UCI president Pat McQuaid answers a question during a press conference held during the UCI road world championships in Valkenburg.
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Anti-doping investigation must be truly independent, says Cookson
Brian Cookson, the president of British Cycling, has warned the International Cycling Union (UCI) that the independent commission it has pledged to set up to examine anti-doping efforts must be truly independent for the agency to prove it is credible in the wake of the USADA case against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and four others.
“To be honest this is the UCI’s last chance to re-establish itself as a credible organisation,” Cookson told the Telegraph. “Unless we have a commission that the sporting community trusts to deliver verdicts on the big questions the UCI, to put it honestly, will be stuffed.”
The UCI’s management committee last Friday approved the establishment of the commission, but did not announce how the members of the group would be selected. It will next week announce “which independent sports body will nominate the members of the Commission and, with the UCI Management Committee, agree appropriate terms of reference,” according to a UCI press release.
Suspicion that the UCI lacks the ability to elect a truly independent body to examine its own activities is based on allegations that the UCI accepted donations from Armstrong in exchange for glossing over suspicious doping controls. The UCI has maintained that the money was given to help anti-doping efforts.
The UCI’s last independent investigation into the 2006 work of L’Equipe reporter Damien Ressiot, who linked samples positive for EPO in an anti-doping research study to Armstrong’s controls taken in the 1999 Tour de France. The final report by Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman stated that Armstrong should be cleared of any suspicion of doping, a decision which was accepted by the UCI, but vigorously panned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Cookson, who also sits on the UCI management committee, was present at the meeting last Friday and said the mood amongst the group was that the commission must investigate “everything and anything” and “nothing will be off limits”.
“We are expecting everybody from Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid downwards to be completely transparent at all times,” he said, confirming that both WADA and the International Olympic Committee will weigh
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