The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed that it will not be appealing the decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the Lance Armstrong case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
WADA's decision not to challenge USADA's decision to ban Amstrong for life and strip him of results dating back to 1998, including his seven Tour de France titles, means that those sanctions are now effectively set in stone.
Despite that, the US Postal scandal has far from run its course, with former team manager Johan Bruyneel's arbitration hearing due to take place this month.
The fallout from the Armstrong affair meanwhile continues to reverberate around the cycling world, with Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White yesterday confirmed as having lost his job with the Australian ProTeam after admitting three weeks ago to doping during his career.
As reported on road.cc earlier today, several leading sports lawyers had urged WADA to appeal USADA's decision, expressing particular concern about the national agency's reasoning behind not applying the eight-year statute of limitations provided by the World Anti-Doping Code.
However, in its statement regarding its decision not to exercise its right of appeal in the Armstrong case, the agency says that while it acknowledged that the UCI had been openly critical of USADA, WADA itself had obtained an independent legal opinion on that specific issue which clearly concluded that USADA's action had solid legal grounds including case law.
WADA's President John Fahey said: “WADA has no such concerns as to the complete process and the overwhelming weight of evidence. Rather it is of the opinion that the actions of USADA have highlighted the need in all cases for athletes to be able to come forward with evidence that will help rid sport of doping cheats.
“Following the UCI Management Committee’s announcement last week, WADA now awaits with considerable interest the details of the independent inquiry that is proposed, including its composition and terms of reference.
“It is important that there now be genuine independence and a complete examination of the scenario, with a panel that has full powers of inquiry and access to all required evidence and information.
“Only with the necessary independence and terms of reference will the inquiry be able to properly address the systemic culture of doping that was allowed to develop in cycling during this time.
“WADA has had no communication from the UCI with regards to their upcoming inquiry, nor indeed the Armstrong reasoned decision, nor the UCI Management decisions. WADA will want to contribute to the inquiry if it is established and resourced beyond reproach.
“This is not a situation in which just because the athlete did not return a positive test there was nothing more the governing body of cycling could do. It has taken a major effort and undertaking from a national anti-doping organization to gather the compelling evidence following allegations raised by Floyd Landis in 2010.
“This case has resulted in a right and proper sanction for the athlete in question and has served as a revelation to the world of sport. For this USADA must be applauded.”
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.