Claims Lance Armstrong could implicate the International Cycling Union (UCI) in a doping cover-up have today been dismissed by the world governing body.
United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart had alleged during a hearing at the French Senate in Paris yesterday that Armstrong had “evidence of their complicity” which had allowed him use of banned performance-enhancing drugs to help him win seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
If proven, it would prove fatal to the UCI’s embattled leadership of President Pat McQuaid and his predecessor and now Honorary President Hein Verbruggen. But, the UCI have angrily dismissed the latest damaging allegations.
“The fact is that Mr. Tygart has no evidence of any wrongdoing and has chosen to make headlines on a convenient interpretation of a conversation he had with Lance Armstrong,” the UCI said in a statement on their website. “He should establish the facts before jumping to conclusions. The UCI welcomes any assistance and clarification that Lance Armstrong may wish to give Mr. Tygart on the matter.”
Tygart had claimed during the Senate hearing that the UCI “have done absolutely nothing” since USADA banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his Tour de France titles last August.
He was particularly critical of a decision to scrap an Independent Commission, which had been set-up to look at the issues arising from the Armstrong scandal.
“It’s all very well Mr. Tygart talking about cooperation, but let’s not forget that the Independent Commission was only disbanded because of USADA’s and WADA’s (World Anti-Doping Agency’s) point-blank refusal to cooperate with it,” said the UCI.
“Simply, the UCI was left with no choice but to close it down; it made no sense to go forward without the participation of these two bodies.
“One can only assume that their refusal to cooperate with the Independent Commission was due to their fear that their own shortcomings would be exposed.
“After all, USADA and WADA also tested Armstrong over many years and also failed to catch him. It was only with the benefit of the U.S. Federal Investigation that USADA was finally able to gain evidence of Armstrong’s doping.
“No attempt by Travis Tygart to rewrite history will change the fact that USADA failed to catch Lance Armstrong having tested him just 49 times during his career.
“The UCI by comparison tested Armstrong 189 times.
“As Mr. Tygart himself admitted Thursday in other media reports, it was the UCI in its campaign against doping, not WADA or USADA, which caught Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.
“And it was the UCI catching these two high-profile riders which ended up with them confessing and so enabled the investigation to move against Armstrong.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.