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Cycling's governing body attempts to set record straight as row with WADA continues ...

The UCI has published private correspondence between its president Pat McQuaid and John Fahey and David Howman, respectively president and secretary general of the World Anti Doping Agency, in an attempt to set the record straight over what was said between the two organisations in recent days.

The exchange reveals the acrimony between the two men heading up the bodies that will have most influence in how the sport moves on from the damaging revelations in recent weeks – on the one hand, the president of the governing body, on the other, the man who presides over the global agency tasked with fighting the menace of doping.

Much of the argument centres over who should pay for a Truth & Reconciliation Process, and according to WADA, the bill rests with the UCI, with Howman confirming that he had told McQuaid in a telephone conversation: “I suggested you might have to consider raising money by way of mortgage on the extensive property in Aigle with some Swiss Bank if necessary,” – a suggestion McQuaid describes as “somewhat facetious and unhelpful.”

The unusual move followed Fahey’s condemnation of the UCI earlier today as “arrogant” and “deceitful” regarding its decision, announced last night, to disband the Independent Commission it had set up to examine its role in the Lance Armstrong scandal, and to move ahead with formulating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in partnership with WADA – something the agency says isn’t true.

The United States Anti Doping Agency has also been highly critical of the UCI, and the Independent Commission has also issued a statement responding to yesterday’s events in which it questions the ability of the UCI and WADA to work alongside each other.

The correspondence released by the UCI this evening is as follows (with links to the documents on the UCI website):

1. An email from Howman to McQuaid dated Tuesday 23 January 2013 (three days before the Independent Commission’s public hearing last Friday).

2. An email from McQuaid to Fahey (c/o Howman) dated Monday 28 January 2013 in reply to an email from Fahey dated Saturday 26 January 2013.

As far as the tones of the correspondence is concerned, it has to be said that McQuaid’s comes across as more conciliatory than Howman’s, although that does in some ways reflect their natural styles.

It perhaps also reflects the fact however that the UCI is seen by WADA to have done too little too late and that the time has passed in which they could have been reconciled to each other’s respective positions. McQuaid is therefore trying his best to build bridges; Fahey, exasperated, is rejecting the approach.

It’s also clear, however, that they both have a very different take on what was said between them, and short of a transcript of the conversation between them suddenly materialising, it’s impossible to determine exactly where the truth lies.

The ball is now back in WADA’s court to respond to the UCI. It’s likely to take exception not only to the governing body’s wildly differing version of events, but also the fact that it has gone public with what was presumably intended to be a private exchange without apparently receiving prior permission.

There seems little prospect yet of a rapprochement between the parties. 

In a press release commenting on WADA’s response earlier today and the UCI’s own decision to put the correspondence in the public domain, McQuaid said:

“I am very saddened that it has come to this, but I cannot allow the latest blatant and aggressive misrepresentations contained in WADA’s most recent press release to go unchallenged.

“Mr Fahey is saying one thing in public and quite the opposite in correspondence with me, as the attached communications show. 
  


“The UCI reached out to WADA in a spirit of partnership. This is about doing what is right for cycling. This is not the time for showmanship, or political point scoring.

“The UCI is perplexed that WADA has now chosen to rebuff and attack the UCI’s willingness to establish a TRC, having just demanded that the UCI establish exactly such a commission. 
  


“We have now reached this sorry juncture because WADA publicly questioned the independence of the Independent Commission, criticised its terms of reference as being too Armstrong-centric (despite that being the whole basis for its establishment), repeatedly called for a broader inquiry into doping in the peloton, and over this past weekend stated unequivocally, both orally and in writing, that it had no faith in the Commission which it referred to as ‘the so-called Independent Commission’ and which it asserted was ‘too compromised’ to continue in office. 
  


“Mr Fahey stated clearly in his letter to me that he believed ‘the process should start over from a new beginning’, regardless of the cost consequences for the UCI. 
  


“Astonishingly, now that the UCI has once again tried to work with WADA by establishing the very body that it has been loudly calling for, it is disappointing, to say the least, to see Mr Fahey expressing support for the Commission that he had just condemned as having ‘no credibility’. 
  


“In my letter to Mr Fahey, the UCI reached out to WADA in a spirit of partnership and cooperation. It is time to put personalities aside and work together for the future of cycling and sport more generally. 
  


“In his letter to me, Mr Fahey’s recollections of our telephone conversation differs in a great many important respects from my own. As just one example, shown in the emails we have been forced to release today: Mr Fahey knew very well that I would call him, but not (as he claims) because he had been informed by the media, rather because we had arranged the call several days earlier in an email exchange with his Director General David Howman, with him in copy. 
  


“The UCI is determined not to dwell on WADA’s inconsistent behaviour. We wish to reaffirm our commitment to establishing the TRC, and hope and expect WADA, NADOs, National Federations, Tour Organisers and professional teams to engage in that process for the benefit of the sport.
  


“I would therefore urge the President of WADA one more time to try to set his personal vendetta and crusade against cycling aside and to support the UCI in doing what is right for cycling. Our aims are the same: to rid cycling and indeed all sports of the scourge of doping.”
 

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.

16 comments

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ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 3 years ago
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I like the line about mortgaging the UCI headquarters. Hopefully they'll default, and Pat will end up on the mean streets of Aigle, with a cardboard sign that says, "Will sanction sporting events for food."

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bigant [43 posts] 3 years ago
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Always wonder if somebody had just goosed Mcquaid in that pic.

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Paul J [836 posts] 3 years ago
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Pat is very good at sounding conciliatory, while failing to do any of the sensible things people have advised him to do, but instead explaining all the various ways in which he is blocked from doing those things.

He and the UCI are masters of justified inaction, except when it comes to taking money from suspect, star athletes and warning them about dodgy test results.

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therevokid [911 posts] 3 years ago
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Quite honestly ... I give up on the whole affair as it's
just getting ridiculous now. talk about toys out of the
pram !!

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
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Ok, so with these emails available, I figured I'd read them with an open mind. So, with both sides in equal (in my head) standing, it appears to go something like this:

USADA blows up Lance Armstrong, implicates (among others) the UCI

The UCI accepts the USADAs findings, says "Who, us?! Oh my!" and sets up the independent commission to investigate UCI involvment in LA affair.

WADA then reckon that the terms of reference were not really to investigate the UCI's wrongdoings, but to essentially provide a rebuttal of USADAs reasoned report (see the 'by the back door' comment by Fahey).

As also implied in John Fahey's mail (forwarded by David Howman), the Commissions lawyers advised that the terms of reference should be changed, but the IC was apparently unable to do so. This ties in with the general perception that the individuals appointed to the IC are indeed independent, but that the outcome probably wasn't going to be what we hoped for.

WADA then suggest that the IC is therefore useless, and suggest that there are a number of steps which need to be taken with a view to the setup of a TRC.

UCI then jump forward a few steps, taking the opportunity to immediately shut down the IC and publicly declaring the formation of a TRC.

WADA make the point that as such a thing has not been done before, it needs to go through extensive lawyerease to construct the framework etc.

Definitely looks like Pat is the one fooling around with smoke and mirrors. I think the one good point Pat has is that WADA should also be working harder to root out the cheats in other sports.

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stumps [3184 posts] 3 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Ok, so with these emails available, I figured I'd read them with an open mind. So, with both sides in equal (in my head) standing, it appears to go something like this:

USADA blows up Lance Armstrong, implicates (among others) the UCI

The UCI accepts the USADAs findings, says "Who, us?! Oh my!" and sets up the independent commission to investigate UCI involvment in LA affair.

WADA then reckon that the terms of reference were not really to investigate the UCI's wrongdoings, but to essentially provide a rebuttal of USADAs reasoned report (see the 'by the back door' comment by Fahey).

As also implied in John Fahey's mail (forwarded by David Howman), the Commissions lawyers advised that the terms of reference should be changed, but the IC was apparently unable to do so. This ties in with the general perception that the individuals appointed to the IC are indeed independent, but that the outcome probably wasn't going to be what we hoped for.

WADA then suggest that the IC is therefore useless, and suggest that there are a number of steps which need to be taken with a view to the setup of a TRC.

UCI then jump forward a few steps, taking the opportunity to immediately shut down the IC and publicly declaring the formation of a TRC.

WADA make the point that as such a thing has not been done before, it needs to go through extensive lawyerease to construct the framework etc.

Definitely looks like Pat is the one fooling around with smoke and mirrors. I think the one good point Pat has is that WADA should also be working harder to root out the cheats in other sports.

I have to agree with you here. The UCI seem to want to show themselves as open as possible whilst trying their utmost to be in control of the whole sorry mess so they can cherry pick what is released to us.

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 3 years ago
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bigant wrote:

Always wonder if somebody had just goosed Mcquaid in that pic.

It's the look of a man who had just strolled purposefully out of the hospitality tent at Paris-Roubaix start and gets stopped by some random person wanting to take his pic  3

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 3 years ago
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This is getting juvenile, at some point someone surely has to take control of this, the objective is getting lost, maybe that's the plan.

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Nzlucas [122 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

I have to agree with you here. The UCI seem to want to show themselves as open as possible whilst trying their utmost to be in control of the whole sorry mess so they can cherry pick what is released to us.

If I was Fahey would pissed off! Pat and the UCI just politically out manourved him and it is a classic example of how the slimy bastard Pat McQaid survives. This going to messy for years to come...

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Just out of interest, whatever happened to the UCI investigating USADA's assertion that it was complicit with Lance Armstrong? Also, their legal action against Paul Kimmage was not dropped, but put on hold until the Independent Commission made its report. Will this case now be reactivated?

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stumps [3184 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

Just out of interest, whatever happened to the UCI investigating USADA's assertion that it was complicit with Lance Armstrong? Also, their legal action against Paul Kimmage was not dropped, but put on hold until the Independent Commission made its report. Will this case now be reactivated?

Very good point, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

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Neys [20 posts] 3 years ago
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Interestingly, McQuaid has left his contact details on display:

Pat McQuaid
President
International Cycling Union
CH - 1860 Aigle
Switzerland
Tel: +41-24.468.58.11
Fax:+41-24.468.58.54
www.uci.ch

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pwake [374 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyone fancy going for a bike ride?

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dullard [140 posts] 3 years ago
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The underlying problem for mad fat Pat is that, much like with, say, Lance Armstrong, Tony Blair, Benito Mussolini, Chemical Ali and Josef Goebbels, nobody believes anything he says. He has no credibility, no real standing and no real authority. If he doesn't get voted out in March (I think it is), we will know that the national cycling federations are all bent as well.

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American tifosi [38 posts] 3 years ago
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So what would happen if WADA and USADA refused to participate in any UCI sanctioned events forthwith. Let them swing in the breeze. Given the immediate mass exodus of sponsors upon hearing this news, UCI would have no other choice than folding their tent and a new governing body can take it's place. McQuaid would be forced out along with all others associated with the current discredited organization. Work for me.  39

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Seoige [104 posts] 2 years ago
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The UCI as a governing body have no credibility whatsoever. Of course the UCI should pay for the TRC commission as they are the governing body, then to suggest they are unwilling probably means that with the sponsors running for the hills, they have a cash flow problem. To then suspend the internal investigation is simply a chess move by McQuaid to prolong his sorry ass tenure. Fahey is so right. UCI are full of it.  44