The Spoke December 29, 2009

Moreni finding it hard to leave his past behind him

Former Cofidis rider, Italian Christian Moreni is finding it difficult to make a meaningly return to professional cycling after his positive test for testosterone in 2007. Moreni left the 2007 Tour de France after his positive test result, which he still maintains was the result of using an ointment. He was subsequently suspended for two years and forced to pay a year's salary for his offence - a result of Moreni signing the 'Rider's Commitment to a New Cycling'. This charter was offered to all cyclists who wanted to ride in the 2007 Tour - the incentive being that otherwise they would not be eligible to ride in professional cycling's biggest competition. 

Moreni told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, "Out of my own pocket I decided to meet the commitment made by signing the document 'for a new cycling' that all we had to sign before the 2007 Tour," continuing, "I was Italian champion, I wore the (Giro d'Italia) pink jersey and the (national team) blue in two World Championships and (went to) the Olympics in Athens. I want to return to show that I can finish (my career) in a different way."

Moreni was one of the several riders who were caught for doping offences during the 2007 Tour, (the others being Patrik Sinkewitz, one of the pre 2007 tour favourites Alexandre Vinokourov and Iban Mayo). Having signed the charter, Moreni insists he should pay the penalty; thus his year's earning's went towards the Foundation for Doping Research. (The 2007 Tour de France was one of the most contenious races, with allegations and proven drugs offences overshadowing events on the road).  

Now 37 years old, the hopes Moreni had of returning to top flight cycling are fading. His age and battered reputation are counting against him. Moreni knows pro teams will be wary of him, despite his intentions to prove to the rest of the cycling communuity he is now a clean athlete. Despite these challenges Moreni is determined to get back in the saddle and ride professionally. For a man who loves the sport, his behaviour has had serious consequences. He has paid a high price - but he is adamant that the rules of cycling must be respected. He concludes, "It wouldn't be bad if they introduced a fixed penalty fine for those who are found positive, I think a couple (of riders) would think twice before doing something silly."

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