Cycling union considers offering amnesty to admitted dopers

Updated: June 1, 2007, 11:20 AM ET
Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- The International Cycling Union is considering an amnesty for riders who admit to doping, hoping to encourage more confessions in an effort to clean up the sport.

Despite a string of recent confessions from prominent riders -- including 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis -- UCI anti-doping manager Anne Gripper said she doubts more confessions will come unless the cyclists are sure they won't be punished.

The UCI received several suggestions for an amnesty and will consider the option next week, Gripper told Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende in Friday editions.

"To create a new future, you have to admit the past and learn from it. Only that way we can move on in a 'clean way,"' Gripper said. "We hope that the latest statements from Germany and Denmark will be followed by other riders from other countries. Let us be open about the past and confess what needs to be confessed."

Gripper could not be reached Friday. UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said the Swiss-based body may consider an amnesty, but that "we need some time to decide."

Riis' confession came amid a flurry of admissions by former Telekom riders that they used EPO. Dozens of riders have been implicated in the Spanish blood-doping investigation, known as Operation Puerto.

Milram rider Erik Zabel, the only active rider to have confessed to doping, could not be punished because the statute of limitations for sanctions had expired. Zabel admitted using the blood-booster EPO in 1996, but said he has been riding clean since. On Thursday, Zabel won the second stage of the Tour of Bavaria.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press