x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UCI could still offer Lance Armstrong a reprieve

As the UCI take a 'wait-and-see' approach with Lance Armstrong's case, WADA chief John Fahey backs the USADA's case, and Armstrong's former rivals are indifferent.

John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), backs the USADA case against Lance Armstrong.
John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), backs the USADA case against Lance Armstrong.

 

Union takes 'wait-and-see' approach over USADA move

Despite the USADA's decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles on Friday, the retired cyclist could yet win a reprieve.

Armstrong, who claimed 22 stage wins during his Tour career, has made it clear he does not believes USADA has the jurisdiction to enforce their sanctions as the International Cycling Union (UCI) control drug testing in cycling, although that is clearly not a view shared by the American agency.

The UCI had challenged USADA's jurisdiction and have the option of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ruling on Armstrong and their right to jurisdiction as the world governing body.

However, it stated yesterday it will wait to receive a communication outlining USADA's reasoning for their sanctions before deciding whether to take any action.

The UCI has contended it should have jurisdiction over Armstrong's case as it was responsible for carrying out doping tests while he competed. The UCI could choose to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland against the USADA ruling or to gain jurisdiction over the case.

A statement from the body read: "The UCI notes Lance Armstrong's decision not to proceed to arbitration in the case that USADA has brought against him.

"The UCI recognises that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards and imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognises the World Anti-Doping Code.

"Article 8.3 of the WADC states that where no hearing occurs the Anti-Doping Organisation with results management responsibility shall submit to the parties concerned (Mr Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken. As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision."

John Fahey, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, said Armstrong's decision not to contest the charges was an admission that the allegations "had substance in them".

Fahey said yesterday that he was certain the USADA acted properly in its investigation.

"I am confident and WADA is confident that the USADA acted within the WADA code, and that a court in Texas also decided not to interfere," Fahey said.

"They now have the right to apply a penalty that will be recognised by all WADA code countries around the world ... He had a right to contest the charges. He chose not to. The simple fact is that his refusal to examine the evidence means the charges had substance in them.

"Under the rules, penalties can now be imposed."

As for what his former rivals think, most are not giving the Armstrong case much thought.

Jan Ullrich, who finished runner-up to Lance Armstrong three times in the Tour de France, said he was proud of his second places and indifferent as to whether he will be handed the American’s titles.

“I’ve ended my career and I have always said that I’m proud of my second places,” said the German.

“It doesn’t really bother me that much.”

Another former rival, Filippo Simeoni, said: “It leaves me a bit perplexed, because someone like him, with all the fame and popularity and millions of dollars he has should fight to the end if he’s innocent.

"But I guess he realised it was a useless fight and the evidence USADA had was too great. That entire decade was one big bluff.”

Former teammate Alberto Contador, competing at the Tour of Spain, said: “The truth is I’m not thinking about it.”

Contador himself is only recently returning to the sport after a ban for suspected doping.

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