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UCI president Hein Verbruggen with Lance Armstrong in 2002
External commission to examine UCI's role in Armstrong affair; Kimmage case suspended
The management committee of the UCI has decided not to award Lance Armstrong's stripped Tour de France titles to any rider following a special meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday. The committee has also agreed to establish an external commission to examine the allegations made about the UCI's handling of the Armstrong case, and the UCI will suspend its legal action against Paul Kimmage, pending the commission's findings.
The special meeting was called after the UCI accepted USADA's reasoned decision on the Lance Armstrong doping case, banning the American for life and stripping him of all results from August 1, 1998. In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the UCI management committee acknowledged that "decisive action was needed in response to the report".
The management committee decided not to reallocate Armstrong's Tour victories or any of his other results in the period between 1998 to 2005, and said that it had extended that ruling "from now on to any competitive sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to 2005, without prejudice to the statute of limitation."
"The UCI Management Committee acknowledged that a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period - but that while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honour to be gained in reallocating places," the statement continued. Armstrong and all affected riders have been called upon to return their prize money.
The management committee has also requested that an external commission be established to examine "various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair".
In particular, concerns have been raised over the manner in which the UCI accepted donations from Armstrong in 2002 and 2005 totaling US$125,000. The governing body has rejected the accusation that the donations were made to cover up a positive test from the 2001 Tour de Suisse, although it has acknowledged that Armstrong returned a "suspect" sample during the Swiss race.
As well as examining the UCI's role, the independent commission will look to "find ways to ensure that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage."
At this point, it is unclear as to the make-up of the committee or how it will be selected. The UCI statement said that the terms will be established in early November.
"In the week of 5 November 2012, therefore, the Management Committee will announce which independent sports body will nominate the members of the Commission and, with the UCI Management Committee, agree appropriate terms of reference."
The independent commission's report and recommendations will be published no later than June 1st, 2013.
Pending the independent commission's report next year, the UCI management committee also opted to seek the suspension of the defamation case against the journalist and former rider Paul Kimmage, launched earlier this year by UCI president Pat McQuaid, honorary president Hein Verbruggen and the governing body itself.
"UCI President Pat McQuaid and Honorary President Hein Verbruggen who are individual parties to the case will similarly seek to put their cases on hold," the UCI statement read.
As recently as Monday, McQuaid insisted that he would not drop his case against Kimmage. Over $80,000 dollars have been raised by an internet defence fund established in support of Kimmage.
At the end of the UCI statement, McQuaid echoed his words from Monday's press conference accepting USADA's sanctions of Armstrong, saying "cycling is a completely different sport from what it was in the period 1998-2005."
"Riders are now subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport," he claimed. "Nevertheless, we have listened to the world's reaction to the Lance Armstrong affair and have taken these additional decisive steps in response to the grave concerns raised."