Bettini cleared to defend world title

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STUTTGART, Germany, Sep 28 (Reuters) Paolo Bettini has been cleared to defend his road race title at the world championships on Sunday after local organisers failed in a bid to ban him through the courts.

''The city accepts the decision and will take no further legal steps,'' local organisers said in a statement after the ruling was released.

Stuttgart wanted to stop the Italian rider competing because he has not signed the International Cycling Union's (UCI) anti-doping pledge.

The city believed it had a deal with the UCI that only riders who had signed the pledge would be allowed to ride.

The UCI said it had no power to make signing the pledge a condition of entry.

UCI President Pat McQuaid had told reporters on Thursday Bettini was guaranteed to race on Sunday.

After the court ruling, Stuttgart mayor Wolfgang Schuster said he accepted there was no legal basis for stopping Bettini riding but said it came down to the ''credibility'' of cycling as a sport.

''The UCI must know what signal they are sending with their start guarantee for Bettini.'' Bettini, who has clearly stated he has no involvement in doping, won the road race world title in Salzburg last year.


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