Ernesto Colnago urges lifetime bans for drugs cheats to stop cycling "destroying" itself

Meanwhile Fausto Pinarello says battle must begin with the coaches and parents who put youngsters in the saddle

by Simon_MacMichael   October 28, 2012  

Colnago C59 with discs presented in Taipei by Ernesto Colnago

Legendary Italian framebuilder Ernesto Colnago has warned that cycling is “destroying” itself in the fallout from the Lance Armstrong affair and is calling for a life ban for riders caught using performance enhancing substances.

Meanwhile Fausto Pinarello, who runs his family business which supplies frames to Team Sky and Movistar has stopped short of calling for such extreme measures, but has said that the battle against doping must start at youth level, including the coaches and parents of young riders.

Both were speaking to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, which yesterday joined British newspaper The Times, French title L’Equipe and the Belgian titles Le Soir and Het Nieuwsblad in launching a ‘Manifesto for cleaner cycling.’

“We can’t go on like this, we’re destroying ourselves,” insisted the 80-year-old Colnago, who launched his framebuilding business in 1952 after his own racing career was cut short, and would go on to make the bikes that the likes of Fiorenzo Magni and most famously Eddy Merckx would ride to victory in cycling’s biggest races.

“We’re all pointed out as dopers, a disgrace,” he continued. “We need a complete about-turn, we must find intelligent people who love cycling and who can guide us.

“I believe that the starting point could be a life ban at the first positive test, without any discounts, without looking anyone in the face. Gentlemen, enough: who commits wrong, pays.”

Pinarello, who heads the family business founded by his father Giovanni in the late 1940s, commented: “The Manifesto could be a good idea, but I ask myself, ‘No-one knew anything before?’

“The public and TV want spectacular races, the sponsors want victories. Many of those who direct the riders have had problems with doping and the current system of points for the awarding of licences is wrong.

“We must take a look at ourselves and be clear, then work on the future, on young riders and on who puts them in the saddle: coaches and parents. It’s cycling’s fortune that people love the bicycle.”

The eight-point Manifesto launched by the five newspapers yesterday calls for:

• The creation of an independent and neutral commission, under the responsibility of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), to investigate the role of the UCI in the Armstrong affair and to report on any mistakes, abuses of power or complicity by the governing body.

• Drug testing structures on all professional cycling events should, from now on, be instigated by Wada and administered by the national anti-doping agencies.

• Penalties for doping offences should become more severe; professional teams should not employ riders suspended for more than six months for a supplementary period of two years.

• The universal acceptance among all teams that a rider implicated by a formal doping investigation is automatically withdrawn from competition, pending the outcome of that investigation.

• The clear understanding of shared responsibility among all sponsors for the ethical health of cycling and for the credibility of the teams that carry their name.

• The reform of the World Tour of leading races, of its systems of points and the awarding of team licences, which encourages a closed shop, lacking in transparency and accountability; we propose that team licences are awarded to sponsors and not to team managers.

• The publication by the UCI of an annual report clarifying, in a transparent manner, all its activities and progress achieved each season.

• The undertaking that all of the above will be in place before the start of the 2013 season in order to establish a new and more credible structure and new governance and regulations.

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Ernesto has spoken!! The statement with the most common sense out of this whole fiasco, and he's absolutely right!

posted by Karbon Kev [677 posts]
28th October 2012 - 17:21

9 Likes

Commonsense? Try "Kneejerk reaction". The main effect of lifetime bans would be to further entrench the omerta. Nobody would ever come clean again.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
28th October 2012 - 17:23

6 Likes

'Knee jerk reaction'? where have you been this last thirty years? It's time to clear the cheats out lock stock and barrel. Omerta? it's the trade mark of cheats, as proved with Armstrong there is almost always a day of reckoning.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [955 posts]
28th October 2012 - 17:56

7 Likes

antonio wrote:
'Knee jerk reaction'? where have you been this last thirty years? It's time to clear the cheats out lock stock and barrel. Omerta? it's the trade mark of cheats, as proved with Armstrong there is almost always a day of reckoning.

Witnesses against Armstrong had their punishment reduced for their cooperation with USADA. Lifetime bans would have meant they had nothing to gain by telling the truth.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
28th October 2012 - 18:13

8 Likes

The Rumpo Kid - You've just said they had their punishments reduced. The same incentive would have been there with lifetime bans too. Lifetime bans for riders and more importantly managers and doctors would get them out the sport if caught and might make them think more about going down the drugs route. The reason Omerta and the widespread use of drugs exists is because of the lax punishments that have been handed out in the past. Doping cheats are welcomed back with a pat on the back and allowed to compete and win events such as the Olympic RR. If you can remember as far back as the late 70's in the history of our sport, riders would be handed out a small fine and a 10 minute penalty in a Grand Tour for a failed doping control.

posted by breeze91 [3 posts]
28th October 2012 - 18:56

6 Likes

breeze91 wrote:
The Rumpo Kid - You've just said they had their punishments reduced. The same incentive would have been there with lifetime bans too. Lifetime bans for riders and more importantly managers and doctors would get them out the sport if caught and might make them think more about going down the drugs route. The reason Omerta and the widespread use of drugs exists is because of the lax punishments that have been handed out in the past. Doping cheats are welcomed back with a pat on the back and allowed to compete and win events such as the Olympic RR. If you can remember as far back as the late 70's in the history of our sport, riders would be handed out a small fine and a 10 minute penalty in a Grand Tour for a failed doping control.

I don't see how lifetime bans would give anyone an incentive to give evidence against a teammate. And the history of British Olympics would tend to show they are not a deterrent.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:20

5 Likes

Lifetime bans are the ONLY route. It will act as the perfect punishment for anyone caught. We have to stop the rot that set in and any other punishment is like a kick up the arse.

Those who received a 6 month ban must be asitting there thinking "god i got away with it". This is wrong in so many ways.

Those who argue against it need their heads felt.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
28th October 2012 - 21:39

7 Likes

Well I guess I need my head felt. Life bans will mean people caught doping will have no incentive to help anti doping agencies catch others. If life bans were given to dopers, Armstrong's doping would never have come to light.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
28th October 2012 - 21:59

5 Likes

So we just forgive and forget eh ?

I dont think so.

Christian Vande Velde
Tom Danielson
David Zabriskie

To name 3 who have never been banned due to drugs and they still came forward. Thinking

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
28th October 2012 - 22:18

6 Likes

In the end though a lifetime ban will stop probably 99% of riders of trying drugs and those that do, it's tough.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2751 posts]
28th October 2012 - 22:19

8 Likes

stumps wrote:
So we just forgive and forget eh ?

I dont think so.

Christian Vande Velde
Tom Danielson
David Zabriskie

To name 3 who have never been banned due to drugs and they still came forward. Thinking


Sorry Stumpy, I just don't get this one at all. These three riders have all received bans for doping. Either they were ratted out by another rider or they thought they were about to be. OR of course they may just have come forward to clear their consciences, and get a ban they would otherwise have missed, but I don't think so.
The ability of riders to inform on each other is one of the best weapons against orchestrated doping. I am not saying forgive and forget, but the situation does need a more pragmatic approach than automatic life bans without exception.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
28th October 2012 - 23:04

6 Likes

Rumpo, what you've got to remember is that most rider evidence wasn't volunteered in the way you say. There's not many riders over the years who have, as you say, 'ratted' on others. Some have come clean and stated how it was but not really named names. This case is different in that these guys were giving evidence under oath initially to the FDA, with consequences for lying under oath potentially much greater than a 2 year ban. I do agree that some kind of whistle blowing process could work, maybe not with the current UCI though!!

posted by breeze91 [3 posts]
28th October 2012 - 23:52

5 Likes

breeze91 wrote:
Rumpo, what you've got to remember is that most rider evidence wasn't volunteered in the way you say. There's not many riders over the years who have, as you say, 'ratted' on others. Some have come clean and stated how it was but not really named names. This case is different in that these guys were giving evidence under oath initially to the FDA, with consequences for lying under oath potentially much greater than a 2 year ban. I do agree that some kind of whistle blowing process could work, maybe not with the current UCI though!!

The evidence gathered by the Federal Investigation into USPS was not handed over to USADA. They had to get their own. I'll agree with you that whistleblowers are in short supply (particularly with a governing body that ignores their concerns, and calls them "scumbags" and bad for cycling), so I think it's right that assistance given to an anti doping agency is taken into account when sentencing.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
29th October 2012 - 0:21

10 Likes

In as much as Eddy Merckx has admitted to taking drugs during his racing days, would the elder statesman require him to be banned for life and his titles taken away ? How far back do we go to punish the doping offenders ? Or do we forget the past and start with the very next rider caught ? Maybe a complete and through overhaul of the cycling sport is the only answer.

Michael R. Smith

posted by American tifosi [37 posts]
29th October 2012 - 4:01

4 Likes

What happens if someone contaminates your food or drink and you get caught with a minute quantity of drugs in your system? A lifetime ban would seem incredibly unfair.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
29th October 2012 - 20:45

7 Likes