October 27, 2012 – Five major European daily newspapers have joined forces to call for major reforms in the sport of cycling and with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of the sport worldwide. This follows on the UCI’s response to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) in-depth analysis, declarations, and demands for sanctions to be applied in the Lance Armstrong Affair.
The editorial, which presumably will be published in English, Flemish, French, and Italian, is currently available at the l’Equipe website in French. That version notes how USADA has pointed to the “disfunctioning” of the UCI, “if not its complicity [in the Armstrong Affair].”
“These recent revelations clearly show that we can no longer be confident of the UCI or of the team managers who have been complicit with the trickeries. But the blame lies on all the families which make up cycling,” continues the l’Equipe editorial. “We believe in a new generation of cyclists, but we think it is impossible to start again with the same structures, the same functioning, the same rules and the same men.”
Apart from l’Equipe, this editorial is supposed to appear in La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy), Het Nieuwsblad (Belgium), Le Soir (Belgium), and The Times (UK). Together, the five dailies have proposed an eight-point manifesto to reform cycling:
- That the UCI recognizes its responsibilities and cleans up its act in the Armstrong affair
- That, under the responsibility of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a neutral and independent commission is created to investigate the role and responsibility of the UCI in the Armstrong Affair and in the fight against doping in general. This commission will report errors, abuses and possible complicity.
- That the organization of doping controls at major races falls under the direct control of WADA and various national anti-doping agencies.
- That the suspensions for serious doping cases become more severe and that sporting groups pledge not to hire or sign for another two years any athletes who are suspended for more than six months.
- The re-establishment of the gentlemen’s agreement which stipulated that a cyclist under investigation for doping is automatically suspended by his/her team
- A greater implication and more responsibility on the part of sponsors who finance the teams and lend their names
- That the WorldTour system be reformed. The current points system and licensing remain closed and opaque. We also propose that the licences from now on be awarded not to managers, but to sponsors
- The organization of a major Cycling Summit before the 2013 season begins in order to define this new organization and the new rules.
The five dailies acknowledge that the UCI press release issued yesterday indicates some progress is being made, “but does not appear to us to be sufficient.” Other media, including El Pais (Spain), De Telegraaf (Netherlands), The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) and the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), participated in debates with us and shared ideas, but preferred to express these in the framework of a traditional editorial.”
Follow the Twitter debate at this account: @ChangeCycling and using the hashtag #changecycling.
Equipe editorial (en français) HERE.
AFP summary (in English) HERE.