Cookson promises transparency


Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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UCI president Brian Cookson has promised there will be no FIFA-style wrangling over the publication of a report into the investigation into past doping and allegations the world governing body was complicit.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission was established to investigate if the UCI was complicit in wrongdoing, particularly concerning allegations it helped to cover up use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The CIRC will report its findings to the UCI by the end of this month and, although there may be redactions, Cookson has promised the publish the document in full and that there will be none of the arguments which have taken place surrounding the report into the World Cup bidding process in football.

“We will publish the report that is given to us by CIRC,” said Cookson, who was speaking at the Track World Championships in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, near Paris.

“We’re not going to get into a FIFA-type situation of arguing about the report.

“If they want to redact anything, they can redact it. They may well give us some unredacted information as well, but the report that they give us will be the report that they say is able to go into the public domain.

“I think there will be a lot of uncomfortable reading in there. We should all prepare ourselves for that.”

The independence of CIRC means Cookson is not aware of the evidence gathered by the three-man commission, which is headed by Switzerland’s former state prosecutor Dick Marty.

Lance Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, has given evidence to CIRC and has been critical of the first 18 months of Cookson’s presidency.

The Briton, who succeeded Pat McQuaid as president in September 2013, said: “I don’t get too worried about what Lance Armstrong might or might not say about me. He’s entitled to his opinion.

“I know that Lance has talked to the commission because his lawyers announced it and he himself said it.

“Lance Armstrong always has an agenda and I don’t want to say any more until we see what he’s said to the commission.

“I don’t know anybody else who has talked to the commission apart from one or two individuals that have come up to me and told me that they have.”

One of those individuals is Dr Mario Zarzoli, the scientific advisor and UCI doctor, after allegations arose from the anti-doping investigation into Dr Geert Leinders.

Leinders has been banned for life for his role in systematic doping at the Dutch Rabobank team.

“Mario has given evidence to CIRC,” Cookson added.

“We have conducted an internal inquiry into the allegations and passed that information to the CIRC as well.

“Mario has voluntarily agreed to stand back from any involvement in anti-doping.

“He’s not working in the UCI office and he’s not working on anti-doping but he is still employed by the UCI.”

Those who have given evidence to CIRC should come to light when the report is published.

“We can probably draw some conclusions from lack of contribution, as much as we can draw conclusions from positive contributions to the process,” Cookson said.

Cookson is uncertain if McQuaid, UCI president from 2005 to 2013, or Hein Verbruggen, the Irishman’s predecessor, have come forward to CIRC.

Both are key figures, but McQuaid refused to reveal if he had given evidence when approached by Press Association Sport.

“Whether either of them have spoken to CIRC, I don’t know,” Cookson said.

McQuaid recently labelled Armstrong a scapegoat, having, in August 2012 during his presidency, said the American had “no place in cycling”.

“I think it was oddly contradictory, but I’m not going to say any more about Pat,” Cookson added.

Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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