Cycling's doping inquiry goes ahead with or without Lance Armstrong

UCI's new president Cookson launches investigation into previous drug culture

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The Independent Online

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has insisted that the inquiry into past doping announced by new president Brian Cookson is not dependent on the participation of Lance Armstrong.

Cookson, who defeated former president Pat McQuaid in last month's election, made the fight against doping a major part of his campaign and announced the formation of an independent commission at an extraordinary meeting of the UCI's management committee.

However, despite confirmation that representatives of Armstrong have been approached to discover whether he would be willing to take part, a source close to Cookson has indicated that they plan to press ahead regardless of whether the disgraced seven-time winner is involved.

Armstrong – who has so far only admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during his career on Oprah Winfrey's chat show earlier this year – previously asked Cookson on Twitter whether he was planning to investigate the UCI's past in order to "fully understand the mistakes of previous generations". Now that has been facilitated via the new commission, it remains to be seen whether cycling's highest-profile drug cheat decides to tell all to the governing body.

"Today's management committee meeting was an important moment for the UCI as we put in place a number of measures to restore trust in the UCI and ensure our great sport is able to move forward," Cookson said. "I would like to thank my management committee colleagues for the professional and collegiate way they approached today's meeting and I am encouraged by the strong sense of common purpose. There is a huge amount of work to do in the coming months and beyond, but I am excited by the passion and support my colleagues have shown for implementing a real programme of change for the good of cycling."

Cookson has also confirmed he will be paid an annual salary worth £76,000 less than his predecessor McQuaid's, as part of his pledge to be more transparent.

Other measures promised by the new president include a full audit of the systems and controls currently employed by the UCI's anti-doping operations ahead of the establishment of an independent anti-doping operation next year, as well as the establishment of an international commission to work on global growth.