GENEVA: The World Anti-Doping Agency needs a massive shake-up, with the Lance Armstrong case and a fresh scandal in Australia underscoring its failings, a global athletes’ lobby group said on Tuesday.
The Swiss-based UNI Sport PRO— an umbrella group of national and international sporting associations representing some 100,000 members worldwide — said WADA had fallen short in the 14 years since it was established.
“The Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the Australian Crime Commission investigations demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the current WADA testing regime,” it said.
“Armstrong was not caught through testing, despite being frequently tested.” The issue of how to tighten doping controls in the sport has come to a head after US cyclist Armstrong’s admission last month that he took a cocktail of banned drugs to win the Tour de France a record seven times between 1999 and 2005.
The disgraced Texan was banned from the sport for life and stripped of his career wins back to August 1988, severely denting cycling’s reputation and casting a cloud over modern-day riders, despite efforts to drastically clean up the sport.
Dope probe launched
Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Monday it had launched a probe following newspaper allegations that retired cyclist Mario Cipollini was a client of a sports doctor currently on trial in Spain on doping charges.
Cipollini, world champion in 2002, was accused on Saturday by La Gazzetta dello Sport of being a client of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is currently standing trial in Spain on charges of administering doping products. The report claimed to have solid evidence of a sophisticated doping programme Fuentes prepared for Cipollini during the period 2001-2004, which included the use of the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin), blood transfusions and growth hormones.
Cipollini’s lawyer on Sunday refuted the allegations and indicated the possibility of launching legal proceedings against the newspaper.