Former UCI anti-doping chief Anne Gripper, who played a major role in the introduction of the blood passport system as well as a number of doping cases during her tenure from 2006 to early 2012, says she is satisfied with the USADA investigation, charges, subsequent lifetime ban and stripping of Lance Armstong’s seven Tour de France titles.
Gripper had remained silent in regard to USADA’s case against Armstrong and the UCI’s position until recently. She has since voiced her confidence in USADA and more specifically its chief executive Travis Tygart’s ability to manage such a case. While Gripper is unfamiliar with the full details of the case and was unwilling to comment on Armstrong’s verdict specifically, she commended USADA on their structure and reputation.
"I really can’t speak about [Armstrong's] guilt. I don't have enough information," she told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"But I trust USADA's ability to investigate a case like that absolutely, implicitly. USADA is one of the best resourced, best set-up national anti-doping organisations in the world. I know Travis Tygart personally. I would trust anything they decided was correct."
Gripper was further confident that no allegations would surface in USADA’s report that involved her time spent with the UCI however, UCI anti-doping panel member Robin Parisotto noted that if the governing body became embroiled in any claims by USADA, that it would be logical for the parties involved, including Pat McQuaid to stand down while proceedings took place.
"Any organisation that is the subject of allegations such as these... in normal circumstances you would probably step down while an investigation was happening, not be driving it," he said.
"You need to be impartial... [or] it will never go away. Pending what comes out of this report, if those allegations are substantiated to a degree, the investigation would have to take place and all parties would have to step aside," said Parisotto to Sydney Morning Herald.
Gripper was keen to point out that it will take some time before the sport of professional cycling is completely in the clear and that the Armstrong issue needs to be resolved before it can truly move forward.
"I don't think cycling is completely out of the woods yet. I think the sport is on a pretty stable footing now and that there is enough behavioural change. [But] it's [about] letting more time pass and more distance pass between cycling as it is now and cycling as it was then," she said.
"There will still be little eruptions coming from the past. To be honest, the biggest one of those is Lance. Until the Lance issue is resolved one way or the other, the sport can't move forward."