Doping cheats face four year ban from January
"Wilfull cheating" will lead to longer ban
Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI yesterday confirmed that the organisation would double the length of the statutory ban for those convicted of doping if it considered them to have been wilfully cheating. Commenting on the latest doping scandal to hit professional road racing he confirmed that if Schumacher, Kohl and Piepoli had commited their offences at next year's Tour they would be facing a four year ban. "In these cases, considering that these guys were given the product and then went and took it for the Tour de France, it would be very much classified as wilful cheating. "Next year, a rider in that position would face a four-year ban." McQuaid makes no secret of the fact that he would like to see convicted drugs cheats banned from cycling for life, but admits that up until now the UCI's hands have been tied by the fact that it is signed up to the world anti doping code which lays down statutory punishments for convicted dopers. One of the reasons that the code's sanctions go no further than a two year ban is that the bans have to be able to stick in legal jurisdictions across the world. Up until now it has been felt that longer bans would open governing bodies and the anti-doping agencies up to legal challenge in both Europe and the United States. From January 2009 though the code allows for more flexibility and for governing bodies to judge each case on its merits. The UCI will impose sanctions on a case-by-case basis, said McQuaid, and cyclists will be judged on the gravity of the infringement and in particular the nature of the substance.