LOS ANGELES (AFP) — The Union Cycliste Internationale likely turned a blind eye to alleged doping by Lance Armstrong and others, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency has suggested.
Richard Pound said he complained for years to the UCI that Armstrong and other cyclists were given advance notice of their drug tests and then allowed to go off unsupervised.
“It is not credible that they didn’t know this was going on,” Pound told AFP in an interview Friday. “I had been complaining to UCI for years.”
Pound, who was head of WADA from 1999 to 2007, said drug testers would visit riders in the early morning, hours before they had to appear for a competition.
“The race starts at 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the afternoon and there are no tests prior to the race to see if they are bumped up,” he said.
After races, he said, competitors had an unchaperoned hour before being tested.
“So then you go in and get saline solutions and other means of hiding the effects (of) EPO and whatever else it is,” he said.
“You have to say, ‘I wonder if it was designed not to be successful?’”
Pound’s comments come in the wake of a damning U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that charged Armstrong with orchestrating the most complex doping scheme in sports history.
Released Wednesday, USADA’s report contained detailed allegations about Armstrong’s supposed use of testosterone, human growth hormone, blood doping and EPO, and included sworn statements from 26 people, including 11 former teammates.
“Where the rubber really hits the road is with UCI,” Pound said, adding that if the world governing body were to “persist with denial” investigations may spread to the Spanish and Italian pro cycling communities, among others, and “put their whole sport in jeopardy.”
“All these show the same behavior as (U.S. Postal Service) and UCI never seemed to be able to deal with it,” said Pound. “They can’t be so blind to not know this was going on.”
Earlier this week, UCI president Pat McQuaid told AFP that the sport
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