Chris Boardman calls for one year bans for teams whose riders are caught doping
Harsh measures called for to restore cycling's credibility after Armstrong scandal… harsh words too for Pat McQuaid and the UCI
Chris Boardman has called for WorldTour teams to be banned from the sport for a year if any of their riders test positive for performance enhancing drugs. He also described the UCI as a mess and was equally scathing about its president, Pat McQuaid.
Speaking exclusively to road.cc in London today, Boardman said the evidence gathered by the USADA of organised and sustained doping surrounding Lance Armstrong was "a massive blow for cycling, just when things have been so positive following on from the lovely summer of sport at the Olympics and Brad winning the Tour."
He also called on cycling's law makers to seize the opportunity presented by the Armstrong scandal to push through tough measures - statements of intent aren't enough to restore credibility," he said.
"Personally I've always been in favour of life bans, but they are very hard to enforce. I really believe in the concept of making the risk greater than than the reward. For cycling to become credible whatever comes next has to have proper teeth."
Boardman's solution is an immediate one year ban for any WorldTour team if one of its riders tests positive.
"You have a single positive and you're out for a year.
"The implications of that are huge. The sponsor is going to have a clause in the contract and the team will have contract with the rider saying 'if you're caught for doping you're going to be penniless.' So the rider's got no incentive to do it, the team's got no incentive to do it. The sponsor is going to police the team, and everybody self polices.
"The penalties are so harsh for everybody in the chain. and that's the kind of thing when you've got the ProTour and it belongs to you, it's the kind of harsh measure you can push through."
Boardman believes that this moment of weakness for the sport caused by the Armstrong revelations is exactly the time when the UCI could get teams to sign up to the sort of strong measures they would usually shy away from.
However whether the current leadership commands the authority within the sport to push through such changes remains in doubt. Amongst the evidence compiled by USADA in its case against Armstrong were details of payments from the rider of $125,000 to cycling's governing body, mot of which the UCI later spent on a blood analysis machine.
Amongst the rider testimony given to USADA were claims that the UCI leadership covered up a suspect test for EPO.
Boardman was equally trenchant on the subject of the UCI, describing cycling's world governing body as "a mess" and while he fell just short of saying that the UCI president, Pat McQuaid should resign, the implication was clear - the Irishman's time is up as the head of world cycling - or it should be.
"There has to be a world governing body, and it's the UCI. It’s a mess right now and how we fix it I don't know, but in most companies when things go badly wrong, people are so emotional about it. They need to see some change and generally the person who leads it resigns,” Boardman told road.cc.
Pressed on whether he was saying that McQuaid should go, Boardman responded:
"Pat McQuaid staying in his position after this… it doesn't give you a great deal of credibility."