UCI’s independent panel postpones 1st meeting over snowy weather

The procedural hearing is rescheduled for Friday in London

LONDON — The procedural hearing of the independent commission set up by the Union Cycliste Internationale following the Lance Armstrong scandal has been postponed until Friday due to snow in London.

UCI chiefs set up the three-member panel, which includes 11-time Paralympic champion Tanni-Grey Thompson and whose chairman is Philip Otton, a former judge in England’s Court of Appeal, to deal with several issues, notably the disgraced Armstrong’s relationship with cycling’s governing body.

One of the key items on the agenda, for a hearing originally scheduled for Tuesday in London until a cold snap hit Britain, concerns the issue of “amnesty/truth and reconciliation.”

Last week the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the U.S. Doping Agency (USADA) — the organization whose investigations into Armstrong led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and other palmares for doping offenses — and pressure group Change Cycling Now all said they were withdrawing from the hearing because of the lack of an amnesty.

They argued this was vital in order for witnesses to give evidence “without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI.”

The rescheduled hearing, which will take place at the Law Society in central London, is to determine whether the commission should adopt such a truth and reconciliation procedure, including amnesty, as well as the scope of the commission’s terms of reference.

The UCI has indicated it would be willing to consider amnesty, so long as it does not contravene the WADA code.