In 2005, when Lance Armstrong gave the governing body of cycling, the UCI, $100,000, a dangerous precedent was set. It could be viewed as a player giving a match referee a bribe, or as a donation to help clean up the sport and purchase a blood-testing machine.
Regardless of how ‘it’ is viewed, a transparent explanation is required for the transaction and the final destination of the money.
The transaction has been rumoured and written about widely over the past years, accusations have been spoken and few explanations given; but it was not until this week, that both parties admitted the amount and that it did actually change hands.
Due to the nature of the system of cycling sport, this money has not been documented or available for scrutiny. The rumours will not desist until clarity and transparency of the transaction are made public. It is difficult for a body to self govern and without an ombudsman to openly answer and query, the detractions will continue unless the topic is examined and resolved. Cycling must present an honest image and build an ethical foundation, in order to construct a solid future.
BikePure and a coalition of concerned parties offer to supply an independent team of a lawyer and a chartered accountant to investigate all documents in relation to the donation and to clarify that it was the only financial transaction between a rider (or any party that may see to be acting for an athlete) and the UCI. The simple investigation into the money trial could produce rapid results without the need for a large investigation and more importantly renew trust in the governing body and bring the truth to the attention of all concerned parties.
We have written to the UCI to request the meeting where they can present all relevant material, which they have in relation to the $100,000. We ask the UCI to assign similar representatives of an accountant and lawyer to meet with the team who would embody and answer to all concerned cyclists, to resolve the matter.
Although the UCI are a large organisation, the sum in question is not a small amount and should have a traceable history. The persons representing the cycling community, investigating the donation, will be professional, agreed by all parties and have nothing to gain or lose by the result.
BikePure have tens of thousands of member’s worldwide and only work to protect our sport. We would like to see this matter addressed and the teams to recommend protocols, if established would prevent a conflict of interests occurring again.