On March 20, 2008, the UCI announced in a press release that it and its former president, Hein Verbruggen, had “sued” the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Richard W. Pound, for “what they perceive as being continual injurious and biased comments by Mr. Pound against UCI and Mr. Verbruggen in the context of the efforts made by them to eradicate doping” from the sport of cycling.
This action by UCI in suing WADA’s former president is in fact an action against WADA. WADA will be taking all steps necessary to ensure that the court is fully informed of issues and facts relating to doping in cycling. WADA will instruct legal counsel to represent WADA and its former president in this regard, and to robustly defend and reject the unfounded allegations made by the UCI.
It is especially disappointing that the UCI takes these steps and commits its finances to legal action against WADA, rather than assisting in the funding of the Landis appeal. UCI specifically declined to contribute to the Landis case on the grounds that it had “no budget” to do so. Yet the appeal was specifically conducted under UCI rules, involved a breach of the sport’s anti-doping policy, and is a major case for the sport. (NB: USADA conducted the hearings under delegated authority from USA Cycling, the UCI’s national member in the U.S.)