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The World Anti-Doping Agency have rejected the demand made by the Professional Riders' Association (CPA) that WADA president Dick Pound should withdraw controversial comments he has made about the sport in recent months. Speaking to The Guardian in October last year and at the start of this month to the Swiss paper 24 Heures, Pound stated that doping was widespread within the upper echelons of professional cycling.
Contacted by Spanish daily AS, WADA reaffirmed its position supporting Pound's comments. Speaking via Donna Brown, his personal secretary at WADA, Pound did refuse to make any further comment on the issue.
In a letter sent to the WADA president on January 6, the CPA demanded the withdrawal of controversial comments made by Pound in both articles. The letter stated that further action would be taken if the comments were not withdrawn by January 20, with the suggestion being this would be through the courts.
The letter declared: "You have openly attacked the sport of cycling and its actors, stating in particular that doping is ubiquitous among cycling teams. You even dare to imply that the UCI is complicit in this. You openly accuse cyclists as a whole of behaving against honour, sporting ethics, and pass them off, in the eyes of the public, as cheaters trying to bend the rules, while in fact they deserve respect for their training and their daily effort and sacrifice."
Writing in The Guardian on October 24, Pound said that since the Festina scandal of 1998 "drug use, within entire teams, continues unabated. This drug use is not the accidental ingestion of a tainted supplement by an individual athlete. It is planned and deliberate cheating, with complex methods, sophisticated substances and techniques and the active complicity of doctors, scientists, team officials and riders. There is nothing accidental about it. All this cheating goes on under the supposedly watchful eyes of cycling officials, who loudly proclaim that their sport is drug-free and committed to remaining so. Based on performance, they should not be allowed outdoors without white canes and seeing-eye dogs."
Speaking to 24 Heures on January 4, Pound suggested: "The UCI should change its plans. It is aware that numerous cyclists are doped and knows that it is catching very few of them."
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