UCI: Independent Commission announcement to come within a week
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Monday, January 06, 2014

UCI: Independent Commission announcement to come within a week

by Shane Stokes at 9:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Major investigation set to begin into anti-doping processes, governing body’s dealings with Armstrong

UCI Independent CommissionDetails of the Independent Commission panel plus an outline of how that investigation into professional cycling will be conducted are set to be released very shortly by the UCI, with the governing body confirming to VeloNation today that an announcement will come within the next week, if not sooner.

“For sure it will be announced in the coming days or, at the most, by next Monday,” UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille said today. “The three names of those who will be on the commission will be confirmed then.”

The UCI originally set up an Independent Commission over one year ago, with then-president Pat McQuaid promising that it would be able to fully investigate the UCI’s handling of anti-doping in the past. This would encompass the claims made in relation to the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service case, specifically that the UCI either aided or turned a blind eye to his doping.

However the UCI subsequently shut down the commission in January of last year. McQuaid sought to blame USADA and WADA, saying that they were not cooperating.

Both agencies said that the UCI had refused to permit an amnesty to protect witnesses, something the Commission itself said was necessary to encourage witnesses to speak out.

The matter became an election issue for both candidates. In his manifesto prior to the election, Cookson pledged to establish a new investigation, as did McQuaid.

Minutes after the Briton successfully defeated McQuaid on September 27th, investigators entered the UCI building in Aigle and locked down data and documents. These reportedly included files from McQuaid’s own computer system, although he denied that his personal laptop was seized.

Last month Cookson told Marca that the UCI was ‘very close’ to reaching an agreement with the commission members. However he said that he didn’t want to pre-empt anything at that time.

“I'd rather make sure first. We have studied people and have chosen them for the position. We are still negotiating and I am confident they will accept,” he said.

“We are in continuous contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to move in unison. If not, we would return to the situation [of] twelve months ago.”

When the makeup of the commission is announced, a timescale will also be given for its likely completion. Cookson originally said that he wanted the process to be relatively fast and not to drag on, but last month he told Marca he accepted that more time would in fact be needed.

“You can’t predict it [how long it could take], it is a process. The most important step is the formation of an independent commission to look into whatever happened in the last ten or fifteen years in our sport.

“I think it can reach a conclusion in a year. Restoring the reputation takes more time.”

Chenaille also accepted that today, saying that the investigation would likely take several months.

McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen’s governance of the sport will be one area that will be scrutinised. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

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