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The world cycling governing body the UCI is considering working with the International Testing Agency (ITA) to bolster its fight against doping.
The UCI released a statement Friday stating it is “looking to liaise with them [the ITA] to assess whether closer collaboration could bring benefits to the cycling community.”
“In more specific terms, the UCI is keen to gauge the potential advantages that more of a global approach could bring with regard to synergies, not least in key areas such as research, innovation, intelligence and investigations, and pooling costs and resources,” the statement continued.
The two bodies agreed when they at the Yorkshire world championships in September to investigate the possibility of a partnership. The move would represent a step toward greater independence for doping controls.
The ITA was conceived at the height of the Russian doping scandal triggered by state-sponsored cheating at the 2014 Sochi Games. The operation is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and supported by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The body is currently overseeing anti-doping programs for 40 organizations, including other federations of leading Olympic sports.
The news comes in the same month that the UCI imposed bans on two Slovenian cyclists for violations of anti-doping rules. The pair were also implicated in the ‘Aderlass’ affair in Austria and Germany. The Aderlass investigation into blood doping begun in early March, initially focussing on Nordic skiers, but the inquiry soon expanded into cycling when Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler confessed involvement.
“Recent developments such as the Aderlass investigation show one more time that doping knows no boundaries, neither between sports nor countries,” stated the UCI.
Any partnership between UCI and ITA would begin from 2021, with next year’s anti-doping program remaining the responsibility of the UCI’s Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation.