Grey-Thompson on panel to examine Lance Armstrong drug case and UCI’s role

The commission’s report is critical to restoring confidence in the sport, says UCI president Pat McQuaid

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has been named on a three-person panel to assess the Lance Armstrong affair and the role of the International Cycling Union in the scandal, the world governing body has announced.

The UCI in October ratified the sanctions recommended by the United States Anti-doping Agency, who conducted an investigation which concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

Allegations of complicity and insider knowledge were levelled at the UCI and its leadership - all of which have been denied - and 11-time Paralympic champion Grey-Thompson forms part of the independent commission set up to establish the facts.

Australian John Coates, the president of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport assembled the commission, which is independent of the UCI and will be chaired by former Court of Appeal judge Sir Philip Otton Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes QC will join Lords peer Grey-Thompson on the panel.

Otton, a retired judge, has dealt with Formula One disputes at the International Court of Appeal, as well as the dispute between West Ham United and Sheffield United surrounding Carlos Tevez’s registration in 2007, and Chelsea’s tactics in trying to lure Ashley Cole from Arsenal in 2006.

The commission, assembled by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport president John Coates, will be independent from any other sports body, the UCI said.

“The appointment of these three eminent figures demonstrates clearly that the UCI wants to get to the bottom of the Lance Armstrong affair and put cycling back on the right track,” UCI president Pat McQuaid said in a statement.

“As I have said previously, the Commission’s report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body,” he added.

“We will co-operate fully with the Commission and provide them with whatever they need to conduct their enquiry and we urge all other interested stakeholders to do the same. We will listen to and act on the Commission’s recommendations.”

The commission is to hold a hearing in London in April and will submit its report to the UCI by June 1, 2013 or shortly afterwards.

In the coming two weeks, the UCI will also announce details of a stakeholder consultation to look at the future of cycling and discuss how to bring in lasting improvements, as well as to tackle other issues of concern, the governing body said.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after publication of the USADA report. USADA said the 41-year-old American told his then team mates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton he made a positive drugs test go away with a payment to the UCI in 2001.

The UCI acknowledged they received a $100,000 donation in 2002 but have denied the money was part of a covering up of a positive test.

Armstrong, who has always denied using performance-enhancing drugs, chose not to contest the USADA charges.

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