Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, expressed its growing impatience on Thursday over the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) delay in handing over the Lance Armstrong doping dossier.
One month after the USADA branded Armstrong a drugs cheat and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, the UCI are still waiting to examine for themselves the evidence compiled against the US cycling legend.
USADA announced on Aug. 24 that Armstrong would be banned for life and his results since 1998 — including those seven Tour titles won from 1999 to 2005 — would be expunged due to “numerous” alleged violations.
However, the USADA’s jurisdiction is limited to the US, leaving it up to cycling’s rulers to endorse their decision to erase Armstrong’s achievements from cycling’s record books.
“The UCI has no reason to believe that a complete file does not exist, but the USADA’s repeated inability to communicate its decision is beginning to concern us,” UCI president Pat McQuaid said. “It’s now more than one month that the USADA punished Lance Armstrong. We thought the USADA would have been better prepared before launching this process.”
He said that “according to media reports, the delivering of this decision was held up because the organization [the USADA] is continuing to gather evidence and that it has still to complete the file.”
“It seems that it would have been more useful for USADA to have used the time at its disposal during the Tour de France, the Olympic Games and the [cycling] road championships to prepare a complete dossier rather than issue statements,” a clearly exasperated cycling association president said.
“The UCI learned of reports of delays from the press, and not by an official communication from the USADA. The quicker the UCI receives the decision and the file, the quicker it will be able to deliver its response,” McQuaid’s statement concluded.
Last week, McQuaid said that, barring any major unforeseen problem, “the UCI does not intend to appeal” the USADA sanctions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, “but we need verification” of wrongdoing.
Cancer survivor Armstrong said after the USADA pronounced it was stripping him of his record that he would not seek to clear his name through independent arbitration, effectively throwing in the towel against what he says is a witch-hunt, saying he never failed any of hundreds of drug tests.
Armstrong continues vehemently to deny doping during his career and had questioned USADA’s authority to ban him, but the agency says it has as many as 10 witnesses prepared to testify to the racer’s drug use while adding it believes the UCI and Tour de France organizers should honor its findings under the World Anti-Doping Code.