Governing body moves to ensure it's clean
Review: CA president Klaus Mueller. Photo: Justin McManus
CYCLING Australia president Klaus Mueller said yesterday he would urge his board to authorise an independent investigation of current staff in a bid to ensure the sport is beyond reproach.
Rocked by the resignations of Matt White, CA's national co-ordinator and Olympic selector, and vice-president and former long-time professional Stephen Hodge, Mueller said the governing body was determined to ensure ''appropriate systems'' were put in place to prevent a repeat of the doping scandal that has shredded the sport's reputation.
Hodge yesterday admitted to using blood-boosting EPO, cortisone and other substances from 1989 until his retirement in 1996 to ensure he could compete in the world's elite races, including the Tour de France, Tour of Spain and the 1996 Olympics.
Mueller said CA would work with the Australian Sports Commission to organise an independent review.
''Let's make one thing clear, the board does not support an amnesty, and we are quite unambiguous about that,'' Mueller said. ''Secondly, the board is committed to making all proper inquiries of anyone involved in a high-performance program and within Cycling Australia to see … that no allegations can be made against them.
''This is not a properly formulated position but in relation to those inquiries it might be more appropriate they be conducted by somebody independent, somebody outside of Cycling Australia so that it can be absolutely free of bias. That's the way I am heading at this stage. Hopefully the board will be heading in the same direction.
''We will consult with the Australian Sports Commission to make sure that any process we have of carrying out that sort of scrutiny is to their satisfaction.''
Hodge and White - so far - are the only two Australians implicated in the fallout from a US Anti-Doping Agency report on doping allegations against Lance Armstrong.
Mueller said Hodge had voluntarily broached the issue with him before a board teleconference through the week. ''He, in fact, indicated this was where it was going to end up. I had a more detailed conversation with him after the board teleconference,'' Mueller said. ''My perception is that he is devastated having to reveal a part of his past which is genuinely embarrassing to him, and he regrets the harm that he has done to all those people around him, including Cycling Australia.''
Mueller said Hodge's absence would be a blow for the sport. He was elected vice-president of CA in 2007.
''Ironically, had Steve done what I suppose most leading cyclists do, and simply exited the sport and simply advanced his own career without wanting to put something back into the sport, he would never be faced with the predicament he is in now.''