THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An independent commission that investigated doping by Dutch cyclists and their teams recommended Monday that the responsibility for testing and sanctioning riders be taken away from the International Cycling Union to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The commission's report concluded that doping was endemic among Dutch cyclists for years and was only reduced by the introduction of measures such as biological passports and out-of-competition testing.
Doping has overshadowed Dutch cycling for years. Rabobank last year announced it was pulling out of its long-term sponsorship of the country's highest-profile men's professional team and in March former rider Michael Boogerd admitted doping during his career.
The Anti-Doping Approach Commission established by the Dutch Olympic committee and cycling union conducted anonymous interviews with dozens of riders and team staff. Its final report said that the vast majority of riders felt they had little choice but to dope, particularly after the introduction of blood-booster EPO.
Many riders "described it as a choice of do it or quit," said the commission, which was headed by a former Dutch justice minister, Winnie Sorgdrager. It said that the governing body of cycling — along with those of other sports — should consider handing off the primary responsibility for drug testing to an independent body.
"We see that the interest the UCI has in a good image for cycling has possibly been a delaying factor in development of anti-doping policy," the report said. It suggested an independent organization for testing while the UCI and national cycling authorities would remain responsible for developing anti-doping policy and educating riders.
The UCI did not immediately reply to an email seeking a reaction to the report's recommendation.