By Shane Stokes
WADA chief Dick Pound and the UCI will seek to mend bridges when the latter visits the cycling body's headquarters in Aigle on Wednesday.
The WADA chief has been outspoken against doping in cycling since taking up the position in 1999, going as far as to accuse the UCI of complacency in an interview with the Guardian newspaper in October. "Cheating goes on under the supposedly watchful eyes of cycling officials, who loudly proclaim that their sport is drug-free and committed to remaining so," he said then. "Based on performance, they should not be allowed outdoors without white canes and seeing-eye dogs."
Pound and the UCI president at that time, Hein Verbruggen, had previously been described as friends but their relationship became increasingly tense in the final months of Verbruggen's presidency. However the two spoke at the Winter Olympics in Torino and there Verbruggen extended an invitation for Pound to visit the UCI in Aigle and see first hand the organisation's anti-doping measures.
It is expected that the WADA chief will spend time speaking to UCI medical officers, as well as discussing the issue with Verbruggen and his successor Pat McQuaid.
Speaking to Cyclingnews two weeks ago, McQuaid said that he hoped the meeting would be a productive one. "We feel that we probably do the biggest job of any international Federation in that [anti-doping] fight, but he has made public statements contrary to that. So he is coming to Aigle, we will show him around, explain to him what we do, and ask what we can do better, if anything."