It’s got one of the biggest anti-doping programmes in world sport, yet the Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF) could be under threat after a decision taken by the International Olympic Committee on Saturday.
The IOC announced after summit held in Lausanne, Switzerland, that it wanted to remove drug testing from the control of sports organisations. The goal, it said, was to boost independence in the process of policing sport.
“The Summit, following recommendation 15 of Olympic Agenda 2020, decided to make anti-doping testing independent from sports organizations,” the IOC said in a statement.
There have been questions raised on an ongoing basis about the efficacy of national and international federations in policing the athletes they govern.
This year serious doubts were highlighted over the testing carried out by the world athletic body IAAF, with ARD and the Sunday Times claiming that suspicious blood test data didn’t lead to real action.
WADA defended the IAAF on that occasion but the athletics body suffered a blow to its credibility.
The UCI has also faced accusations in the past, particularly in relation to its dealings with Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.
The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) looked into the matter and while it did not conclude corruption had taken place, it was critical of ex-presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid about their dealings with the rider.
The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) was founded by the UCI and is the body which runs cycling’s anti-doping programme.
After his appointment in September 2013, current UCI President Brian Cookson said that he and the organisation would take steps to ensure the CADF would become fully independent.
Speaking about Saturday’s announcement, IOC president Thomas Bach said that credibility was needed for both sporting organisations and competitions. He said that the latest decision would help that.
“With regard to the credibility of sport and the protection of clean athletes, the Summit has taken a major step forward to making anti-doping testing independent from sports organizations.”
Bach and the IOC want a body which is part-funded by it to take over in this area.
“The Summit requested WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) to study taking responsibility for testing as the global centre of competence in anti-doping.”
CyclingTips sought comment from WADA in relation to what the development would, or could, mean for the CADF.
“During the Olympic Summit, Sir Craig Reedie agreed that WADA would undertake a study in close consultation with WADA’s partners and funders, which consist of the sports movement and governments of the world,” a WADA spokesman responded.
“The topic will also be discussed at WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board meetings on 17 and 18 November respectively.”
Until then, the CADF’s future will remain unclear.
If it were to be wound up, questions would exist about the scale of what would replace it. Cycling conducts extensive testing, including a biological passport which is lacking in many other sports.
A global body policing every Olympic sport would be a massive undertaking and would face large logistical challenges.