Lance Armstrong Hopes for Dope-Free Future in Cycling Amid Latest Doping Report

March 9, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

Cycling has not turned a corner and is still grappling with the scourge of doping, according to a report by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC).

Also, former UCI presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid were criticised for overseeing a doping culture that evolved in the 1990s and 2000s in the document published on Sunday.

It was particularly scathing on cycling’s governing body for how they handled the allegations surrounding Lance Armstrong – who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban from cycling in 2012, before eventually admitting to systematic doping in January 2013 having been dropped by his sponsors.

“UCI exempted Lance Armstrong from rules, failed to target test him despite the suspicions, and publicly supported him against allegations of doping, even as late as 2012,” the report said.

In a statement the American said; “I am deeply sorry for many things I have done. However, it is my hope that revealing the truth will lead to a bright, dope-free future for the sport I love,” he said in a statement.

The CIRC was commissioned to do the report by current UCI president Brian Cookson and was written over a 13 month period, interviewing 174 people – former and current riders, doctors and many others involved in the sport.

One former rider alleged in the 227-page document that 90 per cent of today’s peloton were still doping.

“It is commonly held that it is much easier today to compete as a clean athlete competitively,” the report concludes.

“Whether this change amounts to a ‘change in doping culture’ as submitted frequently seems questionable. In interviews with riders and athlete support personnel it appeared to the CIRC that the basic problem was that athletes would go to the limit of what is detectable by the laboratories and this has not changed.”

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who initially charged Armstrong for using performance enhancing drugs in in 2012, were satisfied with Sunday’s news.

“The report confirms that, for more than a decade, UCI leaders treated riders and teams unequally — allowing some to be above the rules,” USADA Chief Executive Travis T. Tygart said.

“The UCI’s favouritism and intentional failure to enforce the anti-doping rules offends the principles of fair play and is contrary to the values on which true sport is based.”

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