Last week, the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) officially drove the last nail into the coffin of Lance Armstrong’s career, accepting the sanctions brought against the former Tour champ by the USADA.
But what followed was, perhaps, more interesting—and more important to the future of cycling. WADA used the spotlight to call for a “genuine” investigation into the UCI and its role during Lance’s reign, referencing questions that had arisen after the USADA’s 202-page Reasoned Decision accused the French organization of covering up positive drug tests and accepting more than $100,000 in unethical donations from the Texan rider.
In a statement, WADA President John Fahey said:
This is not a situation in which just because the athlete did not return a positive test there was nothing more the governing body of cycling could do. It has taken a major effort and undertaking from a national anti-doping organization to gather the compelling evidence following allegations raised by Floyd Landis in 2010….
WADA now awaits with considerable interest the details of the independent inquiry that is proposed, including its composition and terms of reference. It is important that there now be genuine independence and a complete examination of the scenario, with a panel that has full powers of inquiry and access to all required evidence and information. Only with the necessary independence and terms of reference will the inquiry be able to properly address the systemic culture of doping that was allowed to develop in cycling during this time.
In response, on Wednesday, the UCI turned to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to help select a team of three investigators to start on the case. CAS President and Australian lawyer John Coates promptly named three appropriate individuals: a “respected senior lawyer,” a veteran sports administrator and a forensic accountant—all of whom are “independent of cycling.”
Hoping to restore public confidence in his organization and in the sport of cycling as a whole, UCI President Pat McQuaid thanked the CAS for their recommendations and stated that the organization will “follow them to the letter.”
The report—and its recommendations for the UCI—is due on June 1.