Hit dopers hard: cyclists

TOUGHER penalties for dopers – and for their teams and teammates – have been recommended by a group of professional cyclists who have met to find a way through the crisis in the sport.

The Athletes’ Commission for cycling’s world governing body, made up of riders in all disciplines, has also called on the Union Cycliste Internationale to increase the minimum wage of riders and improve prize money for women.

After a three-day symposium in Switzerland the group said it was insufficient to merely punish individuals for doping sins, and argued that the entourage of cheats should pay a price. Making a link between the temptation to cheat with drugs and cyclists’ standard of living, the UCI’s athletes’ commission proposed that the minimum salary of riders be increased, and that a salary cap be imposed on professional teams in order to reduce the pay gap between cyclists.

The Athletes’ Commission, only established last year, said that prize money for all women’s events should be equivalent to that for men’s races and said the sport needed to be more proactive in promoting professional racing for women.

It also called on the UCI to lobby the World Anti-Doping Agency to simplify the way in which cyclists are required to lodge their whereabouts.

UCI president Pat McQuaid – who was slammed for comments he made last year questioning whether female professionals should receive equal pay – described the discussions as ”very fruitful”.

”We will now study the commission’s recommendations and present them to all our stakeholders,” Mr McQuaid said.

Foundation members of the UCI’s Athletes’ Commission include Australian Anna Meares, Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Bernhard Eisel (Austria), Florian Rousseau (France), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Judith Arndt (Germany).

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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