Incentives’ For Doping Testimony Suggested By UCI President

The World Anti-Doping Agency and the world governing body of cycling will be working together for investigating the dark doping past of cycling. This was after the possibility of leniency for Lance Armstrong was raised with new UCI President Brian Cookson saying that there should be “incentives” for some people to testify.

The agreement, which was announced by both UCI and WADA, saw the World Anti-Doping Agency taking positive steps in one of the key behind-the-scenes discussions at its World Conference on Doping in Sport. In a joint statement, the bodies said they have agreed on the broad terms under which the UCI will conduct a commission of inquiry into the historical doping problems in cycling.

Brian Cookson revealed that the banned American cyclist Armstrong would be invited to testify. This agreement followed a private meeting between WADA President Johan Fahey and Cookson at the conference in Johannesburg. The UCI and WADA remarked the Presidents have further agreed that their respective colleagues would co-operate to finalize the detailed terms and conditions of the inquiry to ensure that the procedures and ultimate outcomes would be in line with the fundamental rules and principles of the World Anti-Doping Code. The UCI President said the commission would likely start work in early 2014 and he wanted to finish the inquiry within a period of 12 months.

Cookson added that the UCI had no power to reduce the lifetime imposed on Lance Armstrong in return for the banned cyclist to tell what all he knows, but the newly-elected UCI head did conceded that there has to be some form of incentive for some witnesses. Cookson remarked he would not oppose what the United States Anti-Doping Agency wanted to do with Armstrong but he would be very surprised if it was anything like what Lance Armstrong seems to be saying, that he should be treated exactly the same as those who have previously given evidence. However, Cookson may find it hard to find relief for Armstrong as International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said he opposed any lessening and would be very uncomfortable with it.

In another development, Lance Armstrong has reached a settlement with Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance, an insurance company that was seeking $3m in performance bonuses it paid him from 1999 to 2001. The Insurance Company wanted the cyclist to detail his doping back to 1995 including who all were aware of his drug use and who delivered banned performance enhancing drugs, what amounts of drugs were used, and who administered them. This means that the disgraced cyclist will not need to show up for a deposition in Austin. Betsy Andreu, a key witness against Armstrong and the wife of the former Armstrong team-mate Frankie Andreu, expressed her frustration that Lance Armstrong avoided the deposition. She remarked this settlement gets him out of doing what he fears the most, which is going under oath, and he has never answered the questions in depth, he’s always skirted. The cyclist still faces a $12m lawsuit from the Dallas-based SCA Promotions Company and a federal whistle-blower lawsuit over his team’s previous sponsorship with the US Postal Service.

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