Five European newspapers publish "manifesto for credible cycling"
The Times, La Gazzetta Dello Sport, L'Equipe, Le Soir, and Het Nieuwsblad urge reform of professional cycling
by Timothy John
Five major newspapers from four European countries have published a joint “manifesto for credible cycling".
The British title, The Times, is among the quintet, which includes the Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport, Belgian newspapers Le Soir and Het Nieuwsblad, and France’s L’Equipe.
Their eight-point manifesto is a direct response to the Lance Armstrong scandal.
The Texan was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the UCI last Friday following an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency which published evidence of systematic doping on Armstrong’s US Postal team of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
A prelude to the manifesto accuses the UCI and team managers of complicity in a “sick" system of cycling, and urges all members of cycling’s "family" - governing bodies, sponsors, teams, organisers, and riders - to support the manifesto, which calls for:
- The UCI to recognise its responsibilities in the Armstrong case
- The creation of an independent commission to investigate the UCI’s role in the Armstrong case, its possible complicity, and its role in the fight against doping
- Doping controls at cycling’s biggest races to be organised by WADA and national anti-doping agencies
- Longer suspensions for serious doping cases, the sacking of riders serving bans of more than six months, and a commitment not to reemploy them for two years
- The reestablishment of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ among the teams to suspend riders under investigation for doping
- Greater involvement and accountability for title sponsors
- Reform of the WorldTour, including its points and licensing system, so licences are awarded to sponsors rather than managers
- A ‘cycling summit’ to be held before the start of the 2013 season to define the new organisation and new rules