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Cycling allowed drugs culture, departing WADA chief says

TORONTO, Sep 20 (Reuters) Cycling is paying the price for allowing a ''culture of doping'' to develop, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chairman Dick Pound said on the day that Floyd Landis was told he would forfeit his Tour de France win.

''It's safe to say they (the International Cycling Union) understand now how serious the problem is and the question is whether they will be able to put a sufficiently robust programme in place to deal with the issue,'' Pound told reporters during a teleconference today.

''We have never said that doping in sport is limited to cycling but I have said that it is a particularly serious problem in cycling and that the leadership in cycling over the past decade has allowed what is a real culture of doping in the sport to develop and it is coming home to roost now.'' American Landis was banned for two years on Thursday and told he would be stripped of his 2006 Tour title after a US arbitration panel found him guilty of taking the banned male hormone testosterone.

Pound, who will hand over the WADA reins at the end of the year, questioned whether golf and baseball were doing enough in the fight to curb the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Leading golf organisations outlined an anti-doping policy for the sport today, which will take effect from 2008, but Pound questioned their decision to create their own list of banned substances and sanctions rather than adopt the world anti-doping code.

''Quite a lot of progress had been made because even two-three months ago the PGA was denying that there was a problem or there would ever be one,'' said Pound as he prepared to preside over his final WADA executive committee meeting at the weekend in Montreal.

''But it's very disappointing to us they would not use the list that has been developed under the code.

''My question to golf would be: is there anything on the list under the world anti-doping code that you think your players should be able to take? ''If there is then golf should indicate what they think their athletes should be able to take that the rest of athletes around the world can't.'' INTERNET SALES Pound challenged Major League Baseball (MLB) to reveal the names of players who have been linked to an investigation into the sale of performance-enhancing drugs over the internet.

''It's disappointing to us that Major League Baseball has made such a concerted and expensive effort to keep players' names who have been involved in this confidential,'' said Pound.

''We've been talking about it for a number of years and have been met with nothing but scorn and denial from Major League Baseball but it's becoming increasingly clear that the problem is serious and widespread.

The weekend executive committee meeting is the last before the third world conference on doping in sport in November in Madrid.

The committee will go over a draft revision of the code and fine tune provisions that will be voted on in Madrid. It will also approve the 2008 banned substance list.


Story first published: Friday, September 21, 2007, 5:34 [IST]
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