The UCI's latest move to clean up their image has been met with derision from former professional cyclist Frankie Andreu. The sport's governing body announced on Tuesday plans to set up a hotline for riders to call if they had information regarding doping practices within the sport. It's a similar practice which USADA has carried out for a number of years, however, Andreu believes that the UCI's initiative is universally flawed due to their past actions in the war on doping.
The American rode with Lance Armstrong at US Postal and confessed to doping in a New York Times article in 2006. His confession was met with a level of derision from the UCI, with President Pat McQuaid stating at the time: "If Andreu wishes to say that, that's up to him to say that. I don't know what he's trying to achieve because he cannot achieve anything by saying this."
Speaking after the UCI's hotline initaitve was launched, Andreu said, "I think it's a shit idea. It's something they're putting out there but I don't know who thought of it. Who is going call up because unless you're talking about yourself then you're just raising suspicion on other people. It's not like the UCI have a police force that are going to investigate all these tips."
"The main problem that I have with it is that when he says people brought information forward to the UCI that they followed up on it. Are they contacting those in the USADA investigations or are they sitting back and just letting the report sit and be what it is?"
"When I came forward they criticised me."
The UCI's reaction to a number of doping confessions tallies with Andreu's stories. Tyler Hamiltion and Floyd Landis both confessed with the last two years but found themselves roundly criticised by both the UCI and a number of other individuals within the sport. Hamiltion and Landis not only confessed to doping but also alleged that the UCI were complicit and biased about doping. The UCI have always denied the charges, and sued Landis as a result. They recently launched an Independent Commission tasked with investigating the UCI's role in the Armstrong era.
"When Tyler came out with all of his stuff, when Floyd came out with all of his stuff, they just ripped them apart. They didn't investigate it or look into it. They didn't even contact me."
"If I was a pro now and had information the first thing I would do would be to contact USADA, even if I was based in Europe. I think you can trust them. I don't think you can trust the UCI. This is just another small step to try - they're doing something- but its damage control rather than looking to figure out where the real problem is."
In a similar instance, in 2010, when Floyd Landis confessed to doping and implicated several other riders, the Garmin team made a public statement that they would universally cooperate with any official body investigation allegations of doping. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters confirmed to Cyclingnews that the UCI had not spoken to him or any of his riders despite several confessions of doping from the team.
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