Brian Cookson says he agrees with jail terms for drug cheats

UCI president Brian Cookson agrees with the draft bill in Germany that could see dopers sent to jail, and again claims Lance Armstrong's ban could be reduced.

Brian Cookson, Tour of Beijing 2013

After WADA president Sir Craig Reedie claimed his organisation did not agree with jailing dopers, his UCI counterpart Brian Cookson said he was in favour of the draft bill in Germany.

As CW reported earlier, Reedie believes dopers should be sanctioned within the rules of their sport, but Cookson insists doping should be treated as a criminal offence and claims cycling has made it harder for dopers to prosper.

“Doping is a criminal offense, and so you should pursue and punish it harshly,” he told Spanish newspaper AS. “With the new WADA code, penalties of four years for the first positive have been established.

“I believe with conviction that our sport is one of the cleanest. And, of course, we have not stopped investigating - we have the biological passport, checks in and out of competition, and reanalysis of these and detection methods have evolved in recent years to catch liars.

“It is very difficult to cheat the system, but cheaters are still striving to try.”

Cookson also announced that the UCI’s ‘Truth Commission’ could publish the results of its research in by March 2015.

The former British Cycling president again admitted that Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban could be reduced if the evidence he provides to the independent inquiry is ‘helpful’, having previously said there may be a route to redemption for the banned rider.

“I do not know what conclusions will be drawn [from the commission], though I would draw a line when the results are known,” he said. “Maybe in the first third of 2015 the outcome of this research will be known.

“Lance Armstrong is banned for life, but I would find what he has to say very interesting and it would be a key contribution [to the investigation]. He talked with the panel and will do so again. If it helps, his suspension could decrease.”

Source: AS

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.