WADA chief says UCI must 'take blinkers off'

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 10:30 hrs

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency believes cycling's world body must remove the officials who presided over the drug-tainted Lance Armstrong era for the sport can regain credibility.

WADA President John Fahey told Australia's Fox Sports on Tuesday that the UCI has to "take the blinkers off" and examine its own past.

"Looking back, clearly the doping was widespread," Fahey said a day after the UCI stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles. "If that doping was widespread then the question is legitimately put: who was stopping it? Who was working against it? Why wasn't it stopped? I think it is relevant to ask those questions."

Fahey said he looks forward to seeing what the UCI proposes to do to ensure the Armstrong "debacle" doesn't happen again.

"It's not a question of simply saying we'll rule off the line and go on," he said.

The UCI "clearly have to take the blinkers off, look at the past, examine the people who are there, ask themselves the questions 'are those same people still in the sport and can they proceed forward with those people remaining?'

"I don't think there's any credibility if they don't do that and I think they need to get confidence back into the sport so that its millions of supporters around the world will watch and support the sport going forward. Right now if you were a cycling fan you'd say to yourself 'Why bother?'"

Fahey said "everyone" doped during the Armstrong era and the UCI had to address how such widespread doping went undetected.

"The evidence that was given (to the United States Anti-Doping Agency) by those riders who are teammates of Lance Armstrong, one after the other they said the same thing — that you could not compete unless you were doping."

Mike Turtur, the UCI Oceania delegate and director of the Tour Down Under, told the Australian Associated Press that there was no point in digging up the past.

"It's an opportunity now for the sport to really start with a clean slate and then draw a line in the sand and say 'from this point on we're going to do all these things that will be in place to try to detect cheats in the sport and make it a better environment for everyone,'" he said.

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