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UCI failed to act after Armstrong scandal: USADA boss

Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) President Pat McQuaid speaks to reporters as he leaves a procedural hearing in London January 25, 2013.
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) President Pat McQuaid speaks to reporters as he leaves a procedural hearing in London January 25, 2013.

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) president Travis Tygart accused the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Thursday of failing in its promise to deal with the consequences of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Speaking before a French Senate investigation committee on doping, Tygart, the man behind Armstrong's fall, said the governing body had taken no action after the cyclist was banned for life for doping his way to seven Tour de France titles.

"It is unacceptable for the UCI to have accepted our reasoned decision, publicly announced that 'decisive action was needed' and simply have done nothing," Tygart said in a 15-minute speech.

The USADA CEO reminded committee members that the UCI had said that only "a transparent and decisive examination of the past would answer the critics".

"Well, the only decisive action came a few weeks later when UCI disbanded the established independent commission when it actually started to act independently by taking off the handcuffs and removing the blindfolds that the UCI had placed on it from the onset," he said.

On January 28, the UCI disbanded the Independent Commission which was investigating the Armstrong affair in favor of a Truth and Reconciliation process -- which has yet to start.

"The UCI's current strategy is to play a stall game, let the cycling season start, let another Tour de France occur, let another six months go by and people will forget," said Tygart.

"Stall or delay yourself out of the problem."

UCI president Pat McQuaid had described Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, who testified against Armstrong, as "scumbags" after the UCI had ratified the USADA's decision to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour titles last October.

"It sends a strong and frightening message to others: you'd better not come forward," Tygart said.

It is time for those who love the sport to finally know the whole truth, Tygart added.

"But for clean athletes and those who share the Olympic values, now is the time for the truth," he said.

"We cannot wait any longer if we mean what we say by Olympic values, about clean play, fair play. The UCI must follow through on what they announced: decisive action."

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Sonia Oxley)

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