facility, the building will also be used for concerts, other sporting events and community activities. It's planned to connect the track to the Schuylkill River and Perkiomen bicycle trails via a bike path. The project is being funded by American Management Group, LLC, and it's expected to take 18 months to complete. It will be developed and operated by Velodrome Management Group LLC (VMG). In Spain, the Vel¢dromo Luis Puig - used for the world track championships in 1992 - will be refurbished thanks to a €3.4 million grant from the Valencian government. €100,000 of this will be used to cover the track and install lighting, as well as fixing the existing leaks. The facility will be used to host the 2008 Athletics World Championships, which means that the rooms will be upgraded to add a drug testing room, TV sets, and storage space. The velodrome's seating capacity is expected to be increased to 6,000.