The UCI president Brian Cookson has remarked cycling is leading the way in which global sports are fighting against doping. Cookson made this remark as he reflected on his first year as head of the world governing body of cycling.

Cookson has managed to bring back a significant portion of cycling’s respect after revelations by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong who claimed the controversial Pat McQuaid overlooked doping practices. Cookson remarked he believes cycling has made a lot of progress already after it lost the confidence of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. The UCI President added one of the first things we have done is to establish a very good relationship with WADA and added we have gone out of our way to rebuild relations with them, and to reshape our anti-doping practices in accordance with their rules.

Brian Cookson added we have had an independent audit on our anti-doping program, which has put forward recommendations we are in the process of fulfilling. He remarked we have completed the process of making the Cycling Anti-doping Foundation operational without any of the UCI Management Committee involved and also said so we have been working very hard towards the things we set out to do. The UCI chief as far as the fight against doping goes and he believes the key phrase is ‘eternal vigilance’. Cookson said we are now the leading sport in terms of anti-doping and added he does not know of any other sport that has thrown itself open to this amount of external scrutiny.

Cookson also remarked that keeping doping out of cycling is a critical part of keeping cycling alive. The UCI chief said it is always his intention to make clear the moral and ethical case against doping and added while we are talking about that, there is also an economic driver here. He also said media, sponsors, fans and the public don’t want to be involved in a sport where doping is a big problem and remarked we saw a clear example of this in 2008 when the German media pulled out of covering cycling at professional level and remarked at one time there were three top pro teams in Germany – at the moment there are none.

Doping scandals have engulfed other sports in the last few months. Late last year, Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray criticized Serbia’s Viktor Troicki and Croatian player Marin Cilic and termed their doping offences as “unprofessional.” It was claimed by Troicki that he was feeling unwell and the doping control officer said to him that he would be able to provide the blood sample the following day that was denied by the official concerned. Cilic blamed his positive test on glucose tablets purchased by his mother at a pharmacy in Monte Carlo.  Troicki received a suspension of 12 months for failing to provide a blood sample while Cilic was banned for nine months after he tested positive for the banned supplement, Nikethamide. The ban imposed on Cilic was reduced to four months and he went on to win the recently-concluded US Open.

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