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Confirming that the changes announced on Thursday by the UCI to the anti-doping process are within the rules, the World Anti Doping Agency WADA has told CyclingTips that it believes the measure will be a step forward in the fight against banned substances and methods.
The UCI stated that its management committee had approved plans to establish an anti-doping tribunal, which will give the first rulings after positive doping cases have been announced.
It will replace the national federations who had previously acted in that capacity, and which had been criticised in some occasions as lacking impartiality.
“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’s a system which WADA said it will fully support.
“WADA welcomes the changes to anti-doping processes agreed to by the UCI Management Committee. The changes outlined by the UCI fully satisfy the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code,” a spokesman told CyclingTips.
“The establishment of an anti-doping tribunal to deal with cases involving international athletes, rather than managing these cases at the national level, will help bring further consistency to doping case decisions in the sport of cycling.”
He said that decisions would be monitored and action taken if it is deemed necessary.
“As with all doping cases, and as is central to its mandate, WADA will reserve the right to review decisions and lodge its independent right of appeal to CAS if required.”
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, which occurred after the rider tested positive for the substance during the 2010 Tour de France.
He was initially cleared by the Spanish cycling federation, but this was subsequently appealed by both WADA and the UCI.
Contador was ultimately stripped of that Tour win plus other results, including victory in the 2011 Giro d’Italia. He also had to miss several months of competition due to a suspension.
The recent Roman Kreuziger and Daryl Impey cases have once again raised the question of national bodies making decisions concerning their own athletes.
Although the UCI has not indicated if it plans to appeal the decisions to clear both riders, it reserves the right to do so if it concludes the correct rulings were not reached.