UCI To Rule On Armstrong Case Monday
The Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) is "expected to give" its reaction on Monday to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's ruling that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong doped throughout his career, according to Julien Pretot of REUTERS. In a statement, the UCI said, "On this occasion, UCI President Mr. Pat McQuaid will inform on the UCI position concerning the USADA decision on the Armstrong case." The UCI can either "confirm Armstrong's life ban and strip him of his Tour titles or take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport." While Armstrong has "elected not to contest the charges, his mentor Johan Bruyneel has chosen to go to arbitration." Bruyneel said in a statement, "I will continue to be involved in legal proceedings relating to USADA's proposed charges as long as I believe that I am still able to receive a fair hearing and that my defense has not been permanently prejudiced by USADA's act" (REUTERS, 10/19).
ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY: The AFP reported that backing USADA would "boldly underline the UCI's ongoing commitment to the fight against drugs cheats as well as highlight its desire to confine the drug-fueled successes of the past well behind it." Although McQuaid is "credited with introducing the much-heralded blood passport programme -- a proven deterrent for cheats -- he has often come in for criticism in his years in charge of the UCI" (AFP, 10/21). The AP's Jim Vertuno reported that Armstrong greeted 4,300 cyclists at his Livestrong charity bike ride Sunday. Armstrong told the crowd he has faced a "very difficult" few weeks. He "did not otherwise mention" USADA's report detailing evidence of doping or the possible sanctions. Armstrong wore a black T-shirt instead of the charity's signature yellow jersey, given to the winner of the Tour de France (AP, 10/21). In Sydney, David Walsh opined that "as important as this moment is for Armstrong, it is also important for UCI's leadership as it too has many questions to answer." The UCI "should accept the sanctions imposed on Armstrong and its leaders." McQuaid and UCI Honorary President Hein Verbruggen should then "accept responsibility for the poisonous years and resign as president and honorary life president." Anything less "leaves the sport in a kind of limbo" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/22).