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Cycling | International Cycling

‘UCI made our job impossible’



The disbanded independent commission set up by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to look into the Lance Armstrong doping scandal said on Tuesday its work had been made "impossible".

In its first public response to being closed on Monday, the commission issued a statement bemoaning a lack of cooperation by the UCI and confirmed its second public hearing, scheduled for Thursday, would not now take place.

"Neither the UCI nor interested stakeholders have provided sufficient cooperation to enable the commission to do its job," the statement said.

"This failure to cooperate makes our task impossible. Therefore, the proposed hearing on 31 January 2013 will not take place."

The UCI shut down the commission – whose three members included British Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson – after arguments over its powers and whether witnesses testifying before it would receive an amnesty from any subsequent punishment.

Instead the UCI said it now wanted to set up a truth and reconciliation commission, which it hoped it would have both the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and the United States Doping Agency (USADA).

The independent commission agreed on Tuesday a TRC represented a "once and for all chance" to break the "code of silence" enveloping doping in cycling.

However, they questioned the competence of all those now involved and whether any new process had to lead to their "termination".

"The commission remains concerned as to Wada's and the UCI's ability to agree the scope, timing and structure of the TRC and also whether the T and R process is sufficiently advanced to justify the UCI's termination of this inquiry."

Last Friday, the commission, chaired by Philip Otton, a former judge in England's Court of Appeal, revealed it hadn't received a single document from the UCI.

The commission was set up by the UCI in response to allegations by USADA – whose inquiry led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles – that cycling officials had been complicit in the American's cheating.

However, the UCI said Wada and USADA refused to take part unless there was a witness amnesty.

The UCI insisted this was impossible, saying offering an amnesty to cyclists who admitted doping offences would breach existing Wada rules.

Change Cycling Now (CCN), a pressure group set up in November, called on Tuesday for Pat McQuaid, UCI president since 2005, and the rest of the senior management at the governing body to be sacked.

CCN said that in shutting down the independent commission, the UCI were guilty of a "rank and disgraceful manipulation of power", with the governing body "concerned only with self-preservation".



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