Having had the opportunity to examine the decision of the UCI regarding United States Anti-Doping (USADA) versus Lance Armstrong, WADA understands why the UCI has chosen not to appeal based on the overwhelming evidence of systematic doping in the US Postal Team.
WADA is encouraged that the UCI feels it can use this case as a catalyst to thoroughly clean up its sport and remove any remaining vestiges of the doping programs that have clearly damaged cycling over the last decade.
WADA awaits with interest the outcomes of the ‘special meeting’ the UCI has called for its Management Committee on Friday, Oct. 26, and in the meantime will take the opportunity to address all of the issues that the UCI raised in its statement.
For some time now WADA has made it clear that testing and analysis alone is not sufficient to expose the doping of athletes who have the support of sophisticated and unscrupulous individuals. The evidence gathered by USADA in the Armstrong case is proof of that, as it is almost entirely based on non-analytical data.
It has always been incumbent on anti-doping organizations to undertake a more coherent approach to widespread allegations of doping, and it is not sufficient to claim that enough was done just because testing did not lead to analytical violations.
The fact the World Anti-Doping Code only came into force in 2004 is not a valid excuse for an organization failing to act on evidence of widespread doping, and nor is the Statute of Limitations contained within the Code an excuse not to investigate evidence of doping that dates back longer than eight years.
WADA’s mandate under the Code is to now decide whether to exercise its independent right of appeal, which it will do after its 21-day appeal period commences on Oct. 31, the appeal expiry date for other parties in this case.
It will announce that decision in due course, and will continue to examine the evidence encouraged by the fact that the biggest doping scandal in the history of sport is close to reaching a correct conclusion.