Ashenden: cycling needs truth and reconciliation

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Ashenden: cycling needs truth and reconciliation

A leading anti-doping expert has called for a truth and reconciliation process for cycling to allow the sport to move forwards.

Blood doping expert, Dr Michael Ashenden, has called for a truth and reconcilation process for cycling Picture: Gerry McManus

Dr Michael Ashenden, a blood doping expert, who had previously worked for the UCI, said cycling needed to move beyond a culture he characterised as, “Oh, you doped too”.

Speaking at a press conference for the group Change Cycling Now, held last week in London, Ashenden said all riders who had doped should be given the chance to participate in a truth and reconciliation process.

Ashenden was asked whether CCN member, Jonathan Vaughters, who admitted in a signed affidavit to USADA to doping as a rider with three different teams, should participate in the group’s proposed truth and reconciliation forum.

“To focus on the individuals is missing the point now,” Ashenden said.

“It’s not just about Jonathan Vaughters, or rider A, or rider B coming forward and telling what they did. It’s about the riders telling us what has led to this environment and how do we change the environment.

“Now everyone, including Jonathan Vaughters, should have an opportunity to come forwards during that process, but it’s not about catching out another rider. It’s not about naming and shaming.

“The focus has to go beyond being punitive and has to go towards finding a reconciliation and learning from the mistakes so that we can move forward.”

Vaughters, the president of the Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), testified under oath to federal investigators pursuing a criminal investigation into doping at the US Postal Service cycling team, and later, voluntarily, to USADA’s enquiry into doping practices at the same team.

USADA’s ‘Reasoned Decision’ records that, “During the thirteen (13) years after he left the U.S. Postal Service team Vaughters showed no inclination to share the full extent of what he knew about doping on the U.S. Postal Service team and by Lance Armstrong,” and that only when called by federal investigators had he provided the full story of what he knew about doping on that team.

It also records that Vaughters’ testimony to USADA had been given at “substantial personal risk”, owing to his role as the manager of the Garmin-Slipstream team, and that he had testified “fully and truthfully, regarding all aspects of his doping and that of others of which he was aware.”

CCN’s financial backer, Jaimie Fuller, chairman of the sportswear brand, Skins, denied that including Vaughters among the group’s membership damaged its credibility.

“I think we’d be crazy not to listen to all people in this story just as I think its crazy for the UCI not to listen and not to consult,” he said.

Vaughters, who attended CCN’s summit meeting in London but was not present at the press conference, Tweeted that he would participate in a truth and reconciliation process, as would any member of his team.

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