Cycling's fight to clear its name from its drug-fuelled past took three steps forward and two back yesterday as its governing body, the UCI, said it plans to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) – but immediately came under fire from its own independent commission investigating the body's treatment of the Lance Armstrong doping case.
Judge Philip Otton, who heads the three-person independent commission panel, criticised the timing of the announcement of the TRC, saying that the ensuing delay in creating it would be "an excuse to kick the Usada [Anti-Doping Agency] allegations" – concerning Armstrong and which the commission is investigating – "into the long grass."
Members of the independent commission, which was set up by the UCI in October, also complained that no documents about the Usada case had been provided in the last three months, although some reports claimed that more than a dozen large files were, finally, handed over yesterday.
However, with a first draft of the newly proposed TRC planned for as soon as Monday and a final draft due in March, the independent commission – which was due to open full hearings in April – looks to have been bypassed by the same organisation that created it.
UCI president Pat McQuaid said a TRC was "the best way that we can examine the culture of doping in cycling in the past".
As for the conflict of interests with the independent commission, McQuaid said: "We feel that because a lot of the allegations which are in the Usada report [on Armstrong] are made by riders, that those riders, if they come forward to the truth and reconciliation commission, can make those allegations again and the UCI can respond ... within that process."