Cycling body slammed at EU meeting over doping

Friday 17 May 2013 20.00
USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart claims lack of action on doping after Lance Armstrong affair
USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart claims lack of action on doping after Lance Armstrong affair

The world's top cycling body has been accused of failing to act since the unmasking of seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong as a drugs cheat.

US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart claimed the International Cycling Union (UCI) has done nothing despite promises seven months ago of "decisive and transparent action".

He was was speaking in Brussels after a meeting of EU sports ministers and sporting organisations on doping, hosted by Ireland's EU presidency. 

Mr Tygart repeatedly attacked the UCI over its response to to the Lance Armstrong affair.

He said the UCI needed to honour its commitments to prevent the doping culture uncovered in the Armstrong case ever happening again. 

Last October, the USADA issued a report in which 11 former teammates of Mr Armstrong detailed how he and the team received drugs with the knowledge of their coaches and the help of team physicians.

Asked about Ireland's Patrick McQuaid seeking re-election as UCI President, Mr Tygart said that whoever leads the organisation does not concern him.

Mr McQuaid attended the discussions, but was not a panelist at the news conference afterwards.

The Irishman is currently attempting to secure a further term as UCI president. He was nominated by Swiss Cycling, after Cycling Ireland decided it would consider its position at an extraordinary general meeting next month.

President of the European Olympic Committees, Patrick Hickey, told the Brussels news conference that the International Olympic Committee was "leading the field in the fight against doping".

The Irish Olympic chief warned that eradicating the problem completely was extremely difficult and was like trying to end criminality in wider society.

Minister of State for Sport, Michael Ring, said that Ireland was spending €18,000 euro a week on anti-doping measures.

"Cheats have to be weeded out of sport," he said.

However he added that he would far prefer if the sum of over €1m spent on detecting drug cheats each year could be spent on promoting sport itself.