Monday, September 12, 2005

UCI on Armstrong

The UCI, professional cycling's governing body, today said that it has received no evidence concerning the doping charges that French L'Equip has leveled against Lance Armstrong. The UCI makes plain its displeasure with this incident:
UCI said it was still gathering information and had asked the World Anti-Doping Agency and the French laboratory for more background. It also wanted to know who commissioned the research and who agreed to make it public.

"How could this be done without the riders' consent?" the UCI said.

It also asked WADA to say if it allowed the results to be disseminated, which UCI says is a "breach of WADA's anti-doping code."

"We have substantial concerns about the impact of this matter on the integrity of the overall drug testing regime of the Olympic movement, and in particular the questions it raises over the trustworthiness of some of the sports and political authorities active in the anti-doping fight," the UCI said.

* * *
UCI said it was still "awaiting plausible answers" to its requests to WADA and the laboratory.

"We deplore the fact that the long-established and entrenched confidentiality principle could be violated in such a flagrant way without any respect for fair play and the rider's privacy," it said.

UCI singled out WADA president Dick Pound for making "public statements about the likely guilt of an athlete on the basis of a newspaper article and without all the facts being known."

It also criticized the article in L'Equipe as "targeting a particular athlete."
Unless I'm way off the mark, L'Equip will come to rue its decision mount this investigation and attack. Ever since this story broke I've been at a loss to understand how L'Equip could access the samples and have them tested unbeknownst to either Armstrong or the UCI. The whole thing fails to pass the smell test. At bottom, there is indeed a scandal here. And the scandal is L'Equip and those who are complicit in its witch hunt.

Oh well, at least some good has come of this mess. It continues to look as though Lance may be in Strasbourg at the beginning of next July . . . and not as a commentator.