PARIS, Jan 16, 2013 (AFP) – The International Cycling Union (UCI) have been
urged to reconsider offering an amnesty for riders who admit taking
performance-enhancing drugs in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
The independent panel probing claims of a cover-up between the sport’s
governing body and the shamed US rider suggested an amnesty would be “in the
interest not only of the commission of inquiry but also of professional
cycling as a whole”.
The commission, set up by the UCI in October, comprises two Britons –
former appeal court judge Philip Otton and Paralympian great Tanni
Grey-Thomson and an Australian lawyer, Malcolm Holmes.
The panel noted in a statement that the UCI had rejected the idea of the
establishment of a “truth and reconciliation” commission last January.
In contrast, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which last year said
Armstrong was at the heart of the most sophisticated doping programme in the
history of sport, favours a “warts-and-all” approach to allow the sport to
wipe the slate clean.
Pressure group “Change Cycling Now”, which includes former US champion and
Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, backs calls for a truth commission followed
by partial or full amnesties for riders willing to admit doping.
The independent commission’s comments come on the eve of the broadcast of a
pre-recorded interview between Armstrong and chat show host Oprah Winfrey in
which he admits doping.
The panel, which is due to hold hearings in London in April and report by
June 1, said they regretted that the UCI on the one hand and World Anti-Doping
Agency and USADA on the other could not agree on a common strategy to tackle
The trio said it had written to world cycling chiefs to ask them to
reconsider their position.