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UCI President also expresses hope that giverning body and WADA can overcome their differences

UCI president Pat McQuaid has hit back at his critics, insisting that doping has become less widespread in cycling since he took charge in 2006 and holding out the hope that the governing body may yet overcome its differences with the World Anti-Doping Agency. He also made it clear that he has no intention of stepping down.

Speaking ahead of the UCI Track World Championships which start today in Minsk, Belarus, McQuaid, quoted on ESPN.co.uk, said: "I work 365 days a year for this sport, travel the world promoting the sport, have done so for a good few years.

"I feel I've achieved a lot in the seven-and-a-half years I've been president, in terms of developing the sport on a global basis and also in the fight against doping. I would like to do more. What I set out to do was change the culture, from a doping culture to an anti-doping culture. I do believe that is happening and I would like to see it through.

"When I do quit as president I'd like to look back to say I've achieved something with the sport.”

Referring to the fallout from the Lance Armstrong scandal, McQuaid said: "It has been difficult the last couple of months, but it's difficult dealing with something which happened 15 years ago. It's a long time ago. The landscape was different then to what it is today. We have to get through it and look forward. That's what the UCI is doing."

The reference to “15 years ago” – 1998 – is a curious one. That was the year Armstrong returned to cycling after fighting cancer, and the year before he won the first of the seven Tour de France titles he has since been stripped of, together with all other results in cycling up to his eventual retirement in 2011.

It’s also eight years before the Operacion Puerto scandal broke, and the years since then have seen a number of other high-profile doping cases resulting in bans for riders including Alberto Contador, who tested positive for clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France. Meanwhile, the Padua investigation in Italy is likely to result in a further wave of doping allegations.

In recent weeks, there has been a war of words between the UCI and WADA, mainly centred on the issue of setting up a truth and reconciliation process to allow those with past involvement in doping to come forward and reveal what they know, thereby allowing the sport to move on.

WADA insists that such a process should be managed by the Independent Commission that the UCI set up to examine its own role in the Armstrong affair but disbanded at the end of last month.

Despite the angry words that have been exchanged in the media between McQuaid and WADA president John Fahey, the UCI president remains hopeful that the two organisations’ differences can be overcome.

"I have always said relations with WADA, at an operational level, have always been excellent. They continue to be excellent," he maintained.

"Political level it's different, but hopefully we'll be able to work something out now on truth and reconciliation. It's something which would suit the sport and will allow us to draw a line in the sand."

McQuaid also said that the ongoing Operacion Puerto trial demonstrated clearly that doping was not an issue confined to cycling, with other sports finding themselves increasingly under the spotlight.

"My responsibility is my sport and what we do in our sport," he stated. "

The UCI has always stated that doping isn't a cycling-only related issue. It's a sports-related issue.

"We've always done the maximum in the fight against doping. We'd maintain that and can stand by that. The fact that other sports are now coming under scrutiny is really for the other sports to deal with.

"As far as I'm concerned I'm concentrating on cycling and what more we can do to ensure that we protect clean athletes and have a sport which is credible going forward."
 

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.

10 comments

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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Even if the consensus was that he had done a good job for 7.5 years, it would still be time to go! Organisations need fresh faces & fresh ideas.

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djcritchley [181 posts] 3 years ago
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Go now Pat.

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bikecellar [268 posts] 3 years ago
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My early working life was as a farm labourer/cowman I know BULLSHIT when I see it.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 3 years ago
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The budget for the biological passport was halved in 2010. This is a system Pat is proud of, but which nevertheless failed to pick up anomalous values from Lance Armstrong during his comeback. I just don't believe that he's serious at following through on anti-doping. Get lost Pat!

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bikeandy61 [537 posts] 3 years ago
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I will cling on for dear life and the trouble is who has any power to shift him or Verbruggen from their posts? He is and always has been in my opinion, typical of modern politicians.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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Word is Pat's losing support in Europe, which could be critical when it comes to voting time

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Seoige [104 posts] 3 years ago
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What a crock of shit! He should have said that whilst I recognise that doping is not particular to the sport of Cycling, as head of the UCI, I have been ineffective in managing it!! Only up until the USADA report, the UCI would still have left their heads in the sand. They have no credibility whatsoever under the old guard. McQuaid and Verbruggen are dug in like ticks. The only legacy he will leave behind is that he was caught with his pants down.  39

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Pat McQuaid Must Go [3 posts] 3 years ago
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Set up this page on Facebook (Pat McQuaid Must Go) about three months ago. Most commenters here seem to be in agreement! Only Pat and his family think he is doing a good job.... hope Sam1 is correct about the waning support in Europe. Or that Lance will finally spill ALL the beans involving Pat and his ventriloquist friend Hein.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Is "There used to be a problem with doping, but it's all right now." the official motto of the UCI? They've been saying it for decades.

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Lungsofa74yearold [283 posts] 3 years ago
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Fascinated to know what exactly he has achieved in the past 7 years - leading cycling into an endless toilet perhaps!?  19