GENEVA: An inquiry team probing the role of cycling's leaders in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal will deliver its report by next year, the head of the sport's global governing body UCI said on Wednesday. Brian Cookson, who won an ugly UCI leadership contest in September 2013 vowing to right past wrongs, said the three-member independent commission of inquiry had a crucial role and would publish its findings within 12 months. "We have to have a sport where a parent can bring their child, and know that their son or daughter can go all the way to the top if they have the ability and dedication," Cookson said in a UCI statement.
"Without having to lie, without having to cheat, without having to do things that will risk their health, without having to spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulder." "If we cannot do that as a governing body, then we have failed our members and our sport. But we are not going to fail. We are going to succeed," he added. The commission was created after Briton Cookson ousted Irishman Pat McQuaid in the UCI leadership race. McQuaid was in charge for eight years, succeeding Dutchman Hein Verbruggen, in the saddle from 1991 to 2005.
They have rejected claims from the US Anti-Doping Agency that while they were in power, the UCI did too little to stem doping and beat the cheats, notably disgraced US rider Armstrong. The commission has said its main goal is to determine how a culture of doping was perpetuated between 1998 and 2013, and to establish who was to blame. It has appealed to riders who were doped in the past to come forward in exchange for reduced punishment.
It has the power to propose reduced sanctions to any rider, official, agent, race organiser or team staff member who admits to an anti-doping offence. It can reduce the sanction further if the individual provides valuable information concerning doping practices, and is also empowered to let those who confess keep past prize money. And it also has the power to propose case-by-case reductions for anyone currently suspended from the sport and who reveals more details -- though any such softening will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
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