Offenders urged to help as sport delves into doping past

Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:32am EST
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By Brian Homewood

GENEVA (Reuters) - An independent commission began delving into cycling's murky past on Tuesday, offering reduced sanctions for doping offenders who come forward with information.

"The lesson we can learn from the last few years is the truth will come out eventually," International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson told reporters.

"My message to any rider involved in doping is that now is the time to come forward (and) tell the commission everything you know because it will come out sooner or later, maybe as a result of somebody's testimony to the commission.

"It's in your interests if you have got something to hide to come and tell all the truth, not just some of the truth."

The three-man body, known as the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), was created in January to investigate the sport's recent past including suggestions the UCI was involved in previous wrongdoing.

"The commission will investigate allegations the UCI was in some way complicit or in some way colluded in covering up some of the problems," said Cookson, elected in September after a bitter campaign against previous incumbent Pat McQuaid.

CIRC chairman Dick Marty said the main aim was to avoid future scandals in the doping-plagued sport which reached a low when Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.

"The primary purpose is not to punish doping offenders but to learn from the past so we can help ensure a better future for cycling," he explained.   Continued...

Britain's Brian Cookson, President of International Cycling Union (UCI) poses in the Federation headquarters in Aigle, western Switzerland November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse