Independence A Must For Clean Sport, Says Tygart

 USADA CEO Travis Tygart has said that the work is not done yet even though the lifetime ban and the disqualification of the results of Lance Armstrong are now secure.

The arbitration cases for Johan Bruyneel and Jose “Pepe” Martí are still lying in pending status and there is a huge possibility that more details may emerge from the seedy tale of the doping culture in cycling. Tygart, after unearthing the disturbing truths, sees independent organizations like USADA as the only way forward for the sport.

At times when the governing body of cycling was turning a blind eye to whistle-blowers such as Jörg Jaksche, Tyler Hamilton, and Floyd Landis, the United States Anti-Doping Agency was taking them seriously and started investigating on the allegations made by the former teammates of Lance Armstrong against him. Tygart said the reason why the cycling’s governing body failed to do so sooner was because of the inherent conflict of interest or “fox guarding the henhouse” that is key to cycling’s problems.

USADA chief said if a single precedent is established by the case of the disgraced cyclist, Armstrong, it is that clean athletes have now greater faith in the anti-doping establishments and trust that these institutions will not turn a blind eye, irrespective of how powerful or influential those who broke the rules may be. He added that the UCI was arguing and telling everyone that USADA was on a witch hunt and they seem to have no idea of what the evidence was, they sued Floyd Landis and called the whistle-blowers scum bags, these surely are not the actions one takes if the sport is to be moved in the right direction on this topic.

The differences between USADA and UCI emerged in public ahead of the 2011 Tour of California when the governing body of cycling said it wants the absolute results management authority and could only allow USADA to simply perform the controls. In 2010, a similar conflict happened between the UCI and French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) before the Tour de France. Meanwhile, the management committee of the UCI has decided to form an independent commission for examining the “various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair” but the USADA chief hopes the scope will be broader than just looking into a few important issues like the 2001 Tour de Suisse doping control of Lance Armstrong that was suspicious for EPO.

Tygart added that the USADA report into the Lance Armstrong doping scandal did to some extent what the Mitchell Report did for baseball. The report by USADA not only had a look into and exposed the past, but it also helped in learning lessons that one can unshackle himself from that past besides placing tangible recommendations to ensure the sport moves in the right direction. Tygart expressed hope that USADA, their equivalents around the world, and WADA itself, have demonstrated that they could offer a reasonable avenue for clean athletes to report on doping activities and said Armstrong scandal will surely send a very powerful deterrent and preventative message to those who cheat and think that they could get away with it or grow so big they become too big to fail.

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