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Matt White (left) chats with Shayne Bannan in Melbourne.
Team begins external review led by former WADA director
Orica-GreenEdge has announced the immediate dismissal of sports director Matt White, meantime an external review into the team and its practices will be led by experienced anti-doping expert, Nicki Vance.
White was identified as Rider 9 in Floyd Landis' evidence in USADA's Reasoned Decision documentation to the UCI. On October 13, White stood down from his role with Orica-GreenEdge and confessed to his own involvement in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." Four days later he was sacked from his role with Cycling Australia where he was men's professional road co-ordinator.
Orica-GreenEdge is yet to hear the results of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into White however it was deemed following conversations with the former US Postal rider that he would leave the team.
"Cycling must take the opportunity now to make the right decisions for the future of the sport as a whole," said the team's general manager, Shayne Bannan. "We want to contribute to this process and we want to involve both the teams and the UCI. The teams will meet with the UCI in the beginning of December and we are fully committed to participate actively in real and long-term solutions for the sport. We're a new team in the sport and it's important to us to show initiative for something so fundamental for cycling."
The team's owner, Gerry Ryan said that being a "clean team" was key to Orica-GreenEdge's foundations.
"To maintain public confidence in our strict adherence to this principle OGE has appointed an eminent and independent external expert to audit the rigour and effectiveness of the team's anti-doping policies and procedures."
The team will now undertake "a full external expert review of its policies and procedures and a pro-active review of all riders and team members in light of recent disclosures regarding past practices in the sport," run by Vance. The Sydney-based anti-doping consultant was the first full-time drug testing officer at the Australian Sports Drug Agency (now ASADA) when it was launched in 1989 and was the program manager for doping control at the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2000. She is also a former director of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The team says that the objectives of the 'Vance Review' are clear.
1. Confirm that Orica-GreenEdge's anti-doping policies, protocols and recruitment procedures are world's best practice and are being implemented without exception; and
2. Recommend and oversee the implementation of any necessary enhancements.
Orica-GreenEdge also explained that the review will be undertaken in consultation with the relevant authorities and that any new evidence which comes to light will be considered.
"Professional cycling is at a crossroads," said Ryan. "The future of the sport is being determined by what we do today. Orica-GreenEdge will not step back from taking any necessary decision to protect the integrity of the sport and the team and to restore the confidence of cycling fans around the world."
"It's time to put our values to work," Ryan contined. "Orica-GreenEdge believes a hard-line approach is an essential pre-requisite to continue in the sport with credibility."