I don’t know exactly where we are with cases but having said that there was a discussion that did take place in this building about a number of athletes that are being studied because of their parameter data by the experts because we think that there should be cases opened against them. We have to wait for the process to happen and I can’t tell when or if that will happen, the decision hasn’t been made yet. I can’t say if it’s one, two or three athletes. It’s all at a late process but I don’t know exactly where. It could be weeks or days.
That’s UCI President Pat McQuaid speaking to cyclingnews.com. What is going on?
We have the President who does not know “where we are with cases” but confident enough to brief the media that “cases should be opened“, to say he believes some riders have been doping. Then we hear that we have to “wait for the process to happen” and he doesn’t know if this will go ahead.
In other words there’s a possibility of bringing cases based on suspicious bio-passport data but nothing is certain. This is big news because sadly doping stories can bury the sport under more bad headlines. Now it’s good the UCI is nailing the cheats but what if this comes to nothing and the full process discovers there’s not enough to prosecute on?
It could well be that the UCI has a water-tight case against riders but surely the sport’s top official should wait until there is official news before commenting? These matters are very serious risk is that now people begin to speculate. Which rider was “ill” and stopped racing for a while? Which team is having troubles with its licence for 2012? Does it mean those “no doping detected” press releases were now wrong? Which riders are forced to deny investigations? All this uncertainty just makes for trouble.
It could be that the news was about to leak so McQuaid decided to get the message out himself ahead of any damaging leaks. But “spiking” a leak normally means you put out the facts so that the leak is neutralised. You could do this by suddenly releasing all the info and suspending the rider(s) in question or calm things by saying something like “we are constantly reviewing the data and running examples by our experts. Any anomalies will be dealt with under due process“.
Indeed this is not the first time the UCI gives a running commentary. A few months ago McQuaid told cyclingnews.com that “there could be discussions going on for six, seven, eight, nine or ten people all at once at on an ongoing basis” and mentioned the practice of micro-dosing.
The sport is in a fragile state and the UCI President isn’t helping today. When something as serious as doping is involved, news has to be via official channels only. The bio-passport is a very useful tool and if we’re close to catching more riders, great. But speculating aloud in the media doesn’t help anyone, worse McQuaid himself doesn’t seem to know where the matter is at yet feels the need to talk about it. The only certainty today is confusion from the UCI.