20 Essex Street and Macfarlanes lead on cycling’s doping probe

Macfarlanes and 20 Essex Street have secured lead roles on a review of cycling’s governing body in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Geoff Steward
Geoff Steward

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has set up an independent commission to look into its approach to tackling doping during Armstrong’s Tour de France title-winning streak.

Macfarlanes partner Geoff Steward has been instructed as legal advisor to the commission and has instructed Guy Morpuss QC of 20 Essex Street as lead counsel and Patricia Edwards as junior counsel.

The commission itself will be chaired by 20 Essex Street member and former Court of Appeal judge Sir Philip Otton, with fellow 20 Essex Street member Malcolm Holmes QC and House of Lords peer and Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson also on the panel.

The hearing will be held in April 2013 with a wide remit to look at issues and allegations arising out of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) decision to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles.

The UCI will be instructing lawyers to represent them at the hearing, but have not released any further details.

Lawyers for the commission will appoint a firm of forensic accountants and medical experts to act as advisors. They are set to request full disclosure from the UCI of key documents including statements from officers and employees, and invite people to contact them with information.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said: “As I have said previously, the commission’s report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.

“We will co-operate fully with the commission and provide them with whatever they need to conduct their inquiry and we urge all other interested stakeholders to do the same. We will listen to and act on their recommendations.”

Since the revelations about Armstrong became public, The Times publisher News International has been considering whether to seek to recover costs from a libel case it lost against the cyclist in 2006 (22 October 2012).