Change Cycling Now: LeMond prepared to stand as interim UCI President
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Monday, December 03, 2012

Change Cycling Now: LeMond prepared to stand as interim UCI President

by VeloNation Press at 12:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
New pressure group releases ‘Charter of the Willing,’ lays out demands

Greg LeMondTriple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has spoken about a willingness to stand for the UCI Presidency, but has said that he would see the role being a temporary one until a more suitable candidate was in a position to take over.

The American was speaking after two days of meetings of the Change Cycling Now group, a new organisation which is pushing for reform within the UCI and cycling itself. LeMond’s comments were first made in the French Le Monde newspaper and then expanded upon at the Change Cycling Now press conference in London.

“I'm ready. I was asked and I accepted,” he told the newspaper. “With the Change Cycling Now movement we want to change cycling. However, it is now or never. After the new tremors caused by the Armstrong case, another chance will not arise.

“If we want to restore public confidence and sponsors, we must act quickly and decisively. Otherwise, cycling will die. Riders do not understand that if we continue like this, there will soon be no money in cycling. There are less and less young people choosing cycling. If I had young children today, I would not let them race.”

LeMond is now the sole US Tour de France winner after Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles. He clashed with the Texan for several years over the latter’s association with the notorious doctor Michele Ferrari and while he was criticised at the time by some for speaking out, was ultimately proved correct by the USADA report into Armstrong’s doping.

More recently he has been very critical of the UCI and released an open letter calling on UCI President Pat McQuaid to resign. He reiterated that today, saying he believed that it was time for the Irishman to go. “If Pat McQuaid really loved cycling, as he claims, he would have resigned. He would have said: ‘Okay, I made mistakes, but now I quit to find a new leader for the UCI,’ he said.

“Instead of that, all he has done in the past two years is to accuse me of being behind the Armstrong case, to have talked to Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton to get them to testify.”

LeMond has no experience in the governance of the sport and while he has long been outspoken about the need for reform, he acknowledges that there are others out there who might be better fitted to the position. “I do not know if I am the best candidate, if I'm ‘political’-enough to lead a federation,” he said.

However he believes the most important thing is to push for change now, then make adjustments after that. “I am willing to invest to make this institution more democratic, transparent and to look for the best candidate in the longer term to lead it. I think of a personality like Dick Pound [former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency], someone who is perfect in terms of ethics, which is a real experience in the field of the fight against doping and corruption.”

In the press conference this afternoon, LeMond said that he also believed that the anti-doping scientist Michael Ashenden would be another strong candidate.

Whomever ultimately would occupy that position, LeMond argues that it is crucially important for the sport that the current momentum is used to effect change and to eject Pat McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen from their positions of power.

“There was the Festina affair in 1998 and the Puerto affair in 2006, and now Armstrong. Each time, they announced a new start for cycling. And what has changed? Nothing,” he said. “They are totally disqualified. The UCI is not a company that does the [necessary] business. That is why Armstrong was able to win all his titles with total impunity. The fair competition and the health of riders are superseded by economic interests. Today, we need change the management team.

LeMond added that he hoped that Armstrong will ultimately confess.

Change Cycling Now releases ‘Charter of the Willing’


Meanwhile the group released an outline of its initial recommendations and goals today, laying out what it said it hoped would be used as a ‘common credo to be adopted amongst the members of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the National Anti-Doping Authorities and the cycling community.’

In the document, the group states that it believes that a truth and reconciliation process needs to take place and while that is being carried out, that the policy of zero tolerance needs to be put on hold so that individuals willingly come forward.

In order to encourage them further, it states that the UCI President must instruct all teams, riders and staff to come forward and speak frankly about their pasts; in addition, those who do not participate and who are later found to have been involved in doping, ‘should be subject to sanction, to the maximum extent possible.’

Those who do provide a full disclosure and who accept full responsibility for their roles will be given an amnesty, providing the doping was done for the ‘sole purpose of seeking sporting achievement.’

This offer of an amnesty will end once the truth and reconciliation process is concluded. From that point on, there will be a hardline approach against doping.

Change Cycling Now advocates the establishment of an independent commission to look into the UCI and its senior management. While one has been set up with a green light from the UCI, CCN lays out what it would wish to see under its own proposed system.

The measures include the assistance of WADA and USADA to establish the terms of reference.

CCN’s recommendations are that the commission should have the power to discover all UCI documentation and also to be able to demand documents and testimony from others. It also suggests that it should be able to request doping test data from WADA.

In tandem with that, CCN has called on the establishment of fully independent doping controls and for a cultural change within the UCI.

The latter change includes what it states should be a ‘cultural shift from being exclusionary and secretive to one of transparency and openness,’ and also a less dictatorial approach.


The full details of the recommendations and demands are below:


Change Cycling Now’s ‘Charter of the Willing’:


We have established this Charter to serve as common credo to be adopted amongst the members of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the National Anti-Doping Authorities and the cycling community.

This Charter is our collective affirmation of the values, principles and steps that all relevant stakeholders should adopt, practice and collectively amplify for the future of competitive cycling.

We affirm the following:

Premises:

A. The sport of cycling’s credibility and reputation has been harmed by the actions and inactions of the UCI, some cycling team management and staff and some of the riders.

B. Complicit acceptance of doping practices will have no place in cycling now or in the future.

C. For the sport of cycling to move forward from the past, it must openly discuss doping practises in an environment of truth and reconciliation. Any productive truth and reconciliation process must promote confidence, trust, unity and transparency.

D. In the process of discovering the truth, all parties need to look beyond the principles of ‘zero tolerance’. There is a need to accept and find every means to encourage parties to be totally open and transparent about the past without fear. The practise of ‘zero tolerance’ will maintain the code of silence, the omerta, due to fear of retribution and the sanction of severe penalties. We should not be afraid of the truth.

E. The transparency of the truth and reconciliation process will provide a sound basis upon which to learn the lessons of the past and design a fully collaborative anti-­‐doping model with all the stakeholders.

F. Once the sport of cycling has exposed the extent of past practises, dealt with the consequences and applied a period of amnesty, it must move on in an environment where doping practises are not tolerated.

Principles

1. Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

The sport of cycling must break the omerta and establish an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). We recognise the complexity of the issues concerning the process of truth and reconciliation. We will defer to relevant authorities such as WADA regarding the process but for the purposes of this Charter, the principles set out below are ones that this Group believes in.

The TRC should receive information and testimony from riders, team staff, sporting bodies and other interested parties concerning doping practises and the administration of doping products within the professional peloton.

The TRC should gather information, bear witness to, record and conduct hearings to allow recognition of the past.

The TRC must be independent. All teams, riders and staff should be directly instructed by the President of the UCI to participate in the TRC. Those parties that do not participate in the TRC and are later found to have been involved in doping, should be subject to sanction, to the maximum extent possible. We want to encourage all interested parties to be involved and truthful in the process.

The TRC should be empowered to recommend an amnesty to those riders, team staff and administrators who committed or were involved in doping practises provided:

a) the party provides full and candid disclosure;
b) the party accepts full responsibility for their role in doping practises; and
c) the doping practise engaged in was for the sole purpose of seeking sporting achievement.

Any amnesty should be granted during the operation of the TRC. Once the TRC window of availability is closed, any potential opportunity to receive the amnesty will end.

2. Independent commission to investigate the UCI and senior management

An independent commission of review (ICR) should be established to investigate the UCI and receive:

a) a full brief of information from a source that is not in a position of conflict;
b) investigative resources; and
c) assistance from WADA and USADA to establish proper terms of
reference.

The ICR should:

a) be empowered to discover all documentation in the possession, power and control of the UCI;
b) be empowered to seek documents and testimony from third parties relevant to ensure a complete investigation;
c) have full authority to interview witnesses;
d) request doping test data from WADA; and
e) publish its findings two months prior to an Extraordinary Meeting of the Congress.

3. Independent doping controls

The responsibility for deciding who is tested, when they are tested, and what drugs they are tested for, must reside in an independent entity that is beyond the control of the UCI.

The creation of the independent body will:

a) remove conflict of interest;
b) establish integrity and faith in the process, and
c) prevent favourable behaviour to individual parties.

4. Cultural change in the UCI

The culture and management of the UCI must change.

The UCI:

a) must act all times act in the best interests of the riders’ health and wellbeing;
b) must change the individuals within the UCI who have acted contrary to the interests of the sport;
c) must change the roles that have disproportionate influence in the organization;
d) must restore faith and belief in the sport;
e) must recognise fans as key stakeholders;
f) must develop a cultural shift from being exclusionary and secretive to one of transparency and openness;
g) shall develop a voice which is not dictatorial and aggressive but recognises strong leadership which promotes confidence, trust, unity and transparency;
h) shall develop collegiate and cooperative relationships with riders, teams, members, licensees, stakeholders, anti-doping practitioners and authorities.
 

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