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UCI under fire over Armstrong probe move
Pressure is mounting on the International Cycling Union's (UCI) leadership with the governing body plunged into fresh controversy for disbanding its own inquiry into the Lance Armstrong drugs scandal.
The independent commission said neither the UCI nor other stakeholders had provided sufficient co-operation to allow it to function. Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Agency has accused the UCI's leaders of deceit and arrogance for scrapping its inquiry, and the row puts Pat McQuaid, the Irish president of cycling's governing body, once more in the firing line.
His decision to terminate the independent commission - whose members include Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson - followed weeks of wrangling with the WADA over its powers and whether those who testified could receive an amnesty.
The central issue of the inquiry concerned two donations by disgraced drugs cheat Armstrong to the governing body, and whether there was any complicity by the UCI in covering up his doping. The UCI announced on Monday it was scrapping the inquiry in favour of a 'truth and reconciliation' process.
McQuaid claimed WADA had agreed to this - something denied by the agency. WADA president John Fahey said: "The UCI has again chosen to ignore its responsibility to the sport of cycling in completing such an inquiry and has determined to apparently deflect responsibility for the doping problem in its sport to others.
"UCI has publicly announced that WADA has agreed to work with it on some form of truth and reconciliation. This is not only wrong in content and process, but again deceitful. WADA has not and will not consider partaking in any venture with UCI while this unilateral and arrogant attitude continues."
A statement from the commission also pointed the finger at McQuaid. It said: "Pat McQuaid stated that the UCI 'will co-operate fully with the commission'... and urged all other interested stakeholders to do the same. Neither the UCI nor interested stakeholders have provided sufficient co-operation to enable the commission to do its job. This failure to co-operate makes our task impossible."
The UCI responded by claiming WADA had issued "blatant and aggressive untruths". McQuaid accused Fahey of having a "personal vendetta" against cycling.
He said: "I am very saddened that it has come to this, but I cannot allow the latest blatant and aggressive misrepresentations contained in WADA's most recent press release to go unchallenged. Mr Fahey is saying one thing in public and quite the opposite in correspondence with me.
"The UCI is perplexed that WADA has now chosen to rebuff and attack the UCI's willingness to establish a truth and reconciliation commission, having just demanded that the UCI establish exactly such a commission."