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by Shane Stokes
September 26, 2014
The risk of any national cycling federations or anti-doping organisations showing bias towards athletes in disciplinary processes have evaporated following an announcement by the UCI that it has cleared a significant change to the system.
A number of past processes have been faulted and ended up at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after what the UCI felt were improper judgements by the athlete’s federations.
An example is the Alberto Contador Clenbuterol case. After testing positive for the substance during the 2010 Tour de France, the rider was cleared by the Spanish cycling federation.
WADA and the UCI successfully had this decision overturned at CAS, and the rider was disqualified from that Tour win plus served a doping ban.
In December 2011 the-then UCI president Pat McQuaid said that a reform was needed in the way that doping cases were handled.
“The UCI needs a new system, a court like CAS, but at the lower level, which would consider all doping cases. “If a rider wants to appeal, he can do so to CAS,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It would be the best solution, especially as there are wide disparities in trials with different national federations. Some have an interest in protecting their riders,” he said.
That manner of reform has now been finalised at a UCI management committee meeting held Wednesday and Thursday at the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain.
“In order to further improve UCI’s anti-doping processes, the 14 member Management Committee proposed the establishment of an Anti-doping Tribunal to deal with cases involving international athletes, instead of these disciplinary proceedings being delegated to National Federations,” stated the UCI.
“The tribunal would be made up of judges specialised in anti-doping, fully independent of the UCI, with the aim to provide all top level athletes with the same consistent process and a clear, short timetable. This should ensure consistency and uniform quality in the decisions, significantly reduce the number of cases that go to CAS on appeal and lift the operational burden from the National Federations.”
It said that the tribunal will be ready to begin operations in 2015.
The news follows the recent clearing of two riders on doping charges. In August Orica GreenEdge rider Daryl Impey was cleared in relation to his positive test for the banned diuretic probenecid.
Earlier this week Roman Kreuziger was given a green light to return to competition after the Czech Olympic committee dismissed claims that his biological passport showed signs of blood doping.
Both decisions have led to questions. The UCI is yet to confirm if it will launch appeals to those decisions before CAS.
Meanwhile the management committee confirmed that the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), which is looking into the Lance Armstrong doping case plus other matters, has said that it is on target to deliver its report at the beginning of 2015. It also stated that it will remain within the allocated budget.
The management committee meeting also saw the venues for several world championships confirmed.
The 2016 World Cycling Tour Final will be held in Perth, Australia, with that location hosting what is the governing body’s amateur and masters’ world championships.
In 2017 the road world championships will be held in Bergen, Norway, while the cyclo-cross worlds will be hosted by Sanem in Luxembourg. The MTB marathon world championships will be held in Singen, Germany.
The governing body also confirmed that this year’s world championships in Ponferrada, Spain, is enjoying coverage in over 158 territories in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Oceania.
It said that this is the highest number of media and broadcast territories the event has ever achieved.