The head of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) announced last month by UCI president Brian Cookson to investigate doping within cycling, including allegations of wrongdoing at the governing body itself, has issued an appeal for potential witnesses, including convicted dopers, to come forward to help shape the future of the sport. The appeal coincides with the UCI setting out the commission's terms of reference.
Little more than a year on from the farcical scenes in London when a similar commission set up by Cookson's predecessor Pat McQuaid collapsed before it had begun gathering evidence, the current UCI president insists that the CIRC will be free to operate without interference from the governing body.
The UCI says that Dick Marty, the Swiss politician and former state prosecutor who chairs the Lausanne-based commission, CIRC, wants ""anyone with information which could help his commission understand cycling's doping past to come forward."
Marty, who will sit alongside anti-doping law expert Ulrich Haas and former army officer Peter Nicholson, a specialist in criminal investigations in areas such as war crimes, said: “The primary purpose of our investigation is not to punish doping offenders but to learn from the past so we can help ensure a better future for cycling.
"We will treat all witnesses fairly and so I urge anyone in the cycling community with information that can help our investigation to come forward.
"We have much work to do over the coming year and I hope, with the co-operation of the cycling family, the sport has a unique opportunity to learn lessons and regain trust.”
Cookson, who made the establishment of such a body one of his key manifesto pledges ahead of his election last year, added: “Today marks an important step in understanding the past and restoring the credibility of our sport.
"The Cycling Independent Reform Commission will not only help us learn from the past, but will also play an important role in shaping our future processes and practices.
"I committed to this process before I was elected in September 2013 and I'm pleased to see the CIRC fully operational only a few months later.
"It is essential that the Commission is left to get on with its investigation on a completely independent basis and I have ensured that all the structures are in place to allow this to happen."
Last month, the UCI president said it was up to the CIRC and the United States Anti-Doping Agency to decide whether Lance Armstrong, banned for life in 2012 and stripped of results including the seven editions of the Tour de France he won between 1999 and 2005, should be called to give evidence.
Today, the UCI has also published the CIRC's Terms of Reference as well as the Regulations governing its operation, including:
The main focus of the investigation shall be to determine the processes and practices in professional road cycling that allowed the culture of doping to perpetuate over a sustained period of time, in particular to discover the main providers and facilitators of doping in cycling in the period 1998-2013. Investigation into UCI past wrongdoings will also be a core part of the CIRC mandate
The investigation’s primary objective is not to punish anti-doping offences by single riders, but rather to identify and tackle the practices and networks that have instigated and/or facilitated doping in cycling over the relevant period
The final objective of the investigation shall be the production of a comprehensive report illustrating the causes of, and responsibility for, the doping practices that took place within the relevant period and to make targeted recommendations to the whole cycling family
The CIRC will have the authority to propose reduced sanctions to any License Holder [e.g. riders, officials, agents, organisers, team staff etc] who admit to Anti-Doping Rules Violations [ADRVs]
The CIRC can reduce the sanction even further if the License Holder also provides valuable information concerning other ADRVs and/or other significant anti-doping relevant circumstances. In addition, if the License holder confesses an ADRV to the CIRC, no return of prize money shall be ordered
The CIRC’s ability to propose reduced sanctions is limited to License Holders who are not currently serving a period of ineligibility or facing disciplinary proceedings. However, on a case by case basis, the CIRC can recommend an ad hoc reduction in sanction for a License Holder who is currently serving a period of ineligibility. This proposal will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, WADA and the UCI
The members of the CIRC will operate on a completely independent basis and will not take any instructions from the UCI
The CIRC will conduct its investigation on a strictly confidential basis and will take all measures necessary to guarantee such confidentiality.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.