GENEVA — The International Cycling Union turned to the Court of Arbitration for Sport Wednesday for help choosing a team investigating the governing body’s links to the Lance Armstrong doping case.
Australian lawyer John Coates, the president of the sports court’s board, has suggested names for a three-member inquiry panel which will soon begin work. “We would like to thank John Coates for his recommendations, which we will follow to the letter,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said in a statement.
The commission will include a “respected senior lawyer,” a forensic accountant and an experienced sports administrator all “independent of cycling,” the embattled governing body said. The UCI said it has already contacted lawyers and sports officials recommended by Coates, who was also a member of the International Olympic Committee executive board. The inquiry is seen as a key stage in restoring the UCI’s damaged credibility following the Armstrong affair. A report and recommendations are due by June 1.
On the panel’s agenda will be accusations that cycling’s leaders covered up suspicious doping tests given by Armstrong during his 1999-2005 run of Tour de France victories, and unethically accepted donations totaling $125,000 from him.The longstanding claims were revisited in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s devastating report last month which detailed massive doping by Armstrong’s teams, but were not directly addressed in a 1,000-page dossier of evidence.
“The purpose of this independent commission is to look into the findings of the USADA report and ultimately to make conclusions and recommendations that will enable the UCI to restore confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body,” said McQuaid, who was elected its president weeks after Armstrong’s record seventh victory.
Hein Verbruggen, McQuaid’s predecessor who remains honorary president, has been the target of severe criticism that a culture of doping allowed Armstrong’s teams to dominate the sport’s greatest event by cheating. The UCI endorsed USADA’s findings last month and stripped Armstrong of all of his race results since August 1998, including the seven Tour titles, and banned him for life.
Landis drops appeal
Disgraced US cyclist Floyd Landis Wednesday dropped an appeal on a suspended sentence given by a French court over a shady espionage operation to hack the computers of an anti-doping laboratory.
Landis and his former trainer Arnie Barker received one-year suspended jail sentences in November 2011 after a French court found them guilty of fraudulently receiving documents from the official LNDD anti-doping agency.
Barker did not appeal but Landis did.
Landis, who tried to clear his name after being stripped of his title as winner of the 2006 Tour de France, had been accused of using a hacker to get documents from the LNDD.
His lawyer Emilie Bailly said Landis had been “ruined by the different legal procedures and does not have the means” to come to France to face the judges at Nanterre, a suburb west of Paris.
He has “always taken an ‘empty chair’ approach,” the French anti-doping agency’s lawyer said, using a French term signifying a boycott.
In the same trial in November last year, the court fined French state energy giant EDF 1.5 million euros ($2 million) for using the consultancy to spy on environmental campaigners Greenpeace. — Agencies