World cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has contributed nothing to the fight against doping in the sport, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency told the French Senate on Thursday. Travis Tygart, giving evidence under oath to a Senate commission on doping, said the UCI “did everything to put obstacles in our way” over the Lance Armstrong affair. He added: “They refused to send us the results of tests and they are still refusing to supply us with those of three of Armstrong’s team-mates.”
When asked if he had anything he wished to say to Pat McQuaid, the UCI chief who is due to be heard by the same commission shortly, Tygart said wryly: “We think that the leaders of the sport have singularly failed in the fight against doping. In the last six months (since the Armstrong scandal broke), they have done absolutely nothing. If you can find a way to prevent the UCI carrying out controls at the Tour de France, then please go ahead.”
Under the world anti-doping charter, controls in major sporting events are carried out by that sport’s governing body. He also raised the question of the UCI’s alleged involvement in covering up positive tests Armstrong gave in 2001 in the Tour of Switzerland, another in the Dauphine in 2002 as well as a number of tests in the 1999 Tour de France, which they justified by saying the substances were authorized for therapeutic purposes.
“They knew that Armstrong was working with Dr (Michele) Ferrari, who supplied (the blood doping product) EPO to sportsmen in Italy.” He added: “They could have looked more closely at their relationship. They accepted payments in cash from Armstrong, but didn’t provide receipts for any of them.”
In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as well as all other results starting in August 1998, and was banned for life after the US Anti-Doping Agency determined he was the key figure in a sophisticated doping program on his US Postal Service cycling team. Armstrong finally made a belated admission of doping, after many denials, in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, in which he said he used a combination of blood-doping transfusions, blood-boosting EPO and testosterone throughout his career.