USADA also withdrawing from Independent Commission’s investigation into UCI
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

USADA also withdrawing from Independent Commission’s investigation into UCI

by Shane Stokes at 5:37 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
CEO Tygart suggests UCI has ‘blindfolded and handcuffed’ Commission

Travis TygartVoicing his concerns at what he says is a refusal of the UCI to allow the Independent Commission to broaden and add to its terms of reference and thus protect witnesses, USADA CEO Travis Tygart (pictured) has suggested the governing body has acted deliberately to hamper the commission’s investigation into it.

“UCI's refusal to agree to allow a limited opportunity for riders to come forward and be truthful without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI obviously calls into question the UCI's commitment to a full and thorough investigation and creates grave concern that the UCI has blindfolded and handcuffed this Independent Commission to ensure a pre-determined outcome,” he said in a statement. “The current terms of reference are not good for clean athletes or moving this sport forward to a better future.”

USADA has separately confirmed to VeloNation that as things stand, it is walking away from the investigation. A spokesperson said that unless the requested changes are implemented, that there is little point in it cooperating.

The agency is thus adopting the same position as the World Anti Doping Agency, which has also confirmed in the past few minutes that it will no longer work with the Commission. It listed a number of concerns and, like Tygart, feel that the UCI is deliberately hampering the enquiry into its handling of the Lance Armstrong affair and other matters.

USADA has stated that it had urged the Independent Commission to ‘adopt additional terms of reference including a limited Truth and Reconciliation and Amnesty Program for the sport of cycling, and to implement provisions that will protect Commission witnesses from retaliation by the UCI.’

It said that while the Commission members Sir Philip Otton, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Malcolm Holmes understand its concerns, that the UCI has blocked any changes.

“USADA understands the Commission agrees with these proposals, but that the UCI has rejected these important components for the Commission and refuses to allow the Commission's Terms of Reference to be modified,” it said.

The UCI announced last October that it would set up ‘a fully independent’ enquiry, using that as a means to try to regain credibility after it underwent considerable criticism over its relationship with Lance Armstrong and its handling of the investigation into his doping.

It promised that the commission members would be completely separate from the UCI and that they would be able to do a fully objective job in examining the governing body’s role.

Less than three months later, that pledge rings hollow after two prominent anti-doping bodies have concluded that the exercise is essentially on a road to nowhere and that there is little chance of determining the full truth.

However the UCI may still come under serious scrutiny, with the New York Times reporting today that Lance Armstrong may be willing to testify against senior officials within the organisation.

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