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A professional cyclist tipped for a big future in the sport has been fined £3,500 for shooting dead a cat that belonged to San Marino’s minister of tourism.
Trek-Segafredo star Antonio Tiberi was a junior time trial world champion in 2019, and has since featured heavily on the senior scene. Already this year, he's secured 7th and 8th placed finishes on the UAE Tour and Tour Down Under respectively.
But the 21-year-old has been fined after pleading guilty to shooting the animal from near the window of where he lived. According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Tiberi pleaded that he had “had no intention of killing the animal" when he fired from an air rifle.
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"My intent was simply to measure the firing capacity of the weapon, so much so that I targeted a prohibition sign," he was also quoted as saying. "I also admit to having 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 was not lethal."
San Marino has proved a popular destination for cyclists, and the cat belonged to Federico Pedini Amati, also a former head of state in his home country. The minister argued the £3,509 fine dished out was insufficient.
“The cat didn’t bother anyone,” he reportedly said after the case. “It had been with us for a long time. My three-year-old daughter Lucia loved it. You cannot kill a pet and get away with a €4,000 fine,” he said.
And whilst acknowledging Tiberi's honesty, he also called into question his right to live in San Marino: “I appreciated that the boy admitted the fact. Having said that, we don’t need to give these people residence," he added.
Tiberi, born in Frosinone in Italy, was signed by World Tour team Trek-Segafredo in 2020. The American team has produced a string of national champions over the years.
His breakthrough junior win four years ago came amid adversity. The Italian had to overcome a crank failure before the first corner of the course, which meant he had to immediately change bikes.
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