• Cycling

WADA slams 'deceitful' UCI over Armstrong probe

ESPN staff
January 29, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

The World Anti-Doping Agency has branded the International Cycling Union "deceitful" and "arrogant" for claiming that the decision to disband their independent commission conducting the Lance Armstrong investigation was supported by WADA president John Fahey.

WADA accused the UCI of "again [choosing] to ignore its responsibility to the sport" by disbanding the commission, which was examining claims that the cycling federation played a role in the United States Postal Service's long-standing doping programme and unethically accepted $125,000 in donations from Armstrong.

The independent inquiry, launched in the wake of the USADA investigation that led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after orchestrating "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen", was disbanded after both the world and US anti-doping agencies refused to co-operate, according to UCI president Pat McQuaid.

McQuaid announced that the UCI plan to launch a truth and reconciliation commission in its stead, adding that the decision had been made to appease WADA as they had "no confidence in the existing independent commission process."

But WADA have vehemently denied any endorsement of the move, and insisted that they will not incur any costs relating to either the scrapped investigation or the upcoming commission.

"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 statement continued , adding that the body would 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."

WADA clarified that their decision to not participate with the original commission was due to the "inadequacies of the terms of reference and the timelines." The anti-doping body also insisted that the UCI must not scrutinise or edit the findings of the commission before they were released.

The three-person commission, including multiple Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, complained on Tuesday that the UCI failed to provide the co-operation - promised by McQuaid - to allow it to function.

After the commission was adjourned last week, Baroness Grey-Thompson told UCI counsel Ian Mill: "It amazes me that we've had no documents whatsoever."

"This failure to co-operate makes our task impossible," the commission, which was chaired by British judge Philip Otton, said in a statement. "Therefore, the proposed hearing [on January 31] will not take place."

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