Brian Cookson lays out 7-point plan to fight doping & restore cycling's credibility

UCI presidential contender's vision to keep cycling honest

by John Stevenson   July 22, 2013  

Brian Cookson (copright Britishcycling.org.uk)

British Cycling president Brian Cookson, who is challenging incumbent Pat McQuaid for the presidency of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has issued a statement detailing his vision for the future of the fight against doping in cycling.

Cookson says that this year’s Tour de France was beset by “scepticism and doubt” despite “heroic performances” by the riders. “If you look at the past and what our sport has been through, it is not a surprise,” he says.

Cookson says that part of the process of restoring the credibility of cycling is to establish an anti-doping unit that is “physically and politically separate from the UCI.” However, he now says, “more can and must be done.”

Major doping busts of the past have almost always been the work of agencies outside cycling. The Festina scandal of 1998 unfolded after French police found a large stash of drugs in the car of team soigneur Willie Voet. The Operacion Puerto blood doping revelations came about as result of an investigation by the Spanish police and Lance Armstrong’s downfall came after a federal grand jury investigation into his teams and action by the US Anti-Doping Agency. That case led to an unseemly squabble between USADA and the UCI over who had jurisdiction.

Cookson says: “It has nearly always required a third party such as government, the police or a national anti doping agency to launch major investigations into doping in cycling.  The UCI has rarely seemed willing to take the initiative and it is critical that this changes as a matter of urgency.”

Speaking to road.c after yesterday's finish of the Tour de France, Cookson explained that a UCI prority was to re-establish credibility in its leadershp.

"You can’t re-establish credibility in the leadership without a change in leadership," he said.

The UCI has also frequently clashed with the World Anti-Doping Agency amid accusations that cycling’s anti-doping efforts were insufficient.

Fixing that fractious relationship is the first of Cookson’s seven-point plan to improve the UCI’s anti-doping efforts.

His plan, says Cookson “can set a new path for the UCI and help to rebuild trust in our athletes and our sport. If we fail to embrace change, our sport will continue to be damaged by on-going innuendo, rumour and a fundamental lack of trust.  The UCI must act decisively and show genuine leadership to support a new culture of anti doping.”

Cookson’s seven-point plan

1 Put an end to the UCI’s public feuding with anti doping bodies such as WADA and USADA

“It is absurd that a sport that has suffered so much from doping has been in open conflict with the very people it should be working in partnership with.  It is critical that the UCI develops an open, co-operative working relationships with WADA and the National Anti Doping Organisations.  This is crucial if cycling’s war against doping is to succeed.”

2 Instigate a fully independent investigation into doping in cycling so we can deal once and for all with the past, with amnesties/reductions in sanctions to encourage all those involved to come forward.

“We must learn from the past. I will implement a fully independent investigation into doping in cycling so we can deal once and for all with the past, with amnesties/reductions in sanctions to encourage all those involved to come forward. This will require agreement with WADA on its terms of reference and the appropriate amnesty provisions to properly incentivise those involved to come forward, but it must be done.  The brief of the investigation should include the uncovering of any UCI corruption and collusion, and understand what factors led to the culture of doping.”

3 Ensure more transparency, data sharing and co-operation by teams with their national anti-doping body and cycling’s Independent Anti Doping Unit

“The release by Team Sky of Chris Froome’s power data symbolised the sport’s credibility problem and showed the need for more transparency, data sharing and co-operation from the teams.  That is why I am committed to ensuring the UCI adopt rules requiring teams and organisers to share relevant data and intelligence with the Independent Anti Doping Unit and relevant National Anti Doping organisations.”

4 Create the role of independent team compliance officers whose duty will be to report regularly to the Independent Anti Doping Unit

“I believe that transparency will be helped significantly with a system to create the role of independent team compliance officers whose duty will be to report regularly to the Independent Anti Doping Unit.”

5 Introduce a Fit and Proper Person test in cycling

“If elected UCI President I will introduce a Fit and Proper Person test in cycling, taking the example from regulations which govern who is fit to be a company director. I want to see the UCI adopt a process by which team managers, team doctors and sports directors are assessed for their suitability to be in a position of authority in the sport.”

6 Support four year bans for dopers, and pursue doping enablers as well as riders

“I fully support longer bans for those found guilty of doping and welcome WADA’s new four year bans that will come into force from 2015.  It is important that these sanctions are not just placed on riders found guilty, but also on those who enable doping to take place, such as managers, team staff and doctors.  The UCI needs to put real effort into catching those who facilitate doping and champion whistleblowers, not denigrate them.”

7 Expand the UCI’s anti doping education programmes

“Finally, I want to see an expansion of the UCI’s education programmes, building on the good work of ‘True Champion or Cheat’ which is one of the excellent legacies of Anne Gripper’s time as UCI Head of Anti Doping.”

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

All good stuff, though nothing will work until the lifetime ban.

posted by markyboy007 [20 posts]
22nd July 2013 - 19:04

8 Likes

I think 4 years is a decent time, PROVIDED there's no crazy backdating resulting in someone being stripped of results but remaining race fit.

Think about it, even for someone earning a decent whack, 4 years without an income from the team that sacked them is enough to have to go and find a job - combined with a 'fit & proper person' test to prevent them working on a team, that's a good portion of the career gone and them working in a bike shop.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3116 posts]
22nd July 2013 - 22:10

9 Likes

markyboy007 wrote:
All good stuff, though nothing will work until the lifetime ban.

Which will be counter productive about getting people to come forward, admitting complicity and finally destroying the omertà.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [488 posts]
22nd July 2013 - 22:30

7 Likes

Does he say anything about developing the sport, particularly womens racing. Dealing with the legacy of doping is all well and good but he is starting to sound like a one trick pony.

posted by kobacom [82 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 7:17

9 Likes

It's Cookson's anti doping plan. He has cycle development and women's cycle development plans too.

Looking forward to Prudomme allowing a women's TDF to run simultaneously with the men's. All the carping about women's cycling not being commercial reminds me of 2009 when critics were asking why we'd would want something called an 'iPad' when we all had laptops and phones?

If Magni, who looked like Joe Bugner on a bike, could secure sponsorship from Nivea face cream in the 1930's I would suggest that a women's TDF might rustle up a few new sponsors. Thinking

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1058 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 10:10

5 Likes

God I hope Cookson gets the job. Please God let him get the job. Sick to death of what the UCI's become, how it's run and who's running it.

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [203 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 11:12

8 Likes

UCI has been suspiciously quiet during July hasn't it?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3116 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 11:19

6 Likes

zanf wrote:
markyboy007 wrote:
All good stuff, though nothing will work until the lifetime ban.

Which will be counter productive about getting people to come forward, admitting complicity and finally destroying the omertà.


Exactly.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 12:13

9 Likes

It's a sound plan and way ahead of any other proposals yet seen. The opportunity to implement it can only be decided by the votes of national federations. If they genuinely want a clean sport, there's a choice they need to make.

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 14:50

7 Likes

I particularly like the bit about pursuing/banning the enablers. In illegal drugs outside sport the main thrust seems to be investigating, prosecuting and strangling-off the supply line; I've never understood why it should be any different for doping in sports.
If you accept that the majority of the peloton throughout almost the whole of the nineties was using EPO, then the people supplying that drug must surely have made a load of money, but the investigations only ever seem to have gone as far as the team doctors; well they weren't making the stuff at home!

posted by pwake [291 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 17:51

10 Likes

Great list by Cookson, not 5 points, not 10 points, but a perfect seven point plan. Five would have been way to small to tackle this challenge. Ten, heck, do you really believe someone could accomplish ten things? Nor do I! Cookson put down the seven just like Armstrong's 7 TdF wins.

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 20:51

4 Likes

I would vote for him. Who does vote by the way? Is it a proper election, or one of those FIFA / IOC style jokefests?

Well, I'll be...

posted by Zebra [27 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 22:49

7 Likes

Difficult to believe that Pat McQuaid will get any votes given his sordid association with the past evils of the sport, sadly he will though from the CYAs and paid up members.

His brother Darach is in the business of cycling promotion and given the McQuaid family sits in both the governance side and the business/fixing side it makes it all smell pretty rotten.

posted by RTB [47 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 23:08

7 Likes

" I would vote for him. Who does vote by the way? Is it a proper election, or one of those FIFA / IOC style jokefests? "

Silly question ! With 42 " Voting Delegates " , YOU & I , count for NOTHING ! Only they can do anything and they are a bunch of COWARDS , with their noses so firmly buried in the trough of spoils , you would have to beat them away with a piece of 4x2 , or overturn the trough !

Self perpetuating " Jokefest "! Can't you tell ?

phat the rat already knows he will be returned , unless he and nein fordruggen have decided that they can " CON " the cycling fans by passing a share of the spoils to Cookson !

COMPLACENCY rules supreme throughout the Cycling World , noone is prepared to stick their head above the parapet !

With Cycling becoming the NEW GOLF , BIKES , Equipment and Clothing Accessories are spiralling in price , shame that the Old style Bike Shop can no longer afford to buy in the Items that you and I need ?

After 16 seasons of riding the Pro World Tour events , and seeing Tourists paying $6000+ ,to be carted around the route of Le Tour so as to make jackasses of themselves on TV , it becomes so obvious that BIG Business will accept anything as long as they can get to the MONEY !

Writing to the " 42 Voting Delegates " will get no result this time , BUT , doing as the Irish did , VOTING OUT the current Incumbents that Vote for the " 42 " , will in the long term start things down the road to CHANGE !

70ooo+ signing the Petition for a Womans TDF will get a lot of WAFFLE , but , ONLY Mass Action will convince ASO that they will LOSE MONEY if they do not ACT !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [383 posts]
24th July 2013 - 7:06

9 Likes

cavasta wrote:
God I hope Cookson gets the job. Please God let him get the job. Sick to death of what the UCI's become, how it's run and who's running it.

100%

posted by edster99 [163 posts]
25th July 2013 - 9:19

8 Likes