Coming clean: cycling’s watershed moment

Coming clean: cycling’s watershed moment

Lance Armstrong's admission this week that he cheated during his cycling career will have profound repercussions through the sport that goes far beyond doping. Armstrong painted a picture of a sporting hierarchy that supported a culture of doping, a clear indication of a lack of good governance.

This is a watershed moment for cycling and creates an opportunity for real reform. Although the Armstrong confession does not answer many of the key questions about how cycling is run, it shows the need for a transparent and inclusive reform process to help world cycling build a reputation for honesty and accountability.

The fight against doping may have improved in the past few years as the technology for detecting doping has improved and out-of-competition testing has become more intelligent, but the governance issues at the International Cycling Union (UCI) and within the world of cycling that Armstrong referred to have not been openly addressed.

The UCI must acknowledge that as the lead organisation running cycling it has to take responsibility for the events that have damaged the image of the sport rather than claiming other sports have problems too. The scandals in cycling are by far the most pervasive in sport.

Preparing for change

When UCI established an independent commission to investigate the report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accusing Armstrong of doping, organising and bullying others to dope and of an improper relationship between him and the UCI, Transparency International welcomed the commission and proposed a series of actions to ensure it was both accountable and transparent. The remit of the independent commission, however, does not go far enough.

In addition to the current investigations it should find a way to allow all involved in the sport, past and present, to testify without fear of repercussions and anonymously if necessary. USADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency have so far not agreed to be part of the independent commission process because they have different views on its terms of reference.

These differences should be resolved so that an inclusive approach involving all the key players in cycling can agree on the scope of the investigations, including a truth and reconciliation process, which results in recommendations that apply to the sport as a whole. This is will not be easy within the current deadline for delivering a report in June and before the UCI congress elects the management committee in September. Nevertheless, the commission should take as much time as possible to conduct its business thoroughly and professionally.

Cycling is a popular sport with millions of amateurs and thousands of professionals participating every day. Those running the sport have an opportunity to repair the damage to its image and rebuild trust by operating transparently. Armstrong said he would be the first to participate in a truth and reconciliation commission. This can and should happen.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

On trial for corruption: Teodoro Obiang, son of the president of Equatorial Guinea

In the first case brought by civil society in France, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, is on trial for corruption.

Corruption Reporting Award: Honouring investigative journalism

For the third year Transparency International has sponsored the Corruption Reporting Award as part of the One World Media Awards. Check out this year's winner, Stealing Paradise, a shocking investigation into corruption, intimidation and the sale of idyllic islands in the Maldives.

Glass quarter full? The state of global anti-money laundering in four charts

Out of the hundreds of commitments governments have made to fight corruption and money laundering, one of the easiest to keep track of is to implement the global anti-money laundering standards.

Ukraine takes important first step towards ending corporate secrecy

Ukraine has taken a first step in the fight against corporate secrecy and corruption by agreeing to share data on who ultimately owns and controls Ukrainian companies.

Who doesn’t know the Cayman Islands is a great place to hide money? The Cayman Islands

In May, the Cayman Islands government quietly released a report that just about acknowledges the country's deficiencies at thwarting money laundering.

Your ideas welcome: help us set higher standards in state-owned companies

We need your help to draw up principles for fighting corruption in state-owned enterprises. Please share your ideas!

Brazil: Open data just made investigating corruption easier

All of the official documentation of from Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal – Operation Car Wash or Lava Jato – is now available to search easily online.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world