After Michael Rasmussen dropped a few people in the hot water (or soup?) with revelations contained in his book (Gul Feber – ‘Yellow Fever’) and during promotional interviews, there was another surge of anger and despair.
Another round of names named, more skeletons falling out of closets, more accusations and confusion about a way forward out of the post USADA-Armstrong fall out. So many issues still remain unresolved.
And yet, for all there was a sense of deja-vu about Rasmussen’s revelations, the one thing that’s different this time around is that there’s a new man at the top of the UCI, President Brian Cookson (as well as a new vice-president and legal counsel).
In other words, there’s new UCI management with less in the way of history and Cookson, in an interview with William Fotheringham in the Guardian, has expressed an interest in breaking the impasse that has left Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel on the outside looking in.
Speaking in the Guardian today (Tuesday 5 November), UCI president Cookson said, “I don’t want to talk about any individual, however significant. There will be an opportunity for anyone who wants to contribute, but it will be on terms dictated by Wada and it will be the same terms and conditions for everyone.”
While on the face of it that seems like ‘business as usual’ it actually appears to open a door for the demonised duo who both feel that they have been singled out for exceptional punishment – there were no deals offered to Armstrong by USADA’s boss Travis Tygart who, some suggest, is still trying to dictate terms to Armstrong and Bruyneel.
When informed of Cookson’s most recent comments, Armstrong replied “That sounds promising, I’m waiting for the call.” So, if the new UCI president is able and Armstrong is willing, what is there to stop a dialogue being opened? Has Tygart still got the UCI on the back foot? The notion that USADA might be dictating terms for a meaningful UCI Truth and Reconciliation process is not a happy one.