Team Sky Policy Attacked By WADA Chief

Team Sky has been criticized by David Howman, the World Anti-Doping Agency chief executive, for their zero-tolerance approach to drug-taking. Howman said cycling cannot afford to lose those who knew about doping in the sport as it makes an attempt to clean up its act.

The WADA Chief said the hardline stance of Team Sky will not encourage riders and officials with a history of performance enhancing drugs to divulge evidence because of a fear they will lose their job. Howman added that there will not be many who will reveal the truth if they fear about losing their jobs and said zero tolerance does not make much of a sense in the overall efforts of cleaning up cycling. He further added that WADA in general is concerned as we are losing people who knew about doping and what all happened and we should actually make them feel free to come forward and said if they have a fear of losing their positions, that will be a regrettable loss of opportunity to clean the sport.

Team Sky race coach, Bobby Julich, and directeur sportif Steven de Jongh have left the team after they admitted to having a history of performance enhancing drugs.

Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Committee is introducing a statutory declaration and oath for all its team members wherein anyone who is found to have lied on oath could be jailed for up to seven years. Howman said: “I would like to see another step before that, more of the carrot and less of the stick.”

When the team was first established in 2009, riders and officials signed initial team contracts that contained “protections and remedies that would be expected” in relation to doping, Team Sky said and added that after the recent reaffirmation process that offered a payment to those who confessed and left the team, the organization believes the team is clean.

Fahey added that those in charge of cycling at the time of Armstrong scandal should bear some of the responsibility and added that “everybody doped” in cycling during the Lance Armstrong era. Twenty six people, including 11 former teammates of Lance Armstrong, testified before the USADA that the disgraced cyclist and his team made use of trafficked in banned drugs and also made use of blood transfusions, and Lance pressured others to do so.

Fahey added that cycling will be able to regain credibility only after the senior officials on watch during the “debacle” were removed so that its millions of supporters around the world will watch and support the sport going forward and said anyone involved during the Armstrong years could not justify their place in the hierarchy of the sport at the UCI. The WADA Chief said he looks forward to seeing what the UCI proposes to do to ensure the Armstrong “debacle” does not happen again.

UCI president Pat McQuaid, who has held the position since 2006, meanwhile warned against blaming authorities of the sport for the doping scandal; his predecessor Hein Verbruggen was at the helm during Armstrong’s reign.

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