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UCI president Brian Cookson
Investigation into doping could last a year
The UCI have announced the name of the independent commission into cycling’s doping era and the three people that will lead it.
Formerly dubbed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, UCI president Brian Cookson decided against the name, saying that it wasn’t “quite appropriate” due to is links to the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. It will now be known as the Cycling Independent Reform Commission.
“This Commission will investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past –allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport” said Cookson in a UCI press release.
“Their work will also be focused on understanding what went so wrong in our sport and they will make recommendations for change so that, as far as possible, those mistakes are not repeated.”
Heading the commission will be Swiss politician and former state prosecutor, Dick Marty. He will be joined by anti-doping specialist, and CAS arbitrator, Ulrich Haas and former Australian military officer, Peter Nicholson. Assisting the trio is Aurélie Merle, who has experience in investigation and justice work for the UN. Haas is a highly respected CAS arbitrator and handled Alberto Contador’s appeal after his positive test for Clenbuterol and Riccardo Ricco’s unsuccessful appeal against his twelve-year ban.
The commission will look into doping practices during the 1990s and 2000s. No deadline has been given, but it is believed that it could be a year before we see the results.
We have agreed a budget for the Commission, which the UCI will cover in full, and we have also expressed our wish that its work be concluded this year," Cookson confirmed.
"Other than that, the Independent Commission based in Lausanne will operate completely independently of the UCI and will organise its work as it chooses. The Commission's terms of reference will explicitly state that the Commission will act autonomously and that its members will not receive any instruction from the UCI."
According to the press release, work has already begun in earnest. “The Independent Commission has already started preparatory work and will soon be given complete access to the files of the UCI and all the electronic data, which was copied as soon as I was elected,” said Cookson.
"It will also be seeking testimony from people involved in the sport or who have been involved in the past and we are in the final stages of discussions with WADA to agree how best to incentivise people to co-operate with the Independent Commission."
How to get riders and staff to talk, when they could lose more than they gain, has long been a talking point. Ideas such as an amnesty or a reduced ban have been suggested, but were met with large opposition.
This isn’t the first time the UCI has launched a commission into past doping practices. Previous president Pat McQuaid launched an independent commission in 2012, which was set to run until June 2013. It hit the rocks by January of last year, with McQuaid blaming non-cooperation from the WADA and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).