• Cycling

WADA slams UCI doping 'warnings'

ESPN staff
January 24, 2013

The World Anti-Doping Agency has hit back at claims from former International Cycling Union president Hein Verbruggen that it was normal practice to discuss suspicious doping test results with riders.

The UCI have come under increased pressure over the past six months to explain their failure to expose Lance Armstrong's longstanding use of performance-enhancing drugs, which the Texan has now admitted helped him to all seven of his annulled Tour de France victories.

Verbruggen, UCI president from 1991-2005, said that the policy of discussing atypical test results with riders who were doping, even if they had not failed a test, was an effective deterrent - and he believes a number of other global sports federations use the same approach.

But WADA disputed both the claim and the practice, stating that it led to concerns over the "impartiality and integrity" of those involved.

"This approach totally contradicts the purpose of an effective anti-doping program," WADA said of Verbruggen's claim, adding that a governing body's policy should be "designed to deter, detect and prevent athletes from doping."

WADA also criticised the UCI for arranging a meeting between Armstrong and a laboratory director in 2002 after a doping tests flagged up suspicious levels of banned blood-booster EPO.

"WADA has no evidence of other international federations 'discussing atypical blood test results, or other test results' with athletes," the agency added.

"Any [federation] that would do such a thing would leave itself open to criticism with regards to its impartiality and integrity."

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