The World Anti-Doping Agency has hit back at accusations they failed in the fight against doping and protected Lance Armstrong. The claims were made by WADA's medical director Alain Garnier, who told French radio sender Rfi that WADA had protected Armstrong after 2005 by holding meetings about the American behind closed doors.
"They made all of the directors leave the meetings and they continued as they say 'in camera', behind closed doors." He added that the only people left in the meetings were "the members of the executive committee, WADA's director general and WADA's president."
WADA hit back on Sunday, stating that they were "disappointed to read the comments made by its former Medical Director Dr. Alain Garnier insofar as they relate to his suggestion that WADA was inactive in respect of Lance Armstrong."
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by USADA last month and the ruling was later ratified by the UCI. It was uncovered that Armstrong and his US Postal team ran a high sophisticated doping regime that spanned a number of years. Several former teammates testified against him, while his form team boss Johan Bruyneel denied all knowledge and will take his case to arbitration.
Throughout the USADA investigation WADA were keen not to give publicly biased statements, often waiting for USADA to release information before commenting. It was at odds with the UCI's position with the sport's governing body even challenging USADA's jurisdiction in a US court.
Relating to Garnier's claims, WADA added: "In 2005, when WADA became aware of the information relating to many positive samples from Lance Armstrong at the Paris laboratory, WADA suggested that the UCI conduct an inquiry into the truth of the matter."
"Rather than inquire into the truth of the doping suggestion UCI took other steps and engaged an individual to write a report exonerating Armstrong. The report was not independent and was seriously flawed, and was intensely critical of WADA and its President."
"In addition, Armstrong lodged a complaint with the IOC and this was given to the IOC Ethics Commission to examine. As a consequence WADA took independent legal advice and the 2006 meeting at which there was a brief closed discussion was to consider the privileged independent legal advice received by WADA as to those allegations."
"It is important to remember that WADA was sued by the UCI for trying to force the Armstrong issue and this, together with the complaint to the IOC, were simply bullying attempts to shut WADA down in an effort to show that Armstrong was cheating."