The International Cycling Union (UCI) has officially launched its 24-hour confidential anti-doping helpline for professional riders.
The free helpline, which will take calls in English and French, is for all athletes in the UCI Registered Testing Pool as well as any professional cyclists taking part in UCI competitions.
An outside organisation has been mandated to handle the process to guarantee strict confidentiality. It guarantees that all calls can also be made anonymously at any time, and any day of the week, which is in line with the recommendation of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA).
The calls will be recorded and, depending on their nature, forwarded to specialists in the legal, anti-doping and medical fields, who will decide what follow-up action should be taken. The helpline will operate under the supervision of UCI Management Committee Member Mr Peder Pedersen.
Athletes can call the helpline if for example they are being pressured to dope, if they have participated in organised doping, or if they know or suspect doping activities are taking place.
UCI President Mr Pat McQuaid urged professional riders to make use of the helpline: “The integrity of cycling is at stake. We have established this helpline to encourage the sport’s professionals to come forward and reveal, in the strictest confidence, anything they know about doping practices within the peloton.”
Mr McQuaid added that the helpline is the latest of the UCI’s anti-doping initiatives, which also include the Biological Passport, the “True Champion or Cheat” programme, the “no needle policy”, the ethical evaluation as part of teams’ registration’ critera and the modules in the Sport Directors training programme, etc.
Mr McQuaid said: “As some of our top riders have strongly attested in media reports, today’s sport is totally different from how it was before. So we are making good progress.”
“When I became President of the UCI in 2005, I declared that the fight against doping was one of my overriding priorities. Doping is a culture which existed in our sport for decades, so we can only truly banish doping from cycling – and indeed in all sports – by completely eradicating that culture and changing it into a culture of ‘anti-doping’. Changing to this ‘anti-doping’ culture can only be done through education, prevention and by being more vigilant about the entourage of athletes – as well as at the same time offering them more support, which is what this helpline does.”
The helpline number, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, is + 800 8884 8884.
Source: UCI Communication Services