Rider who shot former head of state's cat suspended by Trek-Segafredo

The team condemns Antonio Tiberi's "reprehensible" behaviour and suspends him without pay

UAE Tour 2023
Tiberi (centre) pictured at the recent UAE Tour
(Image credit: Dario Belingheri / Getty Images)

Trek-Segafredo has suspended its rider Antonio Tiberi without pay after he was convicted of killing a cat with an air rifle – which turned out to belong to the former head of state of San Marino, Pedini Amati.

His actions were "reprehensible", said the team, which was apparently previously unaware of the incident.

The suspension will last 20 days, with the team donating the rider's pay from that period to an animal welfare charity.

Italian-born Tiberi was handed a €4,000 fine and Amati, who is now the Minister of Tourism, is calling for Tiberi to have his residency in the tax haven rescinded.

In a statement the team said: "Trek-Segafredo fully agrees with the fine and strongly condemns the reprehensible act, which is a clear violation of the team's code of conduct."

It added: "He will not race at Trofeo Laigueglia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Torino. If necessary, the team will take further action in the future."

"Trek-Segafredo would like to reiterate its great disappointment in Antonio's conduct. The team strives to help riders improve not just as athletes, but as men and women. The team will work closely with Antonio to ensure he educates himself and expects him to take necessary steps to express his remorse and become a better person."

Tiberi also made a statement Tuesday afternoon. saying: "I deeply regret my shameful actions... I accept with [a] sense of responsibility and repentance the consquences and the blame for my action."

He said he would make donations based on prize money earned this season to San Marino organisations that look after stray cats, and said he would also carry out volunteer work for them.

The incident took place last summer at Tiberi's San Marino home, after the 21-year-old bought the gun and decided to "test it out", reports Corriere della Sera in Italy.

Shooting from his apartment window, Tiberi first targeted a road sign, before spotting the cat. Tiberi admitted to shooting at the animal, which died from a head wound.

The police were called by Amati himself, who witnessed the incident.

"My intent was simply to measure the shooting capacity of the weapon, so much so that I aimed at a prohibition sign," Tiberi told the court. "I also admit that I just as stupidly and unconsciously tried to hit a cat, and to my surprise I actually hit it. I had no intention of killing the animal, in fact I was convinced that the weapon wasn't lethal."

Had the incident taken place in his home country, Tiberi would likely have been jailed with Corriere della Sera staying that in Italy: "Anyone who, out of cruelty or without necessity, causes the death of an animal is punished with imprisonment from four months to two years".

Amati was clearly unhappy with the punishment, saying: "You cannot kill a pet and get away with a €4,000 fine… We do not need to give residency to these people."

Tiberi signed for Trek-Segafredo in 2021, having won the junior World Championship time trial at Harrogate in 2019. He has already won a stage of the Tour of Hungary. Most recently he was in action at the UAE Tour, where he finished seventh overall.

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