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Cookson: Sports that believe they don't have doping problems are in denial

Cycling News
February 7, 13:38,
February 7, 12:39
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 7, 2014
UCI president Brian Cookson

UCI president Brian Cookson

  • UCI president Brian Cookson
  • Lance Armstrong liked to control the media

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Still hopes Armstrong will come forward

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald the UCI president Brian Cookson has spoken out against sports that have failed to address issues over doping. "There's sports that have a doping problem and are trying to do something about it. Then there are sports that have a doping problem and are in denial about it."

Cookson thinks that the UCI are the leaders amongst sports that have a doping problem but are trying to do something about it. "There is doping, there is cheating, in every sport. If you're in sport and you say you don't have a doping problem, well, you're in denial, I'm afraid, my friend.''

Cookson was elected president of the UCI in September, taking over that role from Pat McQuaid. Since September the UCI Management Committee has allocated 3 million euro for the Cycling Independent Reform Commission.

The Briton feels that other sports will have to follow the same path cycling has now taken. "The kind of trouble that we're going through now, other sports are going to have to go through. They might not think it, but they are,"

The investigation into its own past may have serious ramifications, Cookson admits. "If they [the allegations of cheating and fraud by UCI] prove to be true, the ramifications for those involved are potentially quite serious. We will pass it on to the relevant authorities if there's been fraud, and if there's been collusion that's illegal in terms of criminal law or civil law."

One of the CIRC's goals is to make full cooperation in the investigation by (former) riders easier. Just after last year's Tour de France Stuart O'Grady announced his retirement. He was retroactively tested and flagged a positive test in the 1998 Tour de France. O'Grady was adamant that he only using banned substances once. 

"I acknowledge what he's done and I understand the difficulties that he's in," Cookson said. "But I'll encourage him to come forward and speak to the commission and tell everything that he knows about everything, including his own career."

The UCI approved reduced sentences for those who cooperate with CIRC. Cookson repeated that he hopes that Lance Armstrong will come forward and tell everything he knows.  "The damage to his reputation is eating him, I think, but just as much the fact that he wants to compete in masters triathlons." 

"I think he's probably sitting at home pretty bruised and thinking, 'Well, you know, I was a hero and now I'm not'. That's the lesson I think the world should learn from Lance Armstrong."

Armstrong wrote in an email to Cyclingnews in January that he had not been contacted. The former seven-times Tour de France winner still plans on cooperating. "My position remains unchanged. I plan on cooperating openly & honestly w/ ANY UCI commission that contacts me," he wrote on his Twitter page.



Truelionking 6 months ago
Armstrong won't "Come in From the Cold"...Because Himself and USADA headbutted and neither can back down for fear of los"n face...Each with there own agenda...Now I got the ball rolling Come and get it !
RobbieCanuck 6 months ago
This is inconsistent with the facts. USADA conducted its investigation and got the "dope|" on Armstrong. They then invited him to come in and disclose all. Armstrong refused. USADA then issued the Reasoned Decision and Armstrong lost all face, credibility and titles. This is hardly USADA 'back down for fear of los'n face..."
Max Headwind 6 months ago
Robbie great post. The unspoken goal of the Grand Jury and USADA investigation was to link Corporate Multinationals to fixing sporting events through doping and other means to insure victory so their athletes can sell there products. The winners make their sponsors billions.This is why the enormous pressure has been placed on Lance. And why he will never come clean.
TheBean 6 months ago
LA just might come clean after all of his other legal battles are finalized.
shapiro 6 months ago
Spot on Cookie boy! FIFA have probably got more chickens than any that will eventually come home to roost.
HeadPack 6 months ago
I doubt that. There is way too much money involved, and the fans don't seem to care. Football/soccer is pure show-biz with souped-up actors. Guess not dissimilar to tennis.
Anonymous 6 months ago
It's not that they dont care. they think it's the only sport where there isn't doping. lol
bianchi1885 6 months ago
Chrono 6 months ago
Yeah there as some big revelations, biggest I think Juventus in the mid 90s when they were the top European team & it came out that they had a solid doping regime. Made very little impact as a news story compared to what it should have in its implications. Tob cycling even at its worst is comparatively clean when you look at football/soccer just on the financial side alone. A twisted world.
boombastic 6 months ago
this speech cookson should dedicate cyclingnews forum users. there is still doping issue in cycling.
Stalky 6 months ago
One could draw the logical conclusion that Cookson is making an arbitrary statement in this article. Give us your reasons for saying such things, and I'd be more inclined to listen.
Karl Von Drais 6 months ago
You need him to explain the statement that doping exists in all sports?
two20john 6 months ago
The reason cycling bureaucracy is always saying "we're doing the most" is because cycling is the most tainted. I love the sport but I'm afraid its true. Maybe cross country skiing or biathlon would be close, but we are the Kings of Doping.
dolande 6 months ago
Do you have a crystal ball?
DirtyWorks 6 months ago
Maybe a better way to say it is that cycling generates quite a bit of doping controversy versus other sports? Track and Field being an excellent example of a sport with an enormous amount of doping and yet very little controversy. If you look at WADA's reports, other sports generate many positives per tests collected, but apparently don't generate the controversy that cyclists/cycling does. He's right. Let's hope Cookson is willing and able to clean up the federation.
Gary333 6 months ago
I think American Football is very tainted. But the money it generates is so huge no one on either side wants to unlatch from that teat. So they sweep it under the rung busting a few here and there but turning the blind eye as players continue to get bigger and faster, but at the same time, continue to get injured in ways not seen before where your muscles grow at a faster rate than the tendons can handle. So you're seeing more abdominal, bicep/tricep, calf and thigh injuries where the muscles tear apart from tendons and bones. And injuries to the ACL, MCL, etc are becoming more common place. I'm afraid it'll take several deaths or horrid injuries to occur before the NFL really opens their eyes to doping.
Mike Cross 6 months ago
Could not USADA force the issue by testing and telling or has the NFL got some sort of immunity and is not an IOC sport?
jabike 6 months ago
No, not under USADA's jurisdiction, neither is MLB or the NBA. NBA and MLB can fall under their testing pool if they actually compete in interntational competition. The US basketball team actually does fall under their testing, but they typically can only test outside the NBA season the players union have their own protocol that they've approved. NFL technically not an international sport. The USADA guy I believe gave testimony regarding ARod's case but they did not do the actual testing.
Justin O'Pinion 6 months ago
I'd say that track and field might give cycling a run for its (doping) money.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Road cycling is one of the cleanest sports. Probably hard to believe for most of you but were involve in the past but now things are different. And the truth is even back then football was much dirty than cycling. Nowadays cycling is the most controlled sport wereas football there is basically no control whatsoever
RobbieCanuck 6 months ago
The refreshing thing about Cookson is he is not naïve or ignorant about doping in cycling and that it continues to be a problem. He continues to actively fight it and go so far to investigate the UCI's massive failures under Verbruggen and McQuaid, who were/are the proverbial ostriches with their heads in the sand and who continue to deny their reckless indifference to obvious doping. The UCI is much better off under Cookson.
larrybee 6 months ago
What Cookson says echoes Verbruggens "we are the sport doing the most to fight doping". It's nonsense to bring other sports into the discussion as cycling is steeped in dope problems going into third decade
roadfreak44 6 months ago
right larrybee!!! no doping in baseball or soccer, basketball or football...those muscles are all fro m eating wheaties...
TheBean 6 months ago
Sarcasm is a tool of the weak-witted.