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Major new report finds that culture of doping in cycling continues to exist

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
The report included its handling of claims against Lance Armstrong, pictured here in 2005, who was found guilty of systematic doping throughout the first part of his career
The report included its handling of claims against Lance Armstrong, pictured here in 2005, who was found guilty of systematic doping throughout the first part of his career

A major new report has found that a culture of doping in cycling continues to exist, although attitudes have started to change.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) was set up by UCI president Brian Cookson in January last year to investigate the body’s dealings with doping findings and allegations during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It included its handling of claims against Lance Armstrong, who was found guilty of systematic doping throughout the first part of his career and subsequently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

The CIRC, which interviewed 174 people over the course of its 13-month inquiry, also concluded that cycling continues to suffer from a culture of doping but went on to say that the situation is getting better.

“The general view is that at the elite level the situation has improved, but that doping is still taking place,” it stated. “It was commented that doping is either less prevalent today or the nature of doping practices has changed such that the performance gains are smaller.

“The CIRC considers that a culture of doping in cycling continues to exist, albeit attitudes have started to change.

“The biggest concern today is that following the introduction of the athlete biological passport, dopers have moved on to micro-dosing in a controlled manner that keeps their blood parameters constant and enables them to avoid detection.”

It stated that "the main goal [of a report into allegations that Armstrong used EPO during the 1999 Tour de France] was to ensure that the report reflected UCI's and Lance Armstrong's personal conclusions."

"UCI had no intention of pursuing an independent report. UCI leadership failed to respect the independence of the investigator they commissioned," the report said.

Armstrong released a statement shortly after the report was published in which he apologised for his actions and said he hopes cycling can move on to a "bright, dope-free future".

"I am grateful to CIRC for seeking the truth and allowing me to assist in that search," he said. "I am deeply sorry for many things I have done.