Cycling: Questions the sport's organisers must answer following Lance Armstrong revelations

 

As the lawyers for the UCI continue to pore over the 1,000 documents detailing the evidence against Lance Armstrong and others connected to the scandal, cycling's governing body is facing some awkward questions.

Q. Did the UCI accept money from Armstrong to cover up a positive dope test in 2001?

Absolutely not, says the UCI. This is the most damaging claim in the entire report. Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis testified Armstrong told them he had tested positive for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. Landis recalled a conversation in which Armstrong said: "He and Johan Bruyneel flew to UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement to keep the positive test hidden." There was a meeting at the UCI HQ in May 2002 with Armstrong and there was an offer of money to help cycling development. The UCI "vehemently denies the meeting… was tied to a cover-up". The UCI recently won a court case against Landis after he accused them of a cover-up.

Q. Is the testing procedure in cycling fit for purpose?

The report states "the adequacy of unannounced, no notice testing taking place in the sport of cycling remains a concern". But there is an acceptance within the anti-doping authorities that cycling has made huge strides towards cleaning up its act in recent years.

Previously the system appears woefully inadequate, as the report details how easily Armstrong and others escaped detection. One alarming part of the report is testimony that US Postal manager Bruyneel appeared to have "inside information" about when the tests were going to happen.

Q. Why has the UCI always insisted Armstrong had no case to answer?

That is a question it has yet to answer. Last year Hein Verbruggen, the UCI's honorary president, and a current member of the governing body's management committee, said: "That's impossible, because there is nothing. I repeat again: Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never. And I say this not because I am a friend of his because that is not true. I say it because I am sure."

Q. What will the UCI do?

It has 21 days to consider the report and decide on its options. It could appeal against the findings – which Usada claims it could add to if required – but that would appear highly unlikely. Then it would be left to the UCI to decide what happens to seven vacant Tour de France titles. There have been suggestions a "truth and reconciliation" committee may be set up to try once and for all to close the book on the sport's darkest days.

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