Amnesty Is Not the Answer to Fight Doping in Cycling

Photo: Petit Brun/
Christian Vandevelde, among others, only received a six month ban during the winter months with few races. Photo: Petit Brun/

In the high profiled doping case against former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, many still active former team mates witnessed against the American.

Therefore, they received a reduced ban for their own violations of the doping rules. But that kind of amnesty is not the solution to the sport’s doping problems, says Frederic Donze, director of WADA’s European office.

“I think the difficulty about an amnesty is that if you do it, what about other athletes that has been sanctioned in other sports?,” Frederic Donze says.

Harmonization between sports has to be maintained

The same rules have to apply to all sports, the argument is. Therefore, no special rules can be used to clear up the doping mess in a single sport.

“If a basketball player is sanctioned for doping and see that a doped bike rider has benefitted from an amnesty, I think the concept of harmonization and fairness is a bit lost,” Frederic Donze says.

In the Armstrong case, riders as Christian Vandevelde and David Zabriskie only received a six month ban, even during the winter months with few races.

The size of the case is not important

Even though the US Postal case was very high profiled, Frederic Donze is convinced that the witnesses would have received the same ban whatever the size of the case.

“I don’t think we are looking at it from a publicity perspective. It is purely legally speaking. I think it would make no difference if they had revealed doping on a more low profile team,” Frederic Donze says.

Frederic Donze has worked for WADA since 2002.

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