All four members of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation Board have resigned ©CADF

All four members of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) Board have today resigned as the International Testing Agency (ITA) prepares to take over the sport's drugs programme.

President Rune Andersen, secretary Christophe Misteli, treasurer Yvan Haymoz and member Andy Parkinson have all stepped down with immediate effect.

It comes after the International Cycling Union (UCI) decided to transfer the running of its anti-doping programme to the ITA in February.

Members of the governing body's Management Committee unanimously agreed to the switch, which will kick in on January 1.

The CADF, an independent entity mandated by the UCI, has been in charge of cycling's drug testing since 2008.

Amina Lanaya, the director general of the UCI, has been informed of the resignations.

Ongoing affairs at the CADF will now be dealt with by the Swiss Company Register and Swiss Supervisory Board due to the complete departure of the leadership team.

CADF said the decision was made to ensure the "smoothest possible transition" to the ITA and to allow the UCI as much time as possible to handle the shift in operations.

"Following the UCI's decision earlier this year to transfer global cycling's anti-doping operations to the ITA, our duty and focus has been to ensure that clean riders' rights are protected and that there is no anti-doping void in the sport," said Andersen.

"With this new era for cycling's anti-doping programme looming closer, and with our mission at the CADF now accomplished, we considered it in the best interest of the sport, and the clean cycling community, to allow as much time as practicable for the transition period ahead of the ITA assuming its responsibilities at the start of 2021.

"It has been a privilege and an honour for the CADF to be at the helm of global cycling's anti-doping programme these past 12 years. 

"Following what was a troubling time for our sport, when doping was rife, international cycling became a pioneer by establishing a fully independent anti-doping body, separate from the governing body, and with zero conflicts of interest. 

Cycling's anti-doping programme is moving to the International Testing Agency ©Getty Images
Cycling's anti-doping programme is moving to the International Testing Agency ©Getty Images

"That model has proven a huge success, and as cycling has become a cleaner, more trusted sport with CADF at the helm, it paved the way for other sports to follow suit with similar independent anti-doping and integrity units emerging in sports such as athletics, tennis, hockey and biathlon. 

"This significant shift in how anti-doping and integrity is run is something that we, and cycling, are rightly proud of.

"We depart from our duties with the sport in a far healthier place than the CADF found it, and with cycling's reputation intact. 

"We are proud to have always fiercely defended the rights of clean riders, and wish the UCI, ITA and other cycling partners the best in the next phase of protecting cycling from doping."

The ITA claims to act independently of any sports organisation or national interest, with the beginning of its operations in June 2018 seen as a key step in the global fight for clean sport.

Its creation was approved by the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board in July 2017, with anti-doping services available to International Federations and major events which are willing to sign up.

More than 40 organisations have so far done so with the UCI claiming in February that making the switch would lead to "numerous benefits".

Their decision to move was dependent on the ITA creating a dedicated cycling unit within its structure and giving CADF employees the chance to join.

"Cycling will benefit from important synergies in areas such as research, innovation, intelligence and investigations, as well as worthwhile prospects in terms of the sharing of costs and resources," a UCI statement said when the deal was announced.

Andersen, who also leads the World Athletics taskforce which is overseeing the potential reinstatement of Russia, said the CADF were "extremely disappointed" when the move was confirmed.

They had presented a "compelling argument" to remain in place, he said, but the organisation has since taken the news with good grace.