Cycling, WADA have agreement on inquiry

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Associated Press

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 11:00 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency have an agreement on an independent commission to look into the sport's drug-stained past, and Lance Armstrong will be invited to take part, UCI President Brian Cookson told The Associated Press.

Cookson said the International Cycling Union and WADA reached an agreement in principle to work together in the investigation and hope to announce the move later Wednesday.

"We will have a commission of inquiry which the UCI will manage and run," Cookson said. "We will agree on the detailed terms and conditions of that over the next few days, hopefully."

Cookson spoke to the AP shortly after a private meeting with WADA President John Fahey at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in South Africa, where the agreement was reached.

Some of the details to be worked out include the appointing of commission members and deciding on the exact parameters within which the commission will work. But the commission will be set up before the end of the year, Cookson said, and should start work in early 2014.

Cookson was especially hopeful that the disgraced Armstrong would come forward and testify, especially over allegations of collusion between Armstrong and UCI officials when the American was doping to win Tour de France titles. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles last year after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency probe and banned from all sport for life. There are lingering doubts that some of the UCI's leadership at the time protected him.

"What I am really interested in, I have to say, is the allegations he has apparently made ... about the way in which he was given special treatment by the UCI. If that was true, I'd like to know about it," Cookson said.

Cookson couldn't say if a deal would be offered to Armstrong for cooperating with the commission, including a possible reduction in his life ban. Armstrong has appeared to be seeking that in recent interviews. That was for USADA to decide as the body that brought the case against Armstrong, Cookson said.

But the new president, who was elected at the end of September on promises of cleaning up the sport and getting it to confront its dark doping history, said there would have to be an incentive for some cyclists to testify.

"Some people will come forward and give evidence because they simply want to get it off their chest. Others will not want to do that," Cookson said. "So, there has to be some form of incentive and that is one of the things we are working on in the detail with WADA."

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Follow Gerald Imray at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

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