Travis Tygart says USADA may share redacted names - but cycling needs to seize moment on doping
USADA CEO was speaking at this week's Tackling Doping in Sport conference at Wembley Stadium
Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) says that it may release the names of 37 riders and others connected with cycling that were redacted from its Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case. But he warns that the sport faces a race against time if it is to move on from its doping past.
Tygart, who led USADA’s investigation of Armstrong and his US Postal team, culminating in the Texan being banned from sport for life in 2012 and stripped of results including the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005, was talking at this week’s Tackling Doping in Sport conference at London’s Wembley Stadium.
While the names of some of those whose identities have emerged since the Reasoned Decision was published in October 2012 – former Team Sky race coach Bobby Jullich and Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White, for example – speculation surround identities of others.
One of the names put forward is Vuelta a España champion Chris Horner, who in November last year denied in an interview with Cycling News that he is the “Rider 15” mentioned in the report. 2012 Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal has admitted having doped at the start of his road career, but it remains unclear whether his was one of the redacted names.
The Independent reports that Tygart may be prepared to furnish the names of the people involved to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) ordered by UCI president Brian Cookson, although with its chairman Dick Marty saying that anonymity will be provided to witnesses, there is no guarantee their identities will become public.
According to Tygart, prior to Cookson replacing Pat McQuaid as president of world cycling’s governing body last September, there appeared to be little appetite on the part of the UCI to learn the contents of such a list.
"We've had communication with the CIRC that we are going to present this all to them because there is a whole lot of information out there that would be helpful in cleaning out the system that is there," said Tygart yesterday.
"I am hopeful the new CIRC process will deal with all of that and it will all be out in public and we can finally put a stake in the ground so this can never happen again."
But he warned that “time is of the essence” and that the sport must seize a “moment in time," and that the focus should not just be on cyclists who have cheated but also a "dirty system" in which team staff, management, and even owners were involved.
"Just because you change the top the dirty system doesn't necessarily change," he explained.
"When you've doped in the past with success, particularly as a doctor, team owner, coach, director and you've never been exposed, the likelihood that you are going to continue that practice of doping and not getting caught is huge.
"We all want to turn the page. But the job is not done. Time is of the essence."
"So as long as those people stayed in the system, doped and never got caught, the odds of them changing their behaviour are not very high when the spoils of victory are so very high," he added.