UCI offer public show of unity in face of mounting pressure

The UCI Management Committee met in Louisville, United States, on the eve of the Cyclo-cross World Championships and publicly gave a united front in face of recent criticism over their handling of the Lance Armstrong investigation and the disbandment of the Independent Commission.

The Commission was scrapped last month after the UCI argued that a "truth and reconciliation commission" (TRC) should be implemented instead. The commission had been charged with investigating the UCI’s handling of the sport during the Armstrong era and allegations of corruption within the organisation.

At their management committee meeting in Louisville, the UCI announced that two members of their board - Artur Lopes (Portugal, UCI Vice-President) and Daniel Baal (France, Member) - would begin preliminary talks with WADA regarding TRC.

British Cycling's president and UCI management committee member, Brian Cookson, told Cyclingnews that he was fully supportive of the UCI’s leadership and stressed that the sport’s governing body were united in their approach to any possible TRC programme.

Cookson was touted as a potential candidate for the UCI presidency last month after it was reported by AP that members of the IOC had lost confidence in the UCI’s current president Pat McQuaid. However Cookson downplayed the speculation, giving his full backing to McQuaid. The president was roundly booed by spectators during the Louisville Worlds.

“Yes I’m confident in the current leadership of the UCI. It’s a difficult situation that we’re under at the moment but it’s important that the UCI remains united and the management committee have had some very interesting discussions and we’ve decided to do what we’ve done,” Cookson told Cyclingnews.

“The management committee are very committed to working with WADA. We’re going to figure out the next steps forward and make sure that we can do that in line with WADA and with their agreement and support.”

“The UCI is very united but it’s very concerned by external pressure but our job is to make sure that the sport of cycling develops and continues to grow and expand. Whilst we acknowledge that these are very difficult times we think that it’s very important that we support the current leadership and we’ll see where the next few months take us.”

WADA recently told Cyclingnews that the prospect of any TRC programme would be independent but that they would seek to establish the committee.

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