The UCI has hit back at suggestions from USADA CEO Travis Tygart that Lance Armstrong may have evidence that the sports governing body's was in some way complicit in the Texan's years of doping.
Tygart appeared before a French Senate investigation into doping on Thursday. The Associated Press news agency reported him as saying: "Armstrong led us to believe - during the course of our interaction with him - that he had evidence of their complicity in this situation."
In a press release, the UCI insisted categorically that they have nothing to hide.
“The fact is that Mr Tygart has no evidence of any wrongdoing and has chosen to make headlines on a convenient interpretation of a conversation he had with Lance Armstrong," a unidentified spokesperson was quoted in the press release.
“He should establish the facts before jumping to conclusions. The UCI welcomes any assistance and clarification that Lance Armstrong may wish to give Mr Tygart on the matter”.
Going on the offensive, the UCI also refuted Tygart's comments about why the UCI deciding to disband of the Independent Commission that was established to look into the UCI’s role in the Armstrong affair.
“It’s all very well Mr Tygart talking about cooperation, but let’s not forget that the Independent Commission was only disbanded because of USADA’s and WADA’s point-blank refusal to cooperate with it. Simply, the UCI was left with no choice but to close it down; it made no sense to go forward without the participation of these two bodies,” the spokesperson said.
“One can only assume that their refusal to cooperate with the Independent Commission was due to their fear that their own shortcomings would be exposed. After all, USADA and WADA also tested Armstrong over many years and also failed to catch him. It was only with the benefit of the US Federal Investigation that USADA was finally able to gain evidence of Armstrong’s doping.
“No attempt by Travis Tygart to rewrite history will change the fact that USADA failed to catch Lance Armstrong having tested him just 49 times during his career. The UCI by comparison tested Armstrong 189 times.”
The UCI press release went as far as claiming that the UCI's fight against doping and the catching of Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton via anti-doping tests, facilitated the investigation against Armstrong.
"As Mr Tygart himself admitted Thursday in other media reports, it was the UCI in its campaign against doping, not WADA or USADA, which caught Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. And it was the UCI catching these two high-profile riders which ended up with them confessing and so enabled the investigation to move against Armstrong,” the UCI claimed.
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