At the Procedural hearing of the
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Independent Commission at the Law Society today (Friday, January 25), it was decided that they would adjourn and meet again on January 31 to see if the UCI and WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, could come up with a solution to the problem of a rider amnesty which would allow a Truth and Reconciliation process to take place. In other words, there were no dramatic outcomes in Chancery Lane today.

So, what’s the problem?
The UCI set up and underwrote an Independent Commission to investigate claims in the USADA Reasoned decision into the US Postal Servce team doping practices that it, the UCI, had been involved in cover-ups and been negligent in trying to eradicate doping.

That sounds fair enough. The UCI didn’t select the legal eagles on the Independent Commission panel then?
No, the Right Honorable Sir Philip Otton (chairman), Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Aussie barrister and IOC member Malcolm Holmes QC were free to ask what they wanted to whom they wanted and set their own terms of reference which the UCI agreed to. At which point they and their legal team went off to ask USADA and WADA for evidence and help. Which, perhaps surprisingly, was not forthcoming. Not from either party and not from any of the riders they contacted “many of whom failed to respond at all”.

Why not? What was WADA’s problem? Why were USADA upset with the Independent trio of truth seekers?
It wasn’t that, rather, those two bodies insisted that it was essential there was an element of Truth and Reconciliation involved in the process, otherwise the report would come up short, with riders and other witnesses refusing to come forward. And, unless there was a Truth and Reconciliation component in the Independent Commission’s report, neither party was willing to participate. The UCI’s trio bought into the idea of Truth and Reconciliation, but the UCI wasn’t so keen.

So the UCI refused to get involved with Truth and Reconciliation?
Yes. And no. The UCI is funding the whole process and says it can’t afford an open-ended Commission which includes a Truth and Reconciliation element. “We’re not as rich as FIFA,” noted UCI president Pat McQuaid, which is true. The UCI is in favour of a new, separate Truth and Reconciliation Commission – working with WADA and other anti-doping agencies – so long as it is part-funded by WADA. The UCI said it wanted a swift result on the USADA accusations and the prospect of a long, complicated and expensive Truth and Reconciliation element would make that impossible. USADA reasoned report first, Truth and Reconciliation later.

So what’s going to happen about the UCI IC report into the USADA accusations?
Ah, yes. The UCI legal team is going to speak to the WADA and USADA legal eagles to try to come up with a compromise this week and, in the meantime, has handed over 16 lever arch files of evidence to the UCI IC trio to examine in the hope that it can come to a conclusion over the USADA Reasoned Report accusations. Given that Lance Armstrong has told the world via Oprah that the UCI wasn’t involved in any cover-ups, you rather imagine that will help pull the curtain down on this, Act I. All of which would clear the way for Act II, in which WADA and the UCI and the rest come up with an amnesty format and riders and managers can talk freely, will – please god – put an end to Generation EPO.

Yes, yes, that’s great, but what happens next? As in, right now?
Well, the barristers and QCs and the rest all get to earn more cash; McQuaid talks to WADA president John Fahey this weekend, they come up with a workable amnesty plan and we meet again on January 31 to see if we really will get a lid put on Act I – the UCI IC report into USADA allegations, by June. I bet you can hardly wait…

Related links

WADA turns back on UCI Independent Commission

WADA chief expresses concerns over UCI independent commission

Tanni Grey-Thompson named in UCI independent commission panel

UCI details independent review

USADA Armstrong doping report in brief

UCI responds to USADA Armstrong doping evidence

USADA publishes details of Armstrong doping case file

  • ian franklin

    Why do otherwise interesting articles have to be in a question and answer format. Makes it difficult to read and is also very childish. But I agree with many people who feel that the implications of the word ‘independent’ are just being realised by the UCI hierarchy and the seat is getting a bit hot. Vacate it now Pat!

  • Kenny Pryde

    While it’s clear to everyone that the UCI didn’t cover itself in glory in the past 20 years over its approach to Generation EPO – and this looks like a mess (which it is) – I don’t think there’s any sense in which the UCI thinks its going to ‘get away’ with anything.

    The UCI position was – this is expensive, WADA and USADA aren’t going to get involved without a Truth and Reconciliation element, so let’s bin this and set up a WADA-approved Truth & Reconciliation process during which whatever the UCI was involved with will emerge. I didn’t get the impression the UCI was running scared.

    I was a bit disappointed in the Independent Commission members to be honest. The chairman seemed to be struggling to understand that a doping amnesty could only be sanctioned by Wada, not the UCI and the Aussie QC Malcolm Holmes (said by some to be a stooge of President McQuaid) was aggressive to the point of having to wind his neck in with the UCI’s leading council, Mr Mill.

    I suspect the UCI thought USADA and WADA would cooperate with the Indie Commission, gather evidence that would come up with a judgement in short order. Now that it’s being dragged out (and now that Lance Armstrong has said that the UCI was not involved in a cover-up on a non-existant positive) you could argue that a more wide ranging Truth & Reconciliation Procedure makes this UCI IC redundant. The truth will come out. Just not in June…

  • David E

    “The UCI is funding the whole process and says it can’t afford an open-ended Commission which includes a Truth and Reconciliation element. “We’re not as rich as FIFA,” noted UCI president Pat McQuaid”

    – that’s ok, they could always ask Lance for another donation!

  • barry

    Were there any people who actually thought that Pat would allow an investigation into himself and UCI..
    All the people like Cookson who support him should resign !!

  • Dr John Beaven

    Regarding tackling doping the UCI have just rendered themselves utterly superfluous. Perhaps the Swiss authorities should now be asked to investigate the UCI with in full open inquiry?

  • stuart stanton

    Come off it…..they’ve had since 1998 do you honestly think the UCI are going to play ball this time around? .

  • Colnago dave

    What a bunch of tosspots the UCI are, lets f*** about and not address the problem, sounds like time for Pat to announce that the UCI will only allow black shoes in the peleton or some othe trivia like that.
    Do we really need the UCI ? I wonder what would happen if we all refused to join the national bodies like the BCF, no funds no UCI , if only !!