USADA, UCI support notion of amnesty for riders coming clean on doping

UCI president Pat McQuaid says his organization would “do well” to introduce an amnesty program.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (VN) — The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has announced its support for the Union Cycliste Internationale’s proposal of protections for riders looking to come clean of past doping sins.

On Friday, UCI president Pat McQuaid told The Associated Press that he thought there was “room” for amnesty for those who come forward and that the UCI would “do well” to introduce such a program.

“It’s a subject I will bring up myself at the management committee of the UCI and it’s something which we would look into possibly doing,” he told the news agency.

“It would need to be examined as to how it could be introduced, what would be the parameters of it, what would be the framework in which it’s worked, what would be the results afterwards. We have to work in the world anti-doping rules and sanctions.”

USADA would support such a program, and in fact called for one in a letter to McQuaid dated July 26.

“We’re glad they are open to the idea which, under the right structure, is the solution to truly cleaning up the sport,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart told VeloNews on Saturday.

In its letter to the UCI, USADA called for what its general counsel William Bock labeled a “truth and reconciliation commission,” and noted it was the only way to “clean up the sport of cycling once and for all.”

“As previously noted, in recent history, doping in cycling has been epidemic. Many of the same individuals who were involved in that epidemic are still entrenched in the sport,” the USADA letter reads. “That is why the cases against Messrs. Bruyneel and Marti and Drs. Celaya, del Moral and Ferrari, who were involved with doping cyclists in the past and are still working with cyclists, are particularly important.

“If UCI is truly interested in setting up a special panel to deal with doping, it should not be for one case, rather UCI should ask WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) to establish an independent body akin to a truth and reconciliation commission, where the skeletons of doping in cycling can all come out of the closet, the many cyclists who have doped can come clean, and cycling can go forward with a fresh start.”