An independent panel, set up by the cycling's governing body UCI, has been informed that their investigation into Lance Armstrong's doping ring may be suspended. Today, UCI and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) have agreed to the terms of a "truth and reconciliation commission" . This would allow current and former riders to come forward with information about doping without fear of sanction or legal action. At a hearing in London, the UCI's counsel said that it had come up against a "code of silence" in trying to gather evidence and would not likely be able to gather the necessary documents and witness statements without amnesty for those who came forward.
In order to achieve this, the UCI is effectively asking the panel it created to suspend itself. The panel members and others have accused UCI of instituting this "truth and reconciliation" commission in order to stall out their own panel's investigation. The panel was due to hold full hearing on the Armstrong issue and others in April and create a full report in June. The London Guardian reports that currently the panel has not been given a single document from the UCI. The USDA report alleged that a positive doping test from Lance Armstrong at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland was covered up by the UCI after Armstrong donated $125,000 in 2002 and 2005 to the organization. UCI has acknowledged the donations and that Armstrong was warned of a suspect test, but denies any connection.
UCI's position is that due to finite resources, the truth and reconciliation commission and independent panel investigation cannot proceed simultaneously. Therefore, the resources formerly allocated to the panel will be put towards the commission. More peculiar is that this announcement falls in the wake of the independent panel's desire to widen the scope of their investigation to include any complicity from governing bodies or regulatory agencies to determine how such a widespread systematic doping ring could engage in those activities for years without detection or sanction. Again, the UCI fell back on being constrained by its limited resources and noted that many of the sport's federations might not take part in such an investigation.
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