The World Anti-Doping Agency and cycling’s governing body UCI have agreed to work together in a commission to investigate the sport’s dark doping past.
The agreement gave WADA something to show for its behind-the-scenes discussions at its World Conference on Doping in Sport.
Concerns over two major track countries, Jamaica and Kenya, are still on the WADA agenda at its four-day summit.
Providing little detail of the commission and its remit, WADA and the International Cycling Union said in a joint statement late Wednesday that they have agreed “the broad terms under which the UCI will conduct a commission of inquiry into the historical doping problems in cycling.”
The agreement followed a private meeting between new UCI President Brian Cookson and WADA President Johan Fahey at the conference in Johannesburg.
“They (Cookson and Fahey) further agreed that their respective colleagues would cooperate to finalize the detailed terms and conditions of the inquiry to ensure that the procedures and ultimate outcomes would be in line with the fundamental rules and principles of the World Anti-Doping Code,” the two bodies said.
Cookson told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday that banned American cyclist Lance Armstrong would be invited to testify to the joint commission.
Armstrong was banned for life in 2012 and there remain allegations that UCI officials helped protect him from doping protocols while he was winning his seven Tour de France titles.
“I would like to see Lance Armstrong come and give evidence, if he has any evidence in particular on the kind of allegations being made about him buying support or collusion from UCI officials,” Cookson told AP. “If those things are true I’d like to hear about it and I’m sure the commission would like to hear about it as well.
“As part of that (commission), we’ll investigate allegations of the UCI’s behaviour in the past and if there are any issues that come up out of that, we will deal with them effectively.”
Cookson, who was elected to lead the UCI in late September on promises of confronting the sport’s drug-stained past, said his body had no power to reduce Armstrong’s ban in return for him telling what he knows but said there would have to be “incentives” for some people to testify.
Cookson said the commission would likely start work in early 2014 and he wanted it to be finished within 12 months.
In its main business in Johannesburg, WADA will vote on proposed changes to its anti—doping code on Friday, and is expected to bring in longer bans for serious dopers among other changes. The new code will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and in time for the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
WADA is pushing for a doubling of bans for intentional doping offenses from two years to four, ensuring a doping cheat will miss at least one Olympics. That proposal, the most obvious deterrent being considered, appears to have widespread approval, although athletics’ IAAF said it is not tough enough and wants to close loopholes for athletes to get their sanction reduced if they argue the doping wasn’t intentional.
For Jamaica, WADA has provided a copy of its report into the country’s drug testing breakdown to Jamaican government and anti-doping officials and has asked for their feedback before any findings are announced.
One of the recommendations may be to get the United States Anti-Doping Agency to enter into a partnership to help the troubled Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission.
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said that was being considered after JADCO “reached out” following last month’s audit of the Caribbean island’s anti-doping processes by WADA.
WADA also says it welcomes long-awaited moves this week by the Kenyan government to set up an investigation into allegations of widespread doping in the East African country’s high-altitude training bases. Kenyan authorities promised progress on their investigation over a year ago.