Four years ago, the UCI was at war with the US Anti-Doping Agency for its investigation into Lance Armstrong and doping at the US Postal Service team. The agency accused the UCI of collusion with Armstrong, and the UCI questioned USADA's jurisdiction in the case. Now, the two organisations have forged a partnership to collaborate on testing and results management, and to share "relevant anti-doping information, intelligence and athlete biological passport data, and participation in joint investigations, testing missions, and other initiatives", a UCI press release announced today.
The agreement is the culmination of a shift in the UCI's anti-doping strategy, beginning with the election of Brian Cookson as president over Pat McQuaid. During USADA's investigation into Armstrong, the UCI demanded the evidence, saying they had no jurisdiction over the case. The UCI also refused to allow USADA to conduct doping controls at events such as the Tour of California under McQuaid. That changed in 2015 with the creation of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), which forged a partnership with USADA and the UCI to allow the agency to test riders at the Tour of California in and out of competition, and to share intelligence data.
Today's announcement extends the partnership between USADA and the UCI.
“Signing a sharing agreement with one of the most important stakeholders in the field of anti-doping is another testimony to the tremendous progress we have made in the past three years in rebuilding trust in the UCI," Cookson stated. "This partnership strengthens our intelligence-led approach and we now have an unprecedented level of collaboration with anti-doping organisations around the world.”
USADA will work together with the UCI via the CADF to formulate testing plans for UCI races in the US, and will share whereabouts information, results "and other data", according to the UCI.
“I am excited that the progress made by the UCI over the last several years has allowed our organisations to now come together to best serve clean athletes,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said. “We know from experience that when sport organisations partner with independent anti-doping organisations, it brings confidence to athletes that their rights are being protected, and that they can compete and win on a level playing field.”
USADA is one of 12 national anti-doping organisations (NADOs) to have signed such an agreement. The UCI has also made accords with NADOs in France, Switzerland, Denmark, South Africa and Denmark, among others, since Cookson's administration reformed the UCI's anti-doping programme.