Armstrong may help doping inquiry

Lance Armstrong could play a key part in an independent inquiry into doping announced by new International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson.

Representatives of the disgraced cyclist have been contacted to gauge his willingness to speak to an inquiry.

Cookson hopes to help to rid the sport of its doping image and restore trust.

It is not clear how much Armstrong would be willing to divulge about his doping past, with the UCI reluctant to give any guarantees in return.

In the organisation’s first meeting since Cookson’s election in September, it was revealed that the Englishman will earn £235,000 a year, £77,000 less than his predecessor Pat McQuaid.

In June, Armstrong used his Twitter account to ask Cookson if he was willing to convene a commission to “fully understand the mistakes of previous generations”.

Analysis



This is a fascinating development for both Armstrong and the UCI. The fact that there has been contact between the parties shows Cookson is utterly committed to clearing out all of cycling’s skeletons in the closet. But while Armstrong’s involvement would be welcomed by Cookson, there is a sense that perhaps it is the disgraced former cyclist who needs this more, especially if he does still harbour hopes of rehabilitating himself even slightly in the eyes of those who once idolised him.

The 62-year-old replied that he was and would prioritise allegations which implicated the UCI in past cover-ups.

Cookson, who

ousted McQuaid at the end of a hard-fought election campaign

last month, is determined to rid the sport of its drug-tainted past and announced an independent commission as a first step.

The commission is due to start work next year after a UCI review of its own current anti-doping measures.

Speaking after an extraordinary meeting of the UCI management committee, Cookson said: “We have made important decisions on women’s cycling, international development, the establishment of a fully independent anti-doping unit and an independent commission to look into allegations of UCI wrong-doing.

“There is a huge amount of work to do in the coming months and beyond, but I am excited by the passion and support my colleagues have shown for implementing a real programme of change for the good of cycling.”

It is also understood that all future drug testing will be carried out by a fully independent unit. Cookson has consulted the

World Anti-Doping Agency 

(Wada) and the

US Anti-Doping Agency 

(Usada) in shaping this plan.

For Armstrong, involvement would be a first step towards repairing his public image after being

stripped of his seven Tour de France titles

and banned from all competitive sport by Usada last year for his central involvement in a sophisticated doping conspiracy.

The Texan finally admitted to his years of cheating

in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey

in January. Since then there have been suggestions that Armstrong has wanted to work with the authorities to shed further light on cycling’s doping culture – but until now nothing has materialised.

The independent investigation is also likely to examine evidence seized at the UCI’s Swiss headquarters after the recent presidential election.

Staff from corporate investigations company Kroll took IT equipment and documents to ensure all evidence from the previous regime was preserved for any future investigation.

It is understood that among the items private investigators seized was a laptop belonging to McQuaid.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/24724501

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