Riders send warning to Pound

The Association of Professional Riders has demanded that WADA chief Dick Pound withdraw allegations

The Association of Professional Riders has demanded that WADA chief Dick Pound withdraw allegations


Relations between those in the top level of professional cycling and World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound have fallen to a new low after the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) demanded that Pound retract statements he made last year that drug use is widespread within pro teams.

In a letter signed by CPA president Francesco Moser, the association called on Pound to withdraw his allegations within the next 10 days. "Failing this, the CPA could proceed by any useful means," said Moser's letter, the threat of legal action clearly evident.

Pound's comments were made in The Guardian and the Swiss paper 24 Heures last October. Referring to them, the letter declared: "You have openly attacked the sport of cycling and its actors, stating in particular that doping is ubiquitous among cycling teams. You even dare to imply that the UCI is complicit in this. You openly accuse cyclists as a whole of behaving against honour, sporting ethics, and pass them off, in the eyes of the public, as cheaters trying to bend the rules, while in fact they deserve respect for their training and their daily effort and sacrifice."

Writing in The Guardian, Pound said that since the Festina scandal of 1998 "drug use, within entire teams, continues unabated. This drug use is not the accidental ingestion of a tainted supplement by an individual athlete. It is planned and deliberate cheating, with complex methods, sophisticated substances and techniques and the active complicity of doctors, scientists, team officials and riders. There is nothing accidental about it. All this cheating goes on under the supposedly watchful eyes of cycling officials, who loudly proclaim that their sport is drug-free and committed to remaining so. Based on performance, they should not be allowed outdoors without white canes and seeing-eye dogs."

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