September 26 - South African Dr. George Ruijsch Van Dugteren has been chosen to lead the new Cycling Anti-doping Foundation (CADF) independent Board, it was announced here today.
But his position could be shortlived if Britain's Brian Cookson defeats Ireland's Pat McQuaid in the election for the International Cycling Union (UCI) Presidency here tomorrow.
Cookson has pledged to set up a new anti-doping body that will be totally independent of the UCI, even though he was part of the ruling Management Committee that today approved Van Dugteren's appointment.
Francesca Rossi, director of the CADF, has always maintained that her organisation operates totally free of interference from the UCI but doubts have been cast over its independence because it is based in the Swiss headquarters of the world governing body in Aigle.
Van Dugteren, President of the International Fencing Federation's (FIE) Anti-Doping Commission, will be joined on the new Board by two legal experts in Swiss law and anti-doping/results management, Maitre Christophe Misteli and Thomas Capdevielle from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"The new Board does not include any members of the UCI senior management, further strengthening its independence from cycling's governing body," said Rossi.
"I am particularly delighted that Dr George Ruijsch will be chairing the new Foundation Board of the CADF.
"Dr Ruijsch is someone with enormous experience in the field of anti-doping, invaluable to the CADF.
"He will be accompanied in this role by an internationally recognised and eminent group of experts who will constitute the new Board."
Rossi also announced that the CADF has been awarded an ISO certification from an independent standards body for all its activities.
The ISO 9001:2008 certification recognises the high quality of CADF's anti-doping activities in the areas of test planning, registered testing pool, and sample collection.
Rossi also confirmed that the supervision of the athletes' biological programme remains outsourced to the Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) in Lausanne.
The result of tomorrow's election, which will take place at the Salone del Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's town hall built in 1494 and whose walls were originally painted by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, could hinge on whether McQuaid has done enough to convince the 42 voting delegates that he is seriously tackling cycling's doping problems in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.
Cookson remains the heavy favourite to defeat McQuaid, who has led the UCI since 2005, and is quoted by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power at 1.57 with his rival at 2.25.
But most experts believe that it remains too close to call, despite Cookson having claimed last week that he was "confident that I will get a vote that is at least in the high 20s".
Most people believe the key is whether Europe's delegates follow the mandate they were given earlier this month to vote for Cookson.
They have 14 of the 42 votes and if they all backed Cookson as they are supposed too it would take him a long way towards securing the 22 he needs to win.
But, with McQuaid's camp believing that up to five votes could come his way from Europe and with him remaining strong in Africa and Asia, who have seven and nine votes respectively, they remain optimistic that he will spring a surprise and retain his position.
McQuaid faced similar claims that he would not win when he first stood for election to replace Hein Verbruggen in 2005 and that the delegates were behind Spain's Gregorio Moreno because of a row that the Irishman was involved in with the Grand Tours at the time.
But McQuaid ended up winning by 31 votes to 11, which he hopes will be a portent of what happens tomorrow.
Yet, even if McQuaid does win, that might not be the end of the matter with the threat of Cookson and his supporters, including Russian oligrach Igor Makarov, taking their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over claims that their rival does not have a valid nomination after Cycling Ireland and the Swiss Cycling Federation both withdrew their original backing.
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