McQuaid on Armstrong allegations: He needs to back up claims of corruption in cycling
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Friday, June 28, 2013

McQuaid on Armstrong allegations: He needs to back up claims of corruption in cycling

by VeloNation Press at 7:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
UCI President says he has nothing to hide, and that an independent examination of the sport will happen

Pat McQuaidResponding to today’s article in Le Monde, where Lance Armstrong said that Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen and the UCI itself had much to fear from a Truth and Reconciliation process, McQuaid has said that he has nothing to hide and the governing body is fully willing to have the past assessed.

“The UCI is totally committed to conducting an independent audit into its behaviour during the years when Armstrong was winning the Tour. The UCI’s invitation to WADA to work with us on this stands,” he wrote in a statement issued in response to the article.

“If WADA will not, however, the UCI will press ahead itself and appoint independent experts to carry out this audit.”

The UCI originally said last October that it would allow an Independent Commission to examine its actions during Lance Armstrong’s career, and said that it was confident that the organisation would be fully vindicated.

It ultimately closed down that process after WADA, USADA and the Commission itself called on the UCI to grant an amnesty to those who wanted to give evidence, plus wanted the terms of reference to be broadened.

The action ensured that the UCI’s role won’t be assessed until after the UCI presidential elections in September.

McQuaid said the governing body remains committed to such a process. “The management committee, meeting in Bergen this month, together with the sub-committee appointed to establish the audit together with WADA, have reiterated their total commitment to completing the process.

“And once the audit is completed, the UCI remains totally committed to some form of ‘truth process’ for professional cycling,” he said.

Armstrong told Le Monde that he believed the organisation, and its president, have no credibility as it is. “Pat McQuaid can say and think what he likes, but he has no credit in the fight against doping. Things will simply not change if McQuaid remains in power,” he stated.

“The UCI refuses to put a Truth and Reconciliation commission in place because the evidence that the world would hear would condemn McQuaid, Verbruggen and the whole institution [of the UCI].”

McQuaid insists otherwise in his response. “As I have said on numerous occasions, I have nothing to hide and no fear of any investigation or Truth and Reconciliation process. If Armstrong – or indeed anyone else – has evidence to the contrary, he should produce it now and put a stop to this ongoing damage to cycling,” he said.

“The culture has changed”

McQuaid also addressed Armstrong’s suggestion that it was impossible to win the Tour de France clean. The Texan was commenting specifically about his era, although what seemed a deliberately vague quote by him issued by Le Monde in its advance publicity for tomorrow’s article gave the impression that he was talking generally.

“It is very sad that Lance Armstrong has decided to make this statement on the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France,” said the Irishman.

“However, I can tell him categorically that he is wrong. His comments do absolutely nothing to help cycling. The culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean.

“Riders and teams owners have been forthright in saying that it is possible to win clean – and I agree with them.”

McQuaid refers to the system within cycling as featuring what he termed the most sophisticated anti-doping infrastructure in sport.

“Measures such as the introduction of the blood passport, the whereabouts system and the ‘no-needle’ policy are the backbone of our relentless fight against doping.

“Armstrong has already credited the whereabouts system and the blood passport. As he said himself in his interview with Oprah Winfrey: ‘The introduction of the biological passport [in 2008] worked.’

“Armstrong’s views and opinions are shaped by his own behaviour and time in the peloton. Cycling has now moved on,” he insisted.

“The key thing is that the whole culture in cycling has undergone a complete sea-change. We may not yet have eradicated doping completely – unfortunately there will always be some riders who persist – but we are catching them, and the attitude in the peloton has switched against them.

“We will never turn back – and my work to ensure that we have a clean sport is unrelenting,” he insisted.


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