The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has welcomed the decision of the UCI to ratify its move to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, thus upholding the USADA reasoned decision in a case that produced evidence of systematic doping at the US Postal team. The UCI also recognised and thanked those that testified against Armstrong and said they would not contest USADA ruling to hand out six-month bans.
“Today, the UCI made the right decision in the Lance Armstrong case. Despite its prior opposition to USADA's investigation into doping on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team and within the sport, USADA is glad that the UCI finally reversed course in this case and has made the credible decision available to it,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart wrote in a statement.
“This determination to uphold USADA’s decision on the U.S. Postal Services case does not by itself clean up cycling nor does it ensure the sport has moved past the obstacles that allowed doping to flourish in the age of EPO and blood transfusions.”
USADA launched their case in February after the FDA dropped all charges relating to criminal activity. The UCI were standoff, claiming that the matter was part of USADA’s jurisdiction. However that stance changed after charges were brought against Armstrong and several other individuals including his former team director Johan Bruyneel. The UCI and Armstrong subsequently lost a legal battle, and Armstrong decided not to contest USADA charges in august.
Along with recognising the UCI’s decision not to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, USADA also issued a called for a new commission to be established in order for the sport to fight doping.
“For cycling to truly move forward and for the world to know what went on in cycling, it is essential that an independent and meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established so that the sport can fully unshackle itself from the past. There are many more details of doping that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors and the omerta has not yet been fully broken,” the statement continues.
“Sanctioning Lance Armstrong and the riders who came forward truthfully should not be seen as penance for an era of pervasive doping. There must be more action to combat the system that took over the sport. It is important to remember that while today is a historic day for clean sport, it does not mean clean sport is guaranteed for tomorrow. Only an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission can fully start cycling on the path toward true reform and provide hope for a complete break from the past.”