PRESIDENT ASKS FOR FOCUS ON REPORT’S FINDINGSMontreal, September 24, 2003 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) today again condemned the early and unauthorized release of the Independent Observer Report on this year’s Tour de France. The report was scheduled to have been made public this week. WADA had made a courtesy copy available to the involved parties several days prior to the official release date.
WADA Director General David Howman sent a letter September 22 to those who had received the report in advance, condemning the document’s unauthorized release. The letter also informed the recipients that a thorough internal investigation had been undertaken by WADA and that the advance release to the media did not come from the Agency.
Howman said he has spoken with Hein Verbruggen, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), and the two have agreed to work together to ensure this breach of protocols does not occur again.
“We share UCI’s concerns over the leaks to the media and we will work with them and our other partners, such as the French Ministry for Sport, to make sure that those responsible are identified,” Howman said.
He added that he and Verbruggen will meet during UCI’s congress next month to further discuss the situation.
The focus must now shift to the report’s contents and its recommendations, said Richard W. Pound, WADA’s president.
“We have to focus on the report’s conclusions,” Pound said. “When and how the report was released should not detract attention away from the good work UCI has done in the fight against doping or the work that still needs to be done.”
In response to UCI’s statement prohibiting any other WADA Independent Observers at future Tours, Pound emphasized that the way forward should be through cooperation between the two organizations.
“We want to continue to work with UCI to reduce the impact of performance-enhancing drugs in that sport,” Pound said. “I am confident we can work together again at future Tours.”
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