Post Armstrong, USA Cycling calls on others with evidence to come forward now
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Post Armstrong, USA Cycling calls on others with evidence to come forward now

by Shane Stokes at 9:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“These overdue admissions, and the resulting public scrutiny, are an essential step”

USA CyclingReacting to Lance Armstrong’s long-overdue confession of doping on the Oprah Winfrey programme, USA Cycling has said that that and other admissions are essential for the sport in moving forward in a better way.

The American federation issued a statement on the matter following the screenings of both halves of the interview, in which the Texan admitted taking banned products for much of his career, including during the seven Tours de France he won between 1999 and 2005.

He has since been stripped of those titles, as well as all of his other results post-August 1st 1998.

“The facts and evidence included in the landmark Reasoned Decision report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and the subsequent admissions from cyclists who knowingly and purposely cheated, have cast a much-needed spotlight on what was the darkest era in professional cycling,” said the federation.

“These overdue admissions, and the resulting public scrutiny, are an essential step in ensuring the transgressions of the past are never again repeated. It is only through this process that professional cycling will completely heal.”

The Independent Commission set up by the UCI – but using external, unconnected individuals in order to try to ensure impartiality - is currently calling on witnesses to come forward and to give any information they have in relation to the UCI’s dealings with Armstrong.

USADA’s reasoned decision contained rider testimony which claimed that Armstrong told his former team-mates that he was essentially shielded by the UCI after a positive EPO test during the 2001 Tour de Suisse. The governing body denies this, but has admitted taking two donations from the American totalling €125,000.

The UCI Independent Commission is looking into this and other areas. It wants witnesses to provide it with evidence pertaining to Armstrong, his dealings with the UCI and doping in the sport, although it recently expressed frustration with the UCI’s decision not to grant an amnesty.

It is thought it will continue to push for that in order to ensure that those who give information don't suffer any repercussions.

USA Cycling also wants to see admissions from anyone else who took banned substances.

“Any rider who knowingly and willfully cheated has an obligation to come forward now and be entirely open and transparent about their actions, no matter how abhorrent, with the relevant anti-doping authorities. From USA Cycling's perspective, the recent series of confessions by Lance Armstrong and others is an important step.

“Still, USA Cycling is interested to see the extent to which those whose cheating created a dark cloud of suspicion around professional cycling are now willing to reinforce their apologies with substantive efforts to repair the damage they have done, both privately and publicly. They owe nothing less to our great sport; to the members of USA Cycling who continually reinforce the highest values of our sport through their participation; and to the next generation of athletes worldwide who already have begun to usher in a new era through their commitment to clean competition and fair play.”

However the federation does not make clear if it would also support calls for an amnesty, or if those who voluntarily speak out will incur penalties.

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