McQuaid "may have wavered" over doping, ex-UCI doping chief reveals
Friday, 19 October 2012
October 19 - Anne Gripper, the woman who ran the anti-doping unit in the International Cycling Union (UCI) between 2006 and 2010 says the UCI President, Pat McQuaid, "may have wavered" in his attitude to doping, and that he and the UCI should be doing more to combat the problem.
Gripper, who left the UCI and returned to her native Australia two years ago, told The Melbourne Age: "The UCI may have failed to take some actions that we should have taken at the time but since 2006 we have been really committed to this issue."
But asked if she felt McQuaid, who has come under immense pressure in the wake of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) report into serial doping committed by seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team in the late 1990s and early 2000s, faced a limited future at the UCI, she responded: "I don't know...I know his commitment to this was very strong while I was there.
"It may have wavered a bit.
"I heard Pat say the other night: We test and test and test as much as we can and send all the samples to the labs and that's all we can do.
"Well it's not, Pat, there's a lot more that can be done.
"It's not just about testing because we know in many ways testing is the most ineffective way of eliminating doping...there are so many more things...the UCI can do.
"The issue for the UCI is communication.
"It is time to stand up and acknowledge some of the past."
Gripper added that Armstrong should not have been allowed to make his comeback at the 2009 Tour Down Under, as he had not served out his full six months' notice for a return, which was part of the UCI's 2004 anti-doping regulations.
Armstrong's notice meant he was not eligible to race again until February 1, 2009, but he was allowed to start the race on January 20 after the UCI waived the 13-day difference, citing "progress made in its anti-doping programme since 2004" and more diligent drug testing.
But Gripper told the Age: "I have always said that Armstrong's influence was a danger in the sport.
"He was allowed to ride in the 2009 Tour Down Under, he shouldn't have been.
"Once again, for Lance, special consideration was provided.
"The justification was that [former South Australia Premier] Mike Rann and [race director] Mike Turtur had announced to the whole people of South Australia that Lance was going to be there.
"For the UCI to say: Sorry, he can't, would have appeared churlish and mean-spirited and really what difference does 13 days make?
"For me it was a case of, well, sure, 13 days may not make a lot of practical difference, but the perception of once again rules being different for Lance than other riders shows his influence was so great he basically told the sport how to administer its rules."
Meanwhile, the UCI's Honorary President Hein Verbruggen, who was President during the late 1990s and early 2000s, has suggested that the sport's governing body is likely to issue its response to the USADA report "towards the end of next week".
The UCI has until October 31 to decide whether to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Johan Bruyneel (pictured above, left), who was team director of the US Postal team during the Armstrong era, criticised USADA as he continues to protest his innocence and fight charges.
"While I am still stunned that USADA chose to breach the confidentiality of the proceedings it initiated against me, I shall nevertheless not allow myself to be reduced to such tactics," Bruyneel wrote on his website.
"In response to recent speculation, I will continue to be involved in legal proceedings relating to USADA's proposed charges as long as I believe that I am still able to receive a fair hearing and that my defence has not been permanently prejudiced by USADA's act.
"However, rest assured that the time will come when I will share with you a balanced account of events."
Bruyneel left his role as general manager of the RadioShack Nissan Trek team by mutual agreement in the wake of the publication of the USADA report.