Armstrong Urges Cycling To Come Clean

Lance Armstrong recently surprised all by jumping in to play the role of an anti-doping crusader, during a question and answer session on Twitter.

The American rider raised a question for British cycling boss @Brian Cookson who is campaigning to unseat Pat McQuaid as president of the International Cycling Union when elections come around in September. Armstrong asked Brian if he has any plans to convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to fully understand the mistakes of previous generations. Brian replied that he would back such a process, if legal and other issues can be worked out.

Lance Armstrong: “Question for @cooksonforuci – any plans to convene a Truth and Rec Commission to FULLY understand the mistakes of previous generations?”

Brian Cookson: “@lancearmstrong See my reply to @CrisTT Also would support a full truth and rec process if legal and practical hurdles can be overcome.”

(The reply to @CrisTT read: “I would prioritise the allegations which implicate the UCI in cover-ups. Must be investigated independently and quickly.”)

The president of British Cycling also remarked that he would prioritize the allegations which implicate the UCI in cover-ups – must be investigated independently and quickly. Cookson also remarked that he was also in favor of longer bans for convicted dopers, but wanted teams and the “enablers” of doping to be targeted as well as riders. The British Cycling chief added that he wanted to see cycling grow, with a particular focus on women’s cycling and was determined to safeguard place of the sport at the Olympics. The road to his election may be smooth with an extraordinary general meeting of Cycling Ireland’s members voted 91-74 against putting McQuaid forward for another term in charge. Also, McQuaid’s attempt to qualify for the presidential vote via the Swiss cycling federation is the subject of an appeal.

Cookson decided to stay mum on questions raised by journalist Paul Kimmage who had asked if he has a party to sue Floyd Landis and if suing whistleblowers is in his manifesto. He replied that Paul is one of many journalists who deserve respect for the work they have put into exposing doping in cycling and he cannot answer his concerns directly because they involve legal actions which are still live but committed to answering them in full as soon as he is able to. Cookson added that the UCI, if he gets elected in September, will not use the courts to silence whistle-blowers, journalists or other dissenting voices and this should not be taken as UCI’s inability to communicate its own point of view or correct inaccuracies or unbalanced comment when appropriate but and added that he is a firm believer in freedom of debate as being good for the long-term health of any sport.

In the last few months, there have been rumors that Armstrong has given an impression to cycling authorities about his doping activities but they have so far come to nothing. Cycling authorities have been talking for a while about a “year zero” commission for dealing with the blood-doping era of the sport since the Lance Armstrong doping scandal but the process has failed to even get started due to legal concerns about how it would work in practice, and more fundamental worries about who would pay for it.

In another development, UCI president Pat McQuaid is waiting for a visit and an apology from Lance Armstrong and said the cyclist should travel to UCI headquarters in Switzerland to tell all about his doping history and offer to help clean up the sport. He also defended himself, former president Hein Verbruggen, and the UCI by saying the facts show the UCI was always the most advanced federation in the fight against doping and the problem was the products that couldn’t be tested for at the time. McQuaid added that there were no tests available for the products and the UCI was not to blame.

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