Trek-Segafredo rider Antonio Tiberi has been suspended without pay after being found guilty of killing a cat with an air rifle – which turned out to have belonged to Pedini Amati, the former head of state of San Marino.
His actions, which were apparently previously unaware of the incident, were “reprehensible,” the team said.
The suspension will last 20 days and the team will donate the drivers’ wages during this period to animal welfare charities.
Italian-born Tiberi was fined 4,000 euros and Amati, now tourism minister, called for Tiberi’s residency in the tax haven to be revoked.
“Trek-Segafredo fully agrees with the fine and strongly condemns this reprehensible action, which is a clear violation of the team’s code of conduct,” the team said in a statement.
It added: “He will not take part in the Trofeo Laigueglia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Torino races. The team will take further action in the future if necessary.”
“Trek-Segafredo reiterates its deep disappointment with Antonio’s behavior. The team strives to help riders improve not only as athletes, but as male and female riders as well. The team will work closely with Antonio to ensure that he educates himself and expects him to express his A necessary step to repent and become a better person.”
Tibery also issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon. Said: “I deeply regret my shameful actions…I accept the consequences and blame for my actions with [a] sense of responsibility and remorse.”
He said he would donate to organizations that care for stray cats in San Marino based on his winnings this season, and said he would also do volunteer work for them.
According to Corriere della Sera, the incident happened at Tiberi’s home in San Marino last summer when the 21-year-old bought the gun and decided to “give it a try”.
Filmed from his apartment window, Tiberi first took aim at a signpost before spotting the cat. Tiberi admitted to shooting the animal, which died from head injuries.
Amati, who witnessed the incident, called the police himself.
“My intention was simply to measure the fire capability of the weapon, so that I aimed at a prohibition sign,” Tibery told the court. “I also admit that I similarly foolishly and mindlessly attempted to hit a cat and to my amazement I did. I had no intention of killing the animal, in fact I am sure the weapon is not lethal.”
Had the incident happened in his home country, Tiberi would likely have been jailed, while Corriere della Sera remained in Italy: “Anyone who causes the death of an animal for cruel or unnecessary reasons will be sentenced to four months to two years “.
Amati was clearly not happy with the penalty, saying: “You can’t kill a pet and pay 4,000 euros… We don’t need to give these people residency.”
Tiberi signed with Trek-Segafredo for 2021 and won the Junior World Championship time trial title in Harrogate in 2019. He has already won the Tour of Hungary stage. Most recently he took part in the UAE Tour, where he finished seventh overall.