Doping news: Verbruggen and Pound close war of words

Plus three-month ban for US cyclist David Mock

The International Cycling Union (UCI) and former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound have settled a lawsuit over allegedly injurious comments by the outspoken Canadian.

The UCI, its former president Hein Verbruggen and Pound released a joint statement yesterday closing the litigation in a Swiss court. Each side agreed to pay its own costs.

Verbruggen and Pound often clashed when they were both in office and Pound was vocal in questioning the UCI's efforts in tackling doping at the height of some of biggest scandals to hit cycling.

"Richard Pound acknowledges the fact that some of his comments reported in the media might have seemed excessive if they were interpreted to mean that the UCI and Hein Verbruggen were doing nothing to combat doping," the statement said.

"This applies to an even greater extent to the allegation of collusion which was never formulated as such."

The statement said Pound also recognised that the UCI had put in place new testing procedures: "Richard Pound acknowledges the fact that the UCI is doing good work to eliminate cheats from their sport."

The cycling body declared that it would carry on with the anti-doping measures. "However, it remains the duty of the bodies responsible for combating doping, including the WADA, to note any inadequacy on the part of any agency whatsoever with a view to making this fight more effective," the statement added.

The UCI lawsuit launched in March 2008 accused Pound of "continual injurious and biased comments". WADA had leapt to their former chief's defence.

Pound stepped down from his WADA post in November 2007, while Verbruggen stood down from the UCI presidency in 2005 but stayed on as vice president until 2008.

Three-month ban for Mock

In other doping news, David Mock, a 32-year-old American cyclist, has accepted a three-month ban after testing positive for a marijuana metabolite, the US Anti-Doping Agency announced yesterday.

Mock tested positive for the banned substance Carboxy THC in a urine sample taken on 15 August after a sixth-place finish in the Yankee Clipper stage race.

The sanction could bring a two-year ban but Mock accepted a three-month period of ineligibility that began last Friday and was reduced to time served after his completion of a US Anti-Doping education programme on Wednesday. Mock's results in all events from 15 August until Wednesday were forfeited.

© AFP 2009

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