UCI rules out cycling truth and reconcilliation commission for doping
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Friday, September 21, 2012

UCI rules out cycling truth and reconcilliation commission for doping

by Shane Stokes at 4:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
McQuaid: ‘We need to concentrate on the sport today and not so much the past’

Pat McQuaidTwo weeks after Pat McQuaid suggested that an amnesty or truth and reconcilliation commission might be introduced to cycling, the UCI President said today that the sport would be better served by concentrating on the future rather than revisiting the past.

The idea of an amnesty or commission cropped up earlier this month, following on from matters such as Lance Armstrong’s decision not to contest USADA’s charges against him, the lifetime ban and results disqualifications imposed on him, the admission by Garmin-Sharp chief JonathanVaughters that he and current team riders Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie had used banned substances in the past, plus a similar admission by former Classics king Johan Museeuw.

“I think there’s room for it and I think the UCI could do well to (introduce it),” McQuaid told AP a fortnight ago. “It’s a subject I will bring up myself at the management committee of the UCI and it’s something which we would look into possibly doing.”

However the UCI has now backed away from that idea, passing a very different motion which was drawn up earlier this week by the management committee.

That motion said that the UCI should deal with current doping cases and ‘ignore attempts to exploit commercially or otherwise the painful aspects of cycling's past.’

McQuaid told AP that the UCI had voted to take that course of action. “That was discussed at management committee and ... from that discussion came this (motion).” He stated that the committee said, ‘this is the direction we need to go. We need to concentrate on the sport today and not so much the past.’

McQuaid said that the UCI would ‘wait and see’ if a truth and reconciliation commission might be introduced at a later point. However the motion’s preamble appears to make that unlikely. It said that there was ‘no point in continuing to re-examine the past of then-undetectable doping and stigmatize the sport of the young generations now that the situation has considerably improved through the UCI's continued efforts.’

It emerged yesterday that the UCI’s current and former presidents McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen will face Paul Kimmage in a Swiss court on December 12th. He has received a subpoena and must appear at the Tribunal D'Arrondissement de L'Est Vaudois in Vevey in connection to a claim launched against him last January.

Then, Verbruggen and McQuaid said that Kimmage was ‘dishonest’ in accusing them of ‘having knowingly tolerated tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone.’

At least two former riders with the US Postal Service team have said that Armstrong told them in 2001 that he had tested positive for EPO, but that the UCI would help him avoid a sanction. The governing body denies this. It is believed that the evidence gathered by USADA contains information relating to this matter. That information is due to be given to the UCI and WADA soon, and will also be released to the public.

The news of the court case against Kimmage has resulted in a strong reaction on Twitter and elsewhere. Fans of the sport and a number of cycling journalists have been critical of the decision to sue the anti-doping writer, who in 1990 became one of the first to point out a pervasive problem in cycling.

At the time this was labelled as untrue by Verbruggen, and Kimmage plus other whistleblowers such as Graeme Obree and Giles Delion were dismissed as being riders who were simply frustrated by their inability to compete. The 1998 Festina Affair proved that their warnings were accurate.

A defense fund set up yesterday to aid currently-unemployed writer Kimmage in the court case has raised over $6,000 in 24 hours.


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