No WADA in Stuttgart; Guerini wants charisma

WADA argues with UCI, while Italian pro Guerini prepares to retire

Disgruntled WADA quits world champs

The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) withdrew from the steering committee of next month's World Road Race Championships on Wednesday, after a disagreement with the International Cycling Union (UCI).

There were no WADA representatives at Tuesday's meeting of the steering committee, responsible for overseeing drugs tests during Stuttgart's four-day event at the end of September. WADA informed both the steering committee and the German Ministry of the Interior of its withdrawal in a letter, but gave no details of the reasons behind the fall-out.

Susanne Eisenmann, president of the organising committee, said she regretted WADA's decision, but insisted there will be a strict anti-doping policy for the event. The organisers have carried out a large number of pre-competition spot tests and there will be double the amount of urine and blood tests compared to last year's World Championships. The German government had insisted on the high-level of tests after threatening to cancel the event.

Relations between WADA and UCI have been strained since July when cycling's governing body refused WADA's idea to hold an anti-doping summit.

Retiring Guerini laments lack of personalities

T-Mobile cyclist and twice Tour de France stage-winner Giuseppe Guerini lamented the lack of personalities in cycling on Wednesday as he prepared for his final race before retirement.

The 37-year-old has been with T-Mobile since 1999 and after completing his sixth Tour de France this year, Guerini will quit the sport after the Tour of Spain, which starts on Saturday.

An experienced climber, Guerini hit the headlines in the 1999 Tour when he won the Alpe d'Huez stage despite colliding with a German photographer just short of the finish line, recovering quickly enough to beat Pavel Tonkov. But the Italian says the sport lacks strong personalities as it recovers from several doping scandals which has tarnished its image this year.

"The biggest change I have seen in my career is that the sport doesn't have really big personalities now," said Guerini, who has raced professionally since 1993.

"In the past, you had some really big personalities - full of charisma, and capable of leading a whole group, but those kind of riders are thin on the ground now.

"Team success now plays second fiddle to individual success."

© AFP 2007

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