January 18, 2013
BERLIN (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) -- The ruling cycling body UCI on Friday named Lance Armstrong's doping confession an important step towards new confidence in the sport and welcomed his statement that they didn't cover up an alleged positive test of the American rider.
The UCI, in a statement, also welcomed Armstrong's offer to participate in the federation's truth and reconciliation process through an independent commission.
"Lance Armstrong's decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport," UCI president Pat McQuaid said in the statement.
Armstrong admitted to doping en route to all of his seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005 in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday.
He was stripped of the seven Tour titles and all results since 1998 by the UCI, and of Olympic bronze in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee, after the United States Anti-Doping Agency said in a report that he led "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen."
The 41-year-old said it was impossible in his opinion to win the race without using illegal substances. He also said he was clean when he returned to the Tour in 2009 and 2010.
"It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including among others doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test result," McQuaid said.
While admitting to bullying, Armstrong said he didn't force team-mates to dope, did not implicate any former team-mates and officials, and also said he didn't fail a doping test in 2001, and thus no cover-up by the UCI as was widely alleged in connection which the UCI admitted Armstrong made to them.
"Lance Armstrong has confirmed there was no collusion or conspiracy between the UCI and Lance Armstrong. There were no positive tests which were covered up and he has confirmed that the donations made to the UCI were to assist in the fight against doping," McQuaid said.
The UCI, and McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen in particular, have come under fire for their handling of the Armstrong issue which prompted the federation to set up an independent commission to probe the past and start a reconciliation process.
"We note that Lance Armstrong expressed a wish to participate in a truth and reconciliation process, which we would welcome," McQuaid said."
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