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UCI looks to ‘restore’ credibility of cycling, considers amnesty

The UCI Management Committee announced Thursday that it would adhere to myriad proposals to clean up the sport’s image after a meeting in Norway.

According to a release from the UCI, the sport’s governing body will “continue with the establishment of an independent auditor group to look into the Armstrong era and agreed that the UCI should continue to move forward with its discussions with WADA in this regard.”

The UCI’s independent commission has started and sputtered since the Armstrong files became public, and many of the sport’s fans and insiders have roundly criticized the governing body’s handling of the Armstrong situation, both while it was occurring and then later, when it bridled its own commission, causing original members to walk away.

“The UCI is committed to listening to its stakeholders – the people we serve – and responding to what they tell us,” said its embattled president, Pat McQuaid. “In addition to the discussions with WADA around holding an independent audit, we are also in the process of developing a long-term strategic plan for cycling.”

Six recommendations the Management Committee called “crucial” have emerged. They are as follows, according to the UCI:

• Restore the credibility of cycling and the public perception of the sport

• Decide whether to hold an independent inquiry into the Armstrong affair and whether to offer riders an ‘amnesty’ or reduced sanctions for coming forward to that enquiry

• Develop a long-term strategic plan for cycling

• Further strengthen the anti-doping culture that exists in the UCI

• Improve the UCI’s relationship with WADA

• Restructure the pro-cycling calendar

Five more “high priority” recommendations were also included in the report. They are:

• Increase the independence of the CADF, or the Cycling Anti-doping Foundation, the UCI’s internal anti-doping arm [of which McQuaid is president]

• Appoint an independent anti-doping body to sanction professional riders caught doping

• Review the existing points system for pro-teams

• Develop women’s cycling

• Improve communication with professional road riders

The board and also announced the 2016 UCI BMX world championships will be held in Medellin, Columbia, and that Cairns, Australia, will host the 2017 UCI mountain bike & trials world championships.

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