Paris – Profesionnal cyclists have called for tougher sanctions for dope cheats, the sport's governing body has said, as it seeks to restore its reputation after the damaging Lance Armstrong drug scandal.
The International Cycling Union's (UCI) athletes commission made the recommendation after a three-day meeting in Switzerland which looked at ways of improving how the sport was run and boosting its tarnished image.
“The commission proposed stiffening the sanctions against riders found guilty of doping in order to have a dissuasive effect,” the world body said in a statement on its website uci.ch.
“In this respect, the athletes' commission supports the UCI regulations introduced on July 1 2011 that prohibit any person involved in a doping case from returning to cycling in any post or position of responsibility.
“Furthermore, the commission proposed sanctioning the teams and the entourage of riders who test positive and not just the rider him or herself.”
Members of the body include male and female cyclists and para-cyclists. Their proposals will be transmitted to the UCI, national federations, anti-doping agencies, competition organisers and professional groups, among others, the statement added.
The commission said that there should be an increase in the minimum salary for riders to help resist the temptation to dope while there should also be greater parity between money paid to team leaders and the rest of their personnel.
Prize money should be equal between male and female racers, it added.
Cycling was plunged into turmoil early last month when the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) published substantial evidence to support its decision in August to ban Texas rider Armstrong for life and strip him of his career record for doping.
The UCI, criticised for not detecting Armstrong sooner, confirmed the decision late last month, leaving him shorn of his record seven Tour de France titles and record back to August 1, 1998.
Armstrong, whom the USADA said was at the centre of the biggest doping programme in sports history, has consistently denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Separately, the so-called “clean cycling union”, the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), said three more teams – one from the second tier and two from the third – had joined the group, taking membership to 14.
The MPCC has called for a zero-tolerance approach to doping from next year. – Sapa-AFP