USADA accuses UCI of self-interest as governing body insists it should handle Lance Armstrong case

UCI insists it has jurisdiction in doping case, USADA says in no uncertain terms that it doesn't

by Simon_MacMichael   August 4, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has accused the UCI of wanting to play the role of "the fox guarding the henhouse" after world cycling's governing body insisted that it, not USADA, had jurisdiction over the doping case involving Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and others.

Papers filed yesterday in a federal court revealed that the UCI had demanded last month that USADA hand over its files relating to its proceedings against seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong and Bruyneel, his former manager at the US Postal Service team and elsewhere. USADA opened proceedings in June against the pair and other individuals including the Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari in connection with what it alleges was a massive doping conspiracy.

Among USADA's accusations is one that the UCI was complicit in helping cover up an alleged positive test by Armstrong for EPO on the 2001 Tour de Suisse. The following year, the UCI accepted a $100,000 donation from the cyclist, using those funds to buy a Sysmex blood sample analysis machine. UCI president Pat McQuaid has subsequently described the decision to accept Armstrong's donation as "a mistake" in 2010 after the rider's former team mate, Floyd Landis, alleged it was in effect a bribe.

In a letter sent last month to the anti-doping agency, McQuaid insisted that Armstrong had “the right not to be dragged into disciplinary proceedings unless there are solid grounds for that." Describing the proceedings as "worrisome" and "problematic" since only the agency had details to full details of evidence underpinning its case, McQuaid added: “You may say that you know there are solid grounds, but USADA is the only one that has the file.”

In a letter filed at court yesterday, USADA rejected the UCI's demand to be granted jurisdiction, insisting that it was itself fully entitled to pursue it under its own rules, as well as those of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. USADA also maintained that the UCI's letter repeated some of the very points in Armstrong's defence that have been consistently deployed by his legal and PR advisers.

In a statement, USADA's chief executive officer, Travis Tygart, maintained that the UCI, which says it would appoint an independent panel to assess whether charges should be brought, was acting out of self-interest in attempting to take control of the process. “UCI and the participants in the conspiracy who cheated sport with dangerous performance-enhancing drugs to win have a strong incentive to cover up what transpired,” said Tygart. “The participants in the conspiracy have lashed out in the press, gone to Congress and filed a lawsuit to avoid a public display of the evidence before neutral judges. “Efforts to intimidate, scare or pressure us to conceal the truth will not stop us from doing the job we are mandated to do,” he added. Next Friday August 10, a judge in Austin, Texas, will preside over a hearing at which Armstrong is due to argue that USADA's actions infringe his constitutional rights.

8 user comments

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USADA infringes his constitutional rights to do what? Take drugs and win races? I didn't realise that was in the constitution...

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
4th August 2012 - 11:42


Looks like Pat is getting windy.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
4th August 2012 - 15:03


Am I missing something here? I understood that a major part of this investigation was into UCI complicity and corruption.


posted by Grizzerly [210 posts]
4th August 2012 - 15:48


That's the USADAs point, and the UCI appearing to be side-stepping that fact by implying that USADA don't have the authority to investigate LA.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3722 posts]
4th August 2012 - 16:34


The UCI need to keep its nose out of this case to have any hope of credibility. So long as the case progresses within the governing procedures that has the UCI got to worry about?


posted by Sudor [184 posts]
4th August 2012 - 17:22


The really interesting bit in the USADA response is that they seem to say that Dr. Saugy has told them that Armstrong *did* test positive for EPO at the Tour de Suisse, that the UCI knew this, and that Saugy, Bruyneel and Armstrong had meetings about it:

As part of its investigation concerning alleged doping by Mr. Armstrong USADA met with Lausanne laboratory director Martial Saugy who confirmed various communications and meetings he claims to have had with UCI personnel, Johann Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong concerning EPO test results for a sample that Mr. Armstrong provided at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. Mr. Saugy told USADA that representatives of UCI were aware of both the indication of EPO use from Mr. Armstrong’s 2001 Tour of Switzerland sample and of the meetings involving Dr. Saugy, Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Bruyneel.

This is explosive stuff. This is first-hand evidence that Armstrong has had positive EPO tests, for the first-time. Plus, it appears to confirm that the UCI covered up the result.

Edit: Seems Saugy already said something very similar to a Swiss newspaper last year.

posted by Paul J [816 posts]
5th August 2012 - 17:21

1 Like

I have to say - much as I dislike the Armstrong cult and the cheating it personified, what REALLY gets me is the UCI.

Is it any wonder that cleaning up cycling has been so very hard? The governing body is a cesspit of grasping hands and corrupt self-interest. We need a new organisation to oversee the sport - this could be the best possible legacy of the tainted Armstrong years!

The only good thing about this is that the people at the UCI have no idea of how bad this makes them look - if they were to stay quiet and keep their heads under the parapet they might slip through relatively unscathed...instead they seem keen to advertise their corruption (along with their stupidity). To be fair though, camp Armstrong is probably twisting some arms over there: help protect me or i'll take you down with me!

Well it's a lot more interesting than Eastenders...

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
6th August 2012 - 13:49

1 Like

McQuaid says in his interview on this site that the whole attempt to form a breakaway league is dead and won't happen, but if this explodes in his face, I wonder if it might come back onto the agenda? Ultimately, I suppose it relies on the ASO changing allegiance.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3722 posts]
6th August 2012 - 14:34

1 Like