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Cookson: Let national anti-doping agencies test events within their borders

UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson said he supports national anti-doping bodies testing at events within their borders, which comes in contrast to the position taken by Pat McQuaid, the UCI’s current president.

At issue is an event such as the upcoming USA Pro Challenge, beginning August 19 in Colorado.

United States Anti-Doping CEO Travis Tygart voiced his displeasure with the state of testing in a recent interview with Velonation.comcriticizing the governing body for not allowing the Colorado-based organization the opportunity to test athletes competing in the same state, and the same country, in which USADA operates the Olympic movement testing.

Cookson, meanwhile, told VeloNews he thinks the UCI should coordinate with national anti-doping agencies (ADA) to strengthen the testing at events, rather than work against the national ADAs.

“The UCI needs to work with national anti-doping organizations to ensure effective and robust anti-doping regimes are implemented in all major events in accordance with the WADA Code. They should be welcoming USADA’s input at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, not blocking it,” Cookson said in a statement.

Cookson also called for heightened “transparency” in anti-doping pursuits.

“As part of my plans to bring greater independence and transparency to anti-doping, I would like to see a more collaborative working relationship between all the relevant anti-doping authorities and organizations,” Cookson said. “With effective data sharing and stronger working relationships, it shouldn’t matter who is administering the actual procedures – what is important is that the procedures are undertaken within a system that is transparent, trustworthy and reliable.”

Cookson and McQuaid have waged tense campaigns in regard to one another since Cookson announced his candidacy early this summer.

“We must restore cycling’s credibility. The first priority for the new UCI president must be to change the way that anti-doping is managed so that people can have confidence in the sport. We must also urgently carry out a fully independent investigation into the allegations of corruption in this area which have so damaged the UCI’s reputation,” Cookson said upon entering the fray.

McQuaid, meanwhile, labeled those looking for change atop the sport as “a small group of activists” who would stop at nothing to derail his reelection as UCI president.

The UCI president also suffered a setback in late June, when the World Anti-Doping Agency corrected his position, after McQuaid stated, in a scathing response to  Cookson’s campaign manifesto for the presidential office, that, “WADA Code simply does not permit the UCI, or indeed any other international federation, to create an independent anti-doping body.”

The following day, a World Anti-Doping Agency spokesperson told Olympics-focused website Inside the Games that McQuaid’s claims were false. “Please be informed that under the World Anti-Doping Code there are no rules that prevent an international federation to outsource their testing and results management program to an independent body,” the spokesperson said. “For instance, SportAccord conducts testing and results management for some international federations.”

Cycling’s top post will be decided during the UCI world road championships in Florence, Italy, during the last week of September.

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