UCI urged to fund credible independent investigation

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11/2/2012| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid Fotoreporter Sirotti

UCI urged to fund credible independent investigation

If cycling leaders want a credible independent investigation about their possible cover-up of Lance Armstrong's doping, they must give the panel sufficient funding and resources.

Sylvia Schenk, an anti-corruption expert and a former board member of cycling's governing body, said that the "commission will not be able to do everything itself."

"It must outsource some of the things that need to be done," said Schenk, the sports adviser for the anti-corruption body Transparency International.

International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid acknowledged last month that professional cycling was in its biggest crisis after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency set out in devastating detail how Armstrong's teams cheated during his 1999-2005 run of Tour de France wins.

After agreeing last week that Armstrong should be banned for life and stripped of his race results, the UCI is trying to restore its own reputation.

McQuaid said it would create a commission to examine allegations about the governing body's conduct raised by the USADA report, including that Armstrong donated $125,000 in exchange for covering up suspicious doping tests. The UCI wants a report and recommendations delivered by June 1.

Schenk said past explanations about the donations -- including exact amounts and when they were paid -- had been "contradictory."

"If the UCI discloses everything then it really has a chance to look into details to see who has been involved, and to take measures to kick out those who have been involved," said Schenk, who served on the UCI board for five years through 2005 under then-president Hein Verbruggen.

Schenk said there is a mood within cycling to change and end the culture of doping.

"Whether it will really happen, that depends on the next four, five, six weeks -- whether such a commission is really independent and having resources," the former German cycling federation president said.

The UCI has said it will announce next week which "independent sports body" will nominate the investigation panel members.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport's ruling board is the best candidate for that job, Schenk said.

"WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) is not really independent," she said. "It is part of the whole system, as part of the USADA report, and it would be better to have an institution like CAS."

The UCI has taken a similar path to FIFA, which responded last year to allegations of high-level corruption by appointing Swiss law professor Mark Pieth to assemble an expert panel advising on reforms.

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