Brian Cookson on Breach of Froome’s TUE Confidentiality

UCI President Brian Cookson talks athlete privacy in an exclusive interview on The Telegraph Cycling Podcast.

Last month I wrote about the issue of TUE confidentiality in pro cycling, and how the standard was breached in the case of Chris Froome at the Tour de Romandie. Now UCI President Brian Cookson has addressed that specific topic thanks to Richard Moore raising the question.

The Telegraph Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie, and Daniel Friebe is a can’t-miss daily release during the Tour de France (interviews, analysis, the big talking points covered). On Thursday they published a 25 minute interview with UCI President Brian Cookson in which they “asked him about the state of the sport following three high profile doping cases, the controversy of Chris Froome’s therapeutic use exemption and how the sport can be improved for television.”

The whole interview is worth hearing but I was especially interested in the following passage as it related to TUE confidentiality (this section can be heard at the 12:45 mark of the podcast linked above):

Richard Moore: …the breach of medical confidentiality relating to Froome—and the news that really shouldn’t have come out, about his TUE… Can you tell us what you’re doing to find out how the information was leaked?

Brian Cookson: Well, that is of great concern to me. We are looking at whether that leak has come out of the UCI. First indications are that UCI was not the source of the leak — and that, again, causes me great concern. So, we will continue to check that.

I think the people at the UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation are very, very aware of the sensitivity of that sort of thing. And leaking that sort of information is not compatible with working in those organizations—if I can put it tactfully. So let’s see what happens there.

When there is information like this around it is very important that those things are handled properly, confidentially. There is always a conflict, if you like, between transparency and confidentiality and due process in these cases. So we’ll do what we can at UCI and Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation will equally do the same, but there are others involved as well.

It sounds like a person will be punished if he/she is identified, and that is encouraging to hear. I am wondering: who exactly is tasked with conducting the review and what is his/her timeline? Which bodies fall within the scope of the review (only UCI, or also CADF, race organizer, etc.)?

Hopefully the investigation concludes swiftly, the leak is appropriately sanctioned, potential future leaks are deterred, and the athletes gain trust in their governing body. Stay tuned.