PARIS (Reuters) - Cycling’s governing body is considering opening a hotline for riders wishing to discuss doping-related issues, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid has said.
The UCI stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles last month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he was involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
Cycling has long battled a widespread doping problem and the UCI has been criticized from several quarters over its actions to combat the scourge.
“At the end of the day it is you the riders who have the ultimate say about whether our sport is clean,” McQuaid wrote in a letter to riders published on the UCI website (www.uci.ch) on Tuesday.
“Naturally, we need to do more to ensure that the UCI is as accessible as possible, and in particular to you the riders, should you wish to discuss issues or concerns relating to doping,” he added.
“That is why, during the coming weeks ... the UCI will be looking into establishing a new open line - a confidential ‘hotline’.”
The UCI has set up an independent commission to address any allegations of wrongdoing by the governing body during the career of Armstrong, arguably the most famous ex-rider in the sport’s history.
“I know that it will take some time to build trust and confidence in this new line of communication, but I am confident that ... we can build that trust,” McQuaid added.
“And by doing so, we will accelerate the change in culture that we need in our sport.”
McQuaid also assured that the UCI, which has been accused of not following up some reported doping cases, “did act on information provided in the past and it will always do so in the future, within the bounds of what is legally feasible”.
Writing by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Mark Meadows