Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Tour oranizers want to bar two riders

AP , CASTELSARRASIN, FRANCE

Race organizers said Friday they wanted two riders, including a teammate of Lance Armstrong's, to be barred from the rest of the Tour de France, but cycling's governing body disagreed, leaving their fate hanging in the balance.

With the two parties at odds, the two riders, Pavel Padrnos of Armstrong's US Postal team and Italian Stefano Zanini of Quick Step-Davitamon will race on Friday but could be barred as early as Saturday if Tour organizers get their way, said Tour President Patrice Clerc.

But the disagreement has now been given to a third body to arbitrate, and if it rules in favor of the Tour, either one or both riders will be excluded, Clerc said.

"We have asked for the exclusion of these two riders for the same reasons that we invoked last Monday," Clerc told reporters before the start of Friday's stage that is taking the race into the Pyrenees.

On Monday, Tour organizers barred Stefano Casagranda and Martin Hvastija, because they are under investigation in a doping probe in Italy.

Tour organizers learned Thursday from a judge in Italy that both Padrnos and Zanini have been called to appear in October in a case involving suspected doping on the 2001 Tour of Italy, Clerc said.

Tour organizers said before this year's race that any riders involved or implicated in police or judicial doping investigations would be barred. Following that line, they asked the UCI, cycling's governing body, to exclude the riders, Clerc said. But the UCI did not agree to the request, saying that Zanini's case had already been dealt with and that Padrnos' was not a problem with doping.

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