Lance Armstrong says it’s time for cycling to come clean and move on, and indicated on Wednesday that he would be willing to take part in an amnesty process forwarded by UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson.
On Monday, Cookson, the challenger for the top post at cycling’s world governing body, said a truth-telling panel would be his first priority if elected on Sept. 27. The idea for a commission of such a nature is nothing new, but little action has been taken on the notion of a panel that would allow those who used to be involved in the sphere of performance-enhancing drug use an opportunity to come clean, with some protections. The calls for clarity come at a time when the UCI finds itself at the heart of distrust, as many have accused cycling’s governing body of protecting certain riders from positive tests.
“We need to look at the analysis of what has gone wrong. People have talked of a truth and reconciliation commission — I’m not entirely comfortable with those words but we certainly need to have a thorough review, something like the Mitchell Report in baseball in the United States that was very well received,” Cookson told reporters. He also encouraged Armstrong to “tell all of the truth.”
To that, Armstrong told VeloNews that “of course” he’d be interested in such a panel.
“At this point, let’s get it all out. Stop the drip, drip and draw a line in the sand and move on,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Armstrong ardently denied doping for years, and repeatedly used the courts to defend against those who sought to tell the truth. After the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released 1,000 pages of material painting a clear picture of his PED use, Armstrong confessed on national television. Many, though, thought he only told parts of the truth, including Cookson.
Cookson has also mentioned amnesty as a measure for enticing riders to come clean, though he noted that, because the distribution and use of PEDs was illegal in countries like Spain and France, the amount of protection provided would have to be carefully considered.
“What I want to make sure we do is treat everybody on an equitable basis to make sure people are treated fairly, but I want to get more of the truth out and I want to get it out once and for all so that we don’t have this continual drip, drip, drip of information and confessions, forced or otherwise, as we’ve seen through the course of this year,” Cookson told reporters on a conference call.
The election for UCI president is fast approaching. Should incumbent Pat McQuaid be allowed to run for another term (he currently finds himself entangled in a nomination controversy) the vote would be held on Sept. 27 at the UCI Elite Road World Championships in Florence, Italy.