Angst-ridden sports bosses who have endured sleepless nights since the Australian Crime Commission released its report on drugs and corruption could perhaps find some comfort by considering a counterpart in cycling.
While AFL and NRL administrators, players, coaches and doctors have waited 30 days so far to learn how much darker the so-called darkest day in Australian sport might get, it is nearly five months since Cycling Australia’s president, Klaus Mueller, learnt that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority was launching an unprecedented inquiry of his sport.
Since ASADA announced a domestic response to Lance Armstrong’s demise last October – an event that triggered the resignations of Australian national road coach Matt White, and Cycling Australia vice-president Stephen Hodge due to past doping – the only statement the national anti-doping body has made on the matter is that it does not yet have a meaningful statement to make.
ASADA investigators, meanwhile, have quietly approached and interrogated elite cyclists – retired and current – in a bid to get to the truth of a matter that has always been excruciatingly hard to crack. Rumours circulate but legitimate findings are yet to be tabled.
Mueller admitted the past five months had felt like ”a bloody long time”. And yet after a prolonged period of anxious nothing, a sporting world could cave in at a moment’s notice. Exhibit A: the Cronulla Sharks.
”There might be an announcement tomorrow which hits you between the eyes like a two-by-four,” Mueller said.
”Hopefully that won’t happen, but I’m not that naive to think that we’re not necessarily going to take a whacking from ASADA.
”We are not briefed about it, it is completely arms length, and we have no influence over it … and that’s the way it ought to be.”
Though Cycling Australia’s chief remains patient, at least outwardly, other highly credentialled figures in the sport are expressing privately how they’re feeling the pinch. A public claim by confessed doper and former track champion Martin Vinnicombe that someone who once helped him inject still holds a senior position in Australian cycling hangs in the air.
Mueller has presented his view that those exonerated in ASADA’s investigation into the sport should have their names cleared. Naturally he wants everything to happen sooner rather than later.
”I would prefer ASADA had more resources so they could expedite these things,” he said.
”If people are cheating we want them out of the sport as quickly as possible … it’s bad for the sport and there are question marks hanging over people’s heads, so that’s bad for the individual.”
Mueller stopped short at saying five months was too long to effectively be left hanging by ASADA.
”I think it would be arrogant and presumptuous of me to say that when I really don’t know what obstacles they are facing, and what resources they have to face those with,” he said.
”Perhaps they’ve been interviewing people over and over again to do the investigation thoroughly … I want them to come up with the right results rather than with instant results.
”I think the poor buggers have just got too much on their plate.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.