July 22, 2013: UCI Presidential Candidate Brian Cookson in a major statement today set out how he would tackle doping in cycling and help re-establish the sport’s credibility if elected President.
Brian Cookson said:
“This year’s Tour de France has seen many heroic performances yet there has been a mood of skepticism and doubt in some quarters. This is deeply frustrating for the riders but, if you look at the past and what our sport has been through, it is not a surprise. We must act to change this situation so that the public can feel confident and cycling’s great performances can be heralded not disparaged. After a magnificent end to the 100th Tour de France, the UCI owes it to all the clean riders to show leadership on anti doping.
“In my election manifesto launched last month, I outlined plans to establish a completely Independent Anti Doping Unit that would be physically and politically separate from the UCI. It would report to a board totally independent of the UCI in full cooperation with WADA.
“This is the cornerstone of my strategy to more effectively tackle doping in cycling and start the process of rebuilding trust in our sport. However, in light of the continuing issues arising from the Armstrong era and cycling’s ongoing credibility problem, more can and must be done.
“It has nearly always required a third party such as government, the police or a national anti doping agency to launch major investigations into doping in cycling. The UCI has rarely seemed willing to take the initiative and it is critical that this changes as a matter of urgency. Looking ahead, the UCI must demonstrate true leadership and show a real desire to deal with the past and properly tackle doping in the future. I believe this is essential for the sport, for the riders, for the fans and for the sponsors.
“Today I am outlining seven further anti doping measures that I would introduce if elected President of the UCI to recharge the fight against doping:
• Put an end to the UCI’s public feuding with anti doping bodies such as WADA and USADA
• Instigate a fully independent investigation into doping in cycling so we can deal once and for all with the past, with amnesties/reductions in sanctions to encourage all those involved to come forward
- • Ensure more transparency, data sharing and co-operation by teams with their national anti-doping body and cycling’s Independent Anti Doping Unit
- • Create the role of independent team compliance officers whose duty will be to report regularly to the Independent Anti Doping Unit
- • Introduce a Fit and Proper Person’s test in cycling
- • Support four year bans for dopers, and pursue doping enablers as well as riders
- • Expand the UCI’s anti doping education programmes
An End to Feuding
“It is absurd that a sport that has suffered so much from doping has been in open conflict with the very people it should be working in partnership with. It is critical that the UCI develops an open, co-operative working relationships with WADA and the National Anti Doping Organisations. This is crucial if cycling’s war against doping is to succeed.”
“We must learn from the past. I will implement a fully independent investigation into doping in cycling so we can deal once and for all with the past, with amnesties/reductions in sanctions to encourage all those involved to come forward. This will require agreement with WADA on its terms of reference and the appropriate amnesty provisions to properly incentivise those involved to come forward, but it must be done. The brief of the investigation should include the uncovering of any UCI corruption and collusion, and understand what factors led to the culture of doping.”
“The release by Team Sky of Chris Froome’s power data symbolised the sport’s credibility problem and showed the need for more transparency, data sharing and co-operation from the teams. That is why I am committed to ensuring the UCI adopt rules requiring teams and organisers to share relevant data and intelligence with the Independent Anti Doping Unit and relevant National Anti Doping organisations.”
“I believe that transparency will be helped significantly with a system to create the role of independent team compliance officers whose duty will be to report regularly to the Independent Anti Doping Unit.”
Four year bans
“I fully support longer bans for those found guilty of doping and welcome WADA’s new four year bans that will come into force from 2015. It is important that these sanctions are not just placed on riders found guilty, but also on those who enable doping to take place, such as managers, team staff and doctors. The UCI needs to put real effort into catching those who facilitate doping and champion whistleblowers, not denigrate them.”
Fit and Proper Person’s Test
“If elected UCI President I will introduce a Fit and Proper Person’s test in cycling, taking the example from regulations which govern who is fit to be a company director. I want to see the UCI adopt a process by which team managers, team doctors and sports directors are assessed for their suitability to be in a position of authority in the sport.”
“Finally, I want to see an expansion of the UCI’s education programmes, building on the good work of ‘True Champion or Cheat’ which is one of the excellent legacies of Anne Gripper’s time as UCI Head of Anti Doping.”
“Taken together, these anti doping measures can set a new path for the UCI and help to rebuild trust in our athletes and our sport. If we fail to embrace change, our sport will continue to be damaged by on-going innuendo, rumour and a fundamental lack of trust. The UCI must act decisively and show genuine leadership to support a new culture of anti doping.”