Former WADA chief Richard Pound says sport must crack down on doping
Cycling has been rocked by Lance Armstrong being stripped of seven Tour de France titles
The UCI attempted to sue Pound in 2007 for comments he made about the organization
The 100th Tour de France will be the first in 10 years to take place entirely with French borders
Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound has warned it is not just cycling that needs to crack down on the use of performance-enhancing substances.
As cycling’s governing body the UCI grapples with the fallout of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal – which has resulted in the American being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles – Pound called for every sport to remain vigilant.
“I think every sport is at risk,” the former International Olympic Committee vice president told CNN. “They use different drugs in different sports: track and field, swimming, weightlifting, football has had it – pick a sport and you could probably determine which drugs are the drugs of choice.”
Pound also insisted that unless the UCI acted decisively, cycling could be irreversibly damaged.
“It could be a watershed moment – you hope that the UCI will stop trying to blame everyone else rather than themselves,” added Pound.
“We have to get this act together very quickly, because it is entirely likely that this was not the only team in the peloton involved in organizing cheating,” referring to the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s conclusion that the U.S. Postal Service team and Armstrong had run “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
“If they don’t get their act together, it could spin out of control.
“Sponsors are already dropping out for teams, individual sponsors have dropped Armstrong while the Spanish, Italians, Germans will be wondering if some of their people are doing some of this.
“When you see how pervasive the system of cheating was in one team – this was probably not the only place it happened. You wonder where else it happened.”
Despite the extraordinary weight of evidence produced by the USADA and UCI chief Pat McQuaid arguing Armstrong “deserves to be forgotten in cycling now,” the Texan has maintained his innocence,
Pound has been a strong critic of the UCI, suggesting there is no way the organization could have been completely in the dark regarding the use of banned substances in cycling.
The Canadian was sued by the UCI in 2007, after his term as WADA president had come to an end, for comments he made criticizing the body’s former president Hein Verbruggen.
An out of court settlement was reached in 2009, with Pound acknowledging some of his comments could have been perceived as excessive but that he had felt the UCI’s actions had been insufficient.
Pound argues that Operation Puerto shows just how systematic doping had become in cycling.
Operation Puerto was an investigation – started by the Spanish police in May 2006 – into the doping ring led by Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, which involved high-profile cyclists such as Ivan Basso and Tyler Hamilton.
“Operation Puerto has been stalled because of Spanish bureaucracy – probably because of the damning involvement of the Spanish doctors involved,” explained Pound.
Against a backdrop of the lurid doping headlines, the route for the 2013 Tour de France was announced on Wednesday at an event in Paris ahead of the 100th edition of the grueling race.
For the first time in 10 years, each of the Tour’s 21 stages will take place within the France, with the riders starting on Corsica, before completing the 3,360 kilometer marathon with a tradition dash along the iconic Champs Elysees on July 21.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme insisted the unveiling of the race route was a time to talk about the magic of the Tour rather than the issue of doping, although he insisted: “A movement has started a few years ago and it must go on. Everybody must work on it.”
Prudhomme also argued that the Tour titles taken away from Spaniard Alberto Contador and American Floyd Landis for doping offenses suggested the current tests do work.
Team Sky dominated the 2012 race, with Bradley Wiggins becoming the first Briton to win the title, with his compatriot and teammate Chris Froome coming second.
But it could be difficult for Wiggins to defend his title, with many observers already suggesting the 32-year-old could struggle with 2013’s comparatively hilly route.