Australia's only professional road cycling team Orica-GreenEDGE (OGE) today announced a range of initiatives to reaffirm its hard-line stance against doping, including a full external expert review of its policies and procedures and a pro-active review of all riders and team members in light of recent disclosures regarding past practices in the sport.
Separately, OGE today announced that team sport director Matt White would be leaving OGE, effective immediately.
"Orica-GreenEDGE is a clean team and our commitment to being clean has been a foundation principle of the team since the day of its inception," team owner Gerry Ryan said.
"To maintain public confidence in our strict adherence to this principle OGE has appointed an eminent and independent external expert to audit the rigour and effectiveness of the team's anti-doping policies and procedures."
The team has appointed Nicki Vance to lead this review. Vance established the testing and international programs for the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) , headed up the Anti-Doping Program for the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and was a start up Director for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). She has been an independent anti-doping consultant since 2002.
The objectives of the Vance Review are specific and straightforward:
• Confirm that Orica-GreenEDGE's anti-doping policies, protocols and recruitment procedures are world's best practice and are being implemented without exception; and
• Recommend and oversee the implementation of any necessary enhancements.
All riders and team members recruited to OGE at its inception were accepted after approval from the UCI. The team accepts that recent events may have diminished public confidence in this process.
OGE owner Gerry Ryan said: "Professional cycling is at a cross roads. The future of the sport is being determined by what we do today. OGE will not step back from taking any necessary decision to protect the integrity of the sport and the team and to restore the confidence of cycling fans around the world."
"It's time to put our values to work," Ryan said.
"OGE believes a hard-line approach is an essential pre-requisite to continue in the sport with credibility."
In order to send the clearest possible signal of OGE's commitment to a clean team, OGE is proactively reviewing all riders and team members. This is being undertaken in consultation with all relevant agencies and will take into account any new evidence.
Separately to this process, OGE has been awaiting the outcome of the ASADA process into Matthew White's involvement in doping in the US Postal team.
OGE had indicated that it would await the outcomes of this process before determining its next steps. However, following discussions with Matt it has been determined that he will leave OGE effective immediately.
OGE, General Manager Shayne Bannan said the team would continue to have a strong voice in the AIGCP (the professional team's association) in order to seek unity and a common path on these crucial issues.
"Cycling must take the opportunity now to make the right decisions for the future of the sport as a whole. We want to contribute to this process and we want to involve both the teams and the UCI. The teams will meet with the UCI in the beginning of the December and we are fully committed to participate actively in real and long-term solutions for the sport. We're a new team in the sport and it's important to us to show initiative for something so fundamental for cycling", Bannan said.
Naming rights sponsor Orica supported the initiatives announced today.
"We support the initiatives being taken by team management to ensure that it is clear Orica-GreenEDGE rejects doping in the past, today and in the future. The sport of professional cycling is going through a crucial period and we support the proactive and hard-line stance being taken against doping", said Gavin Jackman, Global Head of Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility.