UCI-Lance ‘Collusion’ To Be Studied By Panel

UCI President Pat McQuaid has announced that an independent panel will be examining allegations that the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, was complicit in Lance Armstrong‘s doping.

Senior officials from UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency will meet in Russia to discuss potential appointments to an expert panel of three members, according to McQuaid, who added that long-standing claims about the UCI and relationship with Lance Armstrong will be absolutely addressed by the commission. The collusion allegations include suspicious test results at the 1999 Tour de France and 2001 Tour of Switzerland, plus cash donations to UCI totaling $125,000 from the disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner.

In an interview, McQuaid said he would be very sure that the audit will show that there’s nothing untoward ever been done with Armstrong. Meanwhile, six critically important points were reported in a report by consultants Deloitte that was commissioned by the UCI to consult cycling stakeholders and fans after the Armstrong scandal. After processing 6,369 survey responses and conducting a series of working groups, Deloitte said the world governing body of cycling should act quickly and clearly in deciding how to investigate historic doping cases that could involve offering amnesty to riders and officials. Deloitte said in a report summary published by the UCI that any ultimate decision should be made only after consultation with WADA and USADA; the 12-page document didn’t mention the name of Lance Armstrong.

The UCI appears to be rebuilding relations with the United States Anti-Doping Authority and McQuaid, who met USADA chief executive Travis Tygart recently in Brussels, said the UCI and WADA-accredited labs were searching their archives for information about laboratory results of urine and blood samples given by Armstrong during his career.

The UCI and USADA have met on a regular basis since committing in January to an independent audit of the UCI’s anti-doping program and decision-making during the period of Lance’s career, McQuaid said. A previously-appointed commission that was investigating if the leaders of UCI protected Armstrong from scrutiny during his 1999-2005 run of Tour de France wins was closed by the UCI president in January this year and the latest, independent panel that is expected to take shape in St. Petersburg, on the sidelines of an Olympic gathering attended by UCI director general Christophe Hubschmid and WADA counterpart David Howman, is likely to include two officials experienced in anti-doping science and sports law.

McQuaid said the UCI will maintain that any decisions we took at the time were taken within the rules at the time, with all the knowledge we had at the time and experts in this field who therefore know what they are looking for, and what they are looking at and understand all the files they will be reading. After a scheduled June 12-13 meeting of the UCI’s management board in Bergen, Norway, their audit report is expected within several months and McQuaid said we will discuss what further measures we need to take in relation to looking at the past and dealing with the past.

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