Commission to examine what the UCI knew and when


CYCLING:The commission that will look into the way cycling’s governing body, the UCI, handled the Lance Armstrong doping affair has been given a wide-ranging remit to examine the background to the American’s years of doping.

A report issued in mid-October by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) led to the Texan being stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.

It was announced yesterday that the commission will be headed by the former appeal court judge Philip Otton, who will be assisted by Tanni Grey-Thompson and the Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes QC.

There are 11 detailed terms of reference, one of which is to examine the allegations made against the UCI by Usada in its “reasoned decision” on Armstrong.

For example, pages 160 to 161 state: “Even before Usada’s investigation was complete the contention that Mr Armstrong engaged in doping was prejudged and rejected by the UCI despite the fact that neither [UCI president] Mr [Pat] McQuaid, nor [former president] Mr [Hein] Verbruggen, nor any other representative, have met with [witnesses] Mr [Tyler] Hamilton, Mr [Floyd] Landis, or apparently, with any other of Usada’s numerous witnesses . . . the UCI has responded with similar disdain and disinterest towards other cyclists that have tried to bring forth evidence of the serious extent of doping.”

In other words, the commission will examine what the UCI knew and when.

It is also to look into the strength of the UCI’s anti-doping measures which were criticised in Usada’s report, which stated: “At the 2009 Tour de France the AFLD [France’s anti-doping agency] conducted joint testing with UCI testers and recorded that the Astana team, of which Lance Armstrong was a member, benefited from privileged information or timing advantages during doping control tests.”

The UCI said last month it would set up an independent commission to address issues and allegations which arose during the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) investigation into Armstrong and the US Postal Team.

“The appointment of these three eminent figures demonstrates clearly that the UCI wants to get to the bottom of the Lance Armstrong affair and put cycling back on the right track,” said UCI president Pat McQuaid said in a statement.

“The Commission’s report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.”

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