Former UCI president Pat McQuaid has revealed he has not yet made up his mind over whether to give evidence to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), but maintains he will not be drawn into “a witch hunt.”
McQuaid was ousted from the position, which he had held for eight years, in last September’s UCI presidential election in Florence, losing the vote to British Cycling’s Brian Cookson by 24 votes to 18.
In his election manifesto, Cookson had pledged to restore cycling’s credibility, including launching an independent investigation into issues such as allegations that the UCI helped cover up Lance Armstrong’s doping.
Those accusations were set out by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in its reasoned decision in the Armstrong case, after it banned him for life in October 2012 and stripped him of results including his seven Tour de France titles.
They include the controversial donations totalling $125,000 that Armstrong offered to the UCI in 2001, allegedly in connection with a suspect test for EPO during that year’s Tour de Suisse.
McQuaid later said the UCI was wrong to accept the money, most of which was paid several years later after the governing body reminded Armstrong of his pledge.
According to a report in the Irish Independent, McQuaid told Press Association Sport: McQuaid, UCI president from 2005 to 2013, told Press Association Sport that he was undecided about whether to appear before the CIRC.
"I haven't made my mind up yet,” he said. “I need to be convinced that this commission is going to look into all of the aspects of the reasons why doping was prevalent.
"That is who was actually responsible, not just the UCI, but also people like WADA and USADA.
"As I see in the terms of reference, there's no inquiry into what their responsibilities may or may not have been in relation to doping and the fight against doping.”
McQuaid added: "I don't want to see a witch hunt into me and [his predecessor as UCI president] Hein Verbruggen only, when others have been responsible as well and should be asked to account for themselves as well."
It may strike some as strange that McQuaid chose to use the term, “witch hunt.”
The phrase was used by Armstrong himself when he made a surprise announcement in August 2012 that he no longer intended to fight USADA’s investigation of him.
McQuaid and Verbruggen, have always denied that that they helped Armstrong escape doping sanctions, as did the American in his confession live on television to Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.
However, last November he told the Daily Mail that Verbruggen had helped come up with the idea of a bogus prescription for a saddle sore cream following a failed test for a corticosteroid in the 1999 Tour de France.
That was the first of the seven consecutive editions of the race that Armstrong won and ultimately had taken away from him.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.