UCI President Pat McQuaid put forward the suggestion last week

An amnesty for riders who confess to cycle sport doping would be 'uncharted territory', according to the World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman.

The suggestion was put forward last week by UCI President Pat McQuaid following a spate of doping cases, most notably Lance Armstrong's.

“You can talk a lot, but you’ve got to wait to see the decision, and see what might happen then,” Howman told the Associated Press.

“We would have to be potentially involved in any of those sorts of things. Let’s wait until such time that it moves from words into action.”

"You're entering into uncharted territory, but we wouldn't have found the world if we didn't bother going into uncharted territory," he said.

"In general, I don't have any qualms about looking at anything. That's what we ought to be doing."

In an interview with the AP last Friday, McQuaid said he will propose an amnesty at UCI's next management committee meeting next week.

It is thought that an amnesty could help to draw a line under an era that was tarnished by doping.

"Once you do it, you've got to remember the 'W' (in WADA) stands for world, and there are lot more sports around than cycling," Howman said.

"You've got to be fair and harmonious in all the things you do. Let's just see what the concept is without going any further."

Like the UCI, WADA is still waiting to receive the evidence that led the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to conclude that Armstrong used banned substances.

Howman said WADA also wants to see the file, which he expects will arrive in the next week or two.

"Once that comes to hand, UCI have a right of appeal and we have a right of appeal after theirs expires," he said. "There is more water to go under the bridge before we can talk openly. We've got to just be patient and be quiet until the decision comes to hand."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.