The CIRC Report

The UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission (“CIRC”) has published its report. It’s not a gripping read, this is a report on the corporate policy of institution a decade ago. But buried in the 228 pages are revelations, there is strong criticism of those running the UCI in the past and it puts the spotlight back on contemporary doping practices.

To reduce it to one sentence the report says the UCI was lax for many years but believes doping continues today, albeit on a reduced scale and the UCI needs to implement anti-doping and governance reforms. Let’s take a closer look.

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The UCI, Lance Armstrong and the 2001 “suspicious test”

On his way to winning the Tour of Switzerland in 2001, Lance Armstrong underwent several anti-doping controls. On two occasions in this race Armstrong’s samples were suspicious with data suggesting the strong probability of EPO use but crucially not firm enough to launch a formal prosecution.

A major athlete with strong suspicions of heavy doping? You’d think this would have set red lights flashing and alarm bells ringing within the UCI. Did it?

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Sunday Shorts

Mauro Santambrogio

Bad weather – How Froome’s Knigh-mare scenario in July – McQuaid’s Swiss role – UCI deny Verbruggen’s “never, never, never” quote – Tour du Farce – Chamorro, another Colombian to remember – California Coverage

The 2013 Giro’s official song Mezza Estate (“midsummer”) is feeling like a cruel joke with snowploughs working overtime to keep the roads open. Why is it raining so much in the Giro? Is Mother Nature punishing RCS for moving the “Race of the Falling Leaves” to September, ruining Il Lombardia’s autumnal feel? Maybe it’s all in the name, the Giro’s boss is Michele Acqua-rone after all.

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Hein Verbruggen’s Olympic Rant

Hein Verbruggen

The UCI’s Honorary President Hein Verbruggen delivered a letter to the members of the International Olympic Committee’s 15 member board yesterday, a copy of which has been obtained by

Verbruggen denies involvement in any cover-up involving Lance Armstrong and doping although the explanations furnished are, as we’ll explore, not exactly firm arguments. But above all the letter is an extraordinary attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency, both in substance and tone.

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Lance Armstrong’s Road to Redemption

Armstrong Oprah Winfrey

Lance Armstrong to confess to doping? Thanks to USADA there’s already hundreds of pages of evidence. At first the Oprah Winfrey interview looked like a celebrity stunt. Only the story now seems to be going a step further with reports that Armstrong will testify against senior UCI officials, shifting the story away from sofa interview into the saddle of pro cycling.

But the road to redemption will make riding seven Tours look easy. For starters if he wants to reduce his ban, getting it shorter than eight years looks tough and that’s just confronting the textual certainty of the WADA Code. Changing public opinion is altogether different.

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How to Replace Pat McQuaid

UCI Pat McQuaid

Recently the appearance UCI President Pat McQuaid at a race has coincided with boos from the crowd. Perhaps it could be said the Dutch fans last Sunday were slightly annoyed at a Belgian victory and were taunting Gilbert. But this can’t explain the noise when McQuaid appeared at the Olympics.

Sadly Pat McQuaid has not got a great reputation. Some of it’s bad PR but there are some fundamental concerns too. Take your pick from the chaos in the sport, murky dealings, bizarre public statements and much more and, rightly or wrongly, the President takes the heat.

Not many are making the case for the defence, least of all the UCI. For what it’s worth, I tend to think McQuaid’s got a mixed record. Let’s not forget he’s overseen the introduction of the toughest anti-doping rules, that the sport is spreading around the world too. Although before you leap the comments, yes the anti-doping techniques had to be introduced because cycling has resembled Lord of the Flies on wheels. And if globalisation of cycling is great, the way the UCI is handling it raises a lot of questions yet we can’t get answers. But there’s a lot of behind the scenes activity where his chatty ways can work wonders.

But if you wanted to replace the UCI President how do you do it? What’s the mechanism and who’s involved? People often ask so here’s the explainer.

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Paul Kimmage Defence Fund Passes $20,000

Covering the malfunctions of cycling’s governing body is like riding into a headwind. It is tiring, progress is slow and sometimes you’d much rather turn around and go the other way. But the story of the UCI suing Paul Kimmage matters because it’s becoming more than a legal dispute.

With the right defence – aided by new revelations in print – it is possible Kimmage could win case. But sadly the UCI is fast-approaching a point where it will lose no matter what the court verdict is because the case looks selective and vindictive. But there’s still time to fix this.

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Lance Armstrong’s Lawsuit Dismissed

Judge Sam Sparks

Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit has been dismissed by a judge in Texas. The case saw Lance Armstrong challenge the US Anti-Doping Agency, claiming they could not have jurisdiction over him and therefore any case against him was invalid.

Judge Sam Sparks ruled that whilst USADA’s charging letter was “woefully inadequate”, there was sufficient grounds to expect a just arbitration hearing given the arbitration panel would follow a due process and besides, Armstrong can always appeal there verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

I don’t want to give a running commentary of this case as it’s seemingly never-ending saga. But today is the equivalent of a mountain stage in the stage race that is the USADA investigation and so it’s worth checking the standings.

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