LeMond calls for UCI to be stripped of responsibility for doping at London summit

Sunday, 02 December 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Greg LeMondDecember 2 - Former three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond today called for the International Cycling Union (UCI) to be stripped of its responsibilities for doping in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal. 

The American outlined his plan for the sport's future at the inaugural meeting of the pressure group, Change Cycling Now in London.

"Myself and [former rider] Eric Boyer called for independent doping back in 2008," said LeMond as he addressed the 13 other members of the panel attending the first day of the summit. 

"The Amaury Sports Organisation [operators of the Tour de France] were all for it, but unfortunately, the UCI was not.

"There has to be transparency provided by a third party, no question.

"The UCI should be focused on promoting the sport, not unilaterally policing it.

"Doping, its operation and its sanctions should be the responsibility of a body that is clearly outside of UCI jurisdiction and there has to be a system that looks much more closely at the source of doping and supply rather than just on those who dope.

"At the moment, there is no incentive for riders to confess and reveal what's going on because it's only them who're being punished."

Change Cycling Now summit Day 1 December 2 2012Doping experts, former cyclists and journalists who form Change Cycling Now gathered on the first day of their summit in London

The first address came from blood doping expert, Dr. Michael Ashenden, who worked for the UCI until April.

He outlined the wider issues facing a sport severely damaged by the recent United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report into systematic doping which resulted in a life ban for Armstrong.

"This is not just about Lance Armstrong," said Ashenden, who oversaw the introduction of biological passports to combat blood doping, but who quit the UCI when he was effectively gagged over talking about his findings,

"This is about the whole issue of doping within cycling and the negative impact the UCI's approach has had on its credibility."

An early distraction for the group came, though when Boyer, the former team manager of Cofidis, appeared to question in an interview with a French newspaper whether Jonathan Vaughters was a suitable member of the panel.

The American has confessed to doping while he was a rider and his evidence to USADA helped convict Armstrong.

Vaughters, who is the team manager of Garmin-Sharp, suceeded Boyer in 2009 as the President of the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP) and the Frenchman was quoted as saying he was unhappy that the American had blocked WorldTour teams hiring riders returning from doping suspensions.

Jonathan Vaughters at Change Cycling Now London December 2 2012Self confessed former doper Jonathan Vaughters has settled his dispute with fellow Change Cycling Now member Eric Boyer, it is claimed

But Boyer, who finished fifth in the 1988 Tour de France, claimed that the row was now behind them.

"It is true that in the past we have had our differences, but we now realise we share a common goal in making a better future for cycling and everything is fine," he said.

"We have spoken about the past during the day and are now committed to helping Change Cycling Now force change for the benefit of everyone in the sport.

"We have worked together through the day to accomplish our mutual aims and I look forward to doing so again in the future."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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