Cycling Australia is considering following the lead of the country’s Olympic chiefs in having riders sign a statutory declaration regarding doping, with possible criminal sanctions for those who are subsequently discovered to have lied.
The news follows a meeting of Cycling Australia’s board this weekend at which it voted to adopt 16 recommendations from a review the government ordered into its operations in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal, reports News.com.au.
Under Australian law (the Oaths Acts of the various states) penalities including jail can be imposed on those who lie when making any declaration under oath - as Cycling Australia's proposed statutory declaration would be. While the cycling body obviously has no power to institute criminal proceedings against those who lie the state does.
Those recommendations from the Wood Review include having riders and team staff sign a declaration regarding past or present involvement in doping.
Cycling Australia now plans to meet with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to discuss whether to make that a statutory declaration.
The AOC and ASC have introduced such a statutory declaration into the selection process for athletes hoping to be chosen to represent the country at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
"We will discuss the declaration recommendation with the Olympic Committee because I think it would be particularly useful for most sports to be on the same page," said Cycling Australia’s president, Klaus Mueller.
"So while we are committed to a declaration policy, whether that's a statutory declaration or just declaration, is yet to be determined."
He added that adopting a statutory declaration would be in line with Cycling Australia’s "very firm position" in anti-doping, saying, “we want people to know it is a bloody serious document."
Mueller went on: “I think the community generally understands the seriousness of a false [statutory] declaration. One way or another we will go at least as far as Woods recommended."
Among the recommendations of the Woods Report was that there should be more doping controls and not just at elite level.
Mueller highlighted that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency had carried out tests at a club-level event, news of which had been passed through the "cycling grapevine" which he said would make amateur cyclists aware that it wasn’t just elite cyclists being targeted.
Following publication of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Reasoned Decision in that case last October, Matt White left his positions as sports director at Orica GreenEdge and men’s road co-ordinator at Cycling Australia after admitting to doping while riding for US Postal.
Cycling Australia also lost its vice-president Stephen Hodge, who finished the Tour de France six times, after he too confessed to having used performance enhancing substances during his road career.
It is not just cycling that is under the spotlight when it comes to doping in Australia.
Earlier this month, the Australian Crime Commission published a report which established strong links between organised crime and doping in a range of sports including Australian Rules Football and Rugby League.
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.