I’m not sure if anyone remembers my post from last week and the letter to British Cycling’s Head (and my local UCI Management Committee member), Brian Cookson, but I wasn’t very hopeful about the chances of letter-writing bringing about any meaningful change in the higher echelons of the sport. Now, however, it seems that the fan’s voices have been heard.
Things looked up a few days before the big meeting, as Cookson released a message acknowledging the messages the federation had received from fans across Britain. While the message seemed somewhat noncommittal, at least the fan’s concerns had been noted. The message spoke of having to ‘maintain our vigilance‘ while insisting that the sport ‘must act on the lessons from USADA’s thorough investigation‘.
A response more positive then, than the one I had expected. In any case, today another statement has been released. An hour ago, I (and I expect many others) received an email from British Cycling’s Corporate Communications Manager passing on a message from Mr Cookson..
At British Cycling, we have had a substantial amount of correspondence on this topic.
I have read them all and I will use your comments to inform my deliberations at the UCI Management Committee meeting.
Please accept my apologies that I am not able to respond to everyone individually.
A link to the latest message followed. Mr Cookson starts off by stressing that the message is a personal statement before talking a bit about Team Sky (the situation there will be subject of an upcoming post). The message takes a reassuring tone – telling us a lot of what we already know, such as the independent review that was agreed upon as well as the possibility of a truth and reconciliation/amnesty process as a result of its findings. The IOC, WADA and CAS will be involved in appointing the members of the review, something which will help avoid any chance of a report such as Emile Vrijman’s on the 1999 samples back in 2006.
Its a hopeful message, with Cookson stating that ‘Cycling must and will learn the lessons of the Armstrong era‘ and even promising his own resignation should he not be able to help influence the UCI to operate with ‘integrity, honesty and respect‘.
Strong words indeed, and hopefully ones we can rely on.
In addition to this statement, Cookson has recently spoken to The Daily Telegraph. His words in that interview are even stronger, with talk of the UCI’s ‘last chance‘ and of the ‘strong mood‘ in the Management Committee’s meeting last week. The Dutch Federation’s President, Marcel Wintels, has also had similar things to say regarding the upcoming investigation and the state of the UCI.
The future is looking more and more promising, but we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of the independent report before we have a clearer understanding of which direction this sport of ours is heading.