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Friday 07, Dec 2012

  LeMond To Run For UCI Presidency

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LeMond To Run For UCI Presidency

After a series of doping scandals in cycling, three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond is to run for president of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

LeMond, who won the Tour in 1986, 1989, and 1990, told the French daily Le Monde that he was ready to run for UCI president in 2013 and remarked that we want to change cycling with the Change Cycling Now movement. The cyclist is a part of Change Cycling Now, a lobby group set up by former riders, journalists, and a sponsor who all look to radically change the way the sport is ruled in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal. The 41-year-old Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused him of being at the center of an organized doping conspiracy. Meanwhile, current UCI president Pat McQuaid has said he is seeking a third term.

LeMond has been in a long-running feud with the disgraced rider and is now the only American to have won the Tour. The 51-year-old LeMond said in 2001 that he was “disappointed” with Armstrong’s working relationship with the Italian doctor Michele Ferrari at both the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams. LeMond added that Armstrong could repair some of the damage inflicted on the sport by coming forward and providing an insight into his alleged misdemeanors and further added that would be one redeeming thing he could do for cycling, because he’s done a lot of damage.

The alleged complicity of the UCI with doping has resulted in widespread calls for McQuaid and the honorary president, Hein Verbruggen, to step down.

Change Cycling Now, formed by the Australian businessman Jaimie Fuller, has received support from former riders, journalists, and the blood doping expert Michael Ashenden. Ashenden, who said the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed in principle with the idea, is of the view that the changes, if implemented, would remove any doubt over the legitimacy of future Tour winners.

LeMond while addressing the 13 other members of the panel attending the first day of the summit said he and [former rider] Eric Boyer called for independent doping back in 2008 and the Amaury Sports Organisation [operators of the Tour de France] were all for it, but unfortunately, the UCI was not.

A few weeks ago, the governing body of cycling announced that an independent panel consisting of the judge Sir Philip Otton, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and the barrister Malcolm Holmes would be examining the issues that emerged from the damning US Anti-Doping Agency report into the Armstrong affair, which said that he led “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”. Change Cycling Now believes a fresh approach is required immediately as the panel’s findings are due next June and said the movement has laid out a charter for change that would see the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission and rejection of a zero-tolerance response to doping, giving riders two years to come forward and provide any details of offenses.

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Monday 26, Nov 2012

  Ban On Armstrong Just The Start, Says USADA

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Ban On Armstrong Just The Start, Says USADA

A full and independent investigation into doping in cycling has been called by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

The anti-doping agency banned the 41-year-old Texan rider for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles after saying it had exposed him as a drug cheat welcomed ratification of its sanctions against the cyclist and USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement that the UCI made the right decision in the Lance Armstrong case.

Tygart said USADA is glad that the governing body of cycling finally reversed course in this case and has made the credible decision available to it despite its prior opposition to USADA’s investigation into doping on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team and within the sport. He added that imposing a life ban on the cyclist was not the end of the problem because the investigation of USADA showed that doping was rife in professional cycling.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Armstrong for life and stripped of seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005 for doping. USADA labelled Armstrong a “serial” cheat and that he had led the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen. After this, the International Cycling Union (UCI) accepted the USADA findings into systematic doping.

In the Lance Armstrong doping case, more than two dozen witnesses provided testimony in the case and a handful of teammates confessed to cheating of their own but USADA chief said that was just the tip of the iceberg and added that it is important that an independent and meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established so that cycling can fully unshackle itself from the past and truly move forward and for the world to know what went on in cycling. Tygart further added that there are many more details of doping that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors and the omerta has not yet been fully broken and despite the fact that today is a historic day for clean sport, it does not mean clean sport is guaranteed for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, double Olympic gold medalist Geraint Thomas says the Lance Armstrong doping scandal will be helpful in cleaning up the sport in the long run. Thomas, who won team pursuit gold at the Beijing and London Olympics, admits the scandal has tarnished cycling but says the sport is now cleaning up its act and cycling has to move on from the Armstrong affair. The 26-year-old is a member of Team Sky, which has a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and the staff of Sky have been asked to sign a statement that they have had no previous involvement in doping. Thomas, who has returned to road cycling following his track triumph at London 2012, said it is sad to see cycling getting dragged through the dirt again and said it is time to learn from it and move on at the same time and keep pushing forward like we have done the last few years.

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Monday 05, Nov 2012

  UCI Sued By Sponsor For £1.25m

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UCI Sued By Sponsor For £1.25m

Australian clothing firm SKINS has threatened to sue the governing body of cycling, UCI, for its failure to crack down on doping and run a clean sport.

The Australian company’s Swiss lawyers wrote to UCI saying the company had been involved in professional cycling since 2008 in the belief that the sport had cleaned up its act after the 1998 Tour de France that was hit by scandals. In a statement issued through its lawyers, the company said it concluded that it must revise that view. The statement reads SKINS, as a supplier and sponsor, is particularly concerned with its brand image and is firmly against doping as it strongly believes in the true spirit of competition.

The company said it had acted accordingly after the Lance Armstrong scandal, which saw the Texan stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a USADA investigation into alleged systematic doping. It was indicated by the firm that the manner in which the governing body of cycling dealt with the case of the disgraced cyclist and its fight against doping in general is the primary reason for the total loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public and added that this loss of credibility and confidence for cycling “harms SKINS, as well as any other sponsor or supplier.”

The company sponsors Cycling Australia, USA Cycling, the Rabobank, Europcar and Telekom teams and BikeNZ in New Zealand, among others.

Meanwhile, a giant effigy of Lance Armstrong went up in flames recently as part of one of the biggest bonfire parties in the UK. The cyclist, accused by the USADA of using and promoting the use of performance enhancing drugs, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, pipped the likes of Jimmy Savile and Chancellor George Osborne after suggestions from members of the public. The effigy came complete with a ‘Jim Fixed It For Me’ medallion and a sign which read ‘For sale, Racing bike no longer required’.

In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has applauded the USADA for its case against the disgraced cyclist who was accused by some of his former teammates of using and encouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs within the USPS team. WADA recently said that it would not appeal against the sanctions imposed by the USADA on Armstrong and said WADA has no concerns as to the complete process and the overwhelming weight of evidence against the cyclist. USADA accused the Texan rider of spearheading “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

The seven-time champion of Tour de France was accused by teammates including Frankie Andreu, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, and Tyler Hamilton of using EPO, growth hormone, and other performance enhancing drugs. The veteran American cyclist who raced alongside Lance Armstrong during all of his seven Tour de France victories, Hincapie, said he made use of banned substances during his professional career and remarked he is looking forward to play a substantial role to develop, encourage, and help young riders to compete and win with the best in the world.

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