WADA questions UCI's impartiality and integrity after Verbruggen claim
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) disputes a claim by former international cycling union (UCI) president and current honorary president Hein Verbruggen that discussing suspicious doping samples with athletes was the normal practice in sports.
It highlights the growing gulf between the worldwide doping watchdog and the International Cycling Union following the Lance Armstrong doping case.
"This approach totally contradicts the purpose of an effective anti-doping program," WADA said on Thursday of Verbruggen's claim, adding that a governing body's policy should be "designed to deter, detect and prevent athletes from doping."
"WADA has no evidence of other international federations `discussing atypical blood test results, or other test results' with athletes," the agency said in a statement
Verbruggen, the UCI president from 1991-2005, claimed in an interview with Vrij Nederland on Wednesday it was the governing body's former policy and "indeed also of other federations."
In the interview Verbruggen said the UCI notified Armstrong that his test values were suspicious, but claims he had to defend Armstrong publicly in spite of the suspicious test values.
According to Vrij Nederland confidential documents show leading professional riders and managers of professional cycling teams were invited to meetings in the Aigle, Switzerland-based UCI headquarters. At these meetings the UCI chief doctor Mario Zorzoli presented the riders and managers with Powerpoint presentations detailing the International Cycling Union's anti-doping strategy and informing them of any suspicious values found in anti-doping tests.
WADA has criticized the UCI for arranging for Armstrong to meet with a laboratory director in 2002 after he gave doping tests with suspicious levels of EPO, a banned blood booster.
Verbruggen defended the UCI's former policy of issuing warnings as part of a "two-pronged attack" by catching those who cheated, but also dissuading riders from doping.
WADA questioned the values behind that policy.
"Any (federation) that would do such a thing would leave itself open to criticism with regards to its impartiality and integrity," the Montreal-based organization said.