WADA calls UCI ‘deceitful’ in doping probe
LONDON — The World Anti-Doping Agency called the UCI “deceitful” Tuesday for shutting down its independent doping panel and said it won’t participate in an amnesty commission set up by the cycling governing body.
WADA said the UCI has “again chosen to ignore its responsibility to the sport” by disbanding the panel looking into claims that cycling leaders helped cover up Lance Armstrong’s suspicious doping tests and accepted $125,000 in donations from him.
Instead, the UCI announced Monday plans to set up a separate amnesty-style “truth and reconciliation commission” that it claimed was supported by WADA President John Fahey.
“This is not only wrong in content and process, but again deceitful,” WADA said in a statement. “The fact is that WADA was awaiting a reply to the correspondence when the UCI release was delivered.
“WADA has not and will not consider partaking in any venture with UCI while this unilateral and arrogant attitude continues.”
The anti-doping agency added that it will not “pay for or contribute to any collaborative effort with UCI into investigating UCI’s long-standing problems with doping in its sport and its alleged complicity.”
UCI President Pat McQuaid issued a response Tuesday to the WADA statement, which he called “blatant and aggressive misrepresentations,” and released private email exchanges with the agency.
“The UCI is perplexed that WADA has now chosen to rebuff and attack the UCI’s willingness to establish a TRC, having just demanded that the UCI establish exactly such a commission,” McQuaid said in a statement.
McQuaid claimed that Fahey supported the independent panel being replaced by a TRC, and released an email that included the anti-doping chief saying the “process should start over from a new beginning.”
McQuaid urged Fahey to set aside his apparent “personal vendetta and crusade against cycling” and support the TRC.
“Our aims are the same: to rid cycling and indeed all sports of the scourge of doping,” McQuaid said.
“The UCI is determined not to dwell on WADA’s inconsistent behavior,” he added. “We wish to reaffirm our commitment to establishing the TRC.”
Accusations against the UCI emerged in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed doping and led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong recently confessed to doping after years of denials.
In justifying the reason to disband the independent panel, the UCI cited WADA’s refusal to cooperate with the inquiry.
But WADA on Tuesday said it would not participate because of the “inadequacies of the terms of reference and the timelines.” It also didn’t want the UCI to scrutinize or edit the findings before they were released.
WADA said it hopes the UCI’s independent commission will still meet as previously planned on Thursday, despite being disbanded. The three-person body said Tuesday the UCI never provided the cooperation — promised by McQuaid — to allow it to function.
“This failure to cooperate makes our task impossible,” the commission, which was chaired by British judge Philip Otton, said in a statement. “Therefore, the proposed hearing on (Jan. 31) will not take place.”