Cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has introduced new anti-doping measures in the wake of the report published by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) this week.
The UCI came under criticism in the extensive report for its historic mismanagement of anti-doping procedures as well as allegations of corruption within the organisation. These new measures, it says, are part of it "rebuilding trust in our great sport" and demonstrate that the "UCI is now a very different organisation".
Anti-doping procedures will be tightened up across the board, including working closer with the World Anti-Doping Agency, better checks on the suitability of team personnel, changes to the UCI's 'whistleblower' programme and the introduction of night-time anti-doping tests where deemed necessary.
A framework for the frequent review of anti-doping policy and procedures will also be set up to ensure best practice.
UCI president Brian Cookson said: "I am absolutely determined to use the CIRC’s report to ensure that cycling continues the process of fully regaining the trust of fans, broadcasters and all the riders who compete clean. We value the recommendations of the CIRC and have now established an internal task force to ensure the recommendations are properly followed up ".
Under the new measures, the UCI has said that it will:
- Work to enshrine a fit-and-proper-persons requirement in the team licensing process, focussed on the key roles in the staff, such as sports directors and doctors;
- Work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and other experts to analyse new substances and trends, to assess what should be added to the prohibited or monitored lists;
- Work with WADA to improve the speed of athlete biological passport cases;
- Further build on the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF)’s move towards even higher quality and more targeted approach to anti-doping that reflects rider and discipline risk assessment;
- Work with the world’s leading laboratories to undertake a prevalence study to assess the current situation and compare it with data from previous years across disciplines and nations. This study will assist in targeting and also build a clear picture of how successful anti-doping measures in cycling have been;
- Ensure that the CADF work more closely with civil and criminal authorities and others such as customs through a newly recruited Intelligence Manager, in order to guarantee that information gathered in investigations is shared as effectively as possible;
- Actively pursue the conclusion of sharing agreements with National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) to ensure that we collaborate as closely as possible with others involved in working for a clean sport;
- Re-launch our whistleblower programme, through an independent agency, in support of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code which places a duty on riders and team staff to report any circumstances they become aware of that may constitute an anti-doping rule violation;
- Build on our existing collaboration through WADA with the pharmaceutical industry to monitor new developments and assist in identifying banned substances and methods;
- Work with WADA to support athlete education programmes and ensure that current and former riders play an active part in them;
- Work with the CADF to build a more robust and comprehensive storage and re-testing strategy;
- Encourage the CADF to order night-time testing where they believe it is necessary and proportionate.
The new measures are on top of those that have already been introduced by the UCI since Cookson was elected as UCI president in September 2013.
“These [existing] significant measures, together with the developments I have announced today, show the absolute commitment I and my UCI colleagues have to ensure riders win clean and that the minority who choose to cheat are caught and face severe sanctions after fair and fast disciplinary proceedings in full respect of due process," said Cookson.
"They also demonstrate that the UCI is now a very different organisation compared to even a few years ago and that we make sure lessons are learnt and mistakes not repeated.
"As I predicted, the CIRC report made for uncomfortable reading but it is imperative that we do not shy away from tough decisions. We will continue to focus on rebuilding trust in our great sport that touches the lives of millions of people across the world, and I appeal to everyone in the sport to take their responsibilities at this pivotal moment."
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