Greg Lemond, the man who after Lance Armstrong's removal from the palmares remains the USA's only Tour de France winner, launched a blistering attack on the UCI, specifically aimed at incumbent president Pat McQuaid and honorary president Hein Verbruggen.
The former rider, who was targeted by Lance Armstrong and dropped from the Trek umbrella in the years after he questioned the Texan's rise to prominence after his battle with cancer, said that he had "never seen such an abuse of power in cycling's history" and called for the two figureheads of the UCI to step down, if they love cycling. He also called for Paul Kimmage to use his defense fund – which shot up to nearly $73,000 overnight – to not fight the UCI lawsuit, which he described as "bogus", but to lobby for real change in cycling.
It certainly goes to show that there's still some very strong feelings about McQuaid and Verbruggen's leadership of a sport that effectively went to pieces under their watch. Although McQuaid has insisted that "When I started as UCI president I made the fight against doping my priority", Lemond clearly doesn't think that the drugs are the nub of the issue: "The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption."
That's the kind of talk that normally has Pat and Hein hailing a taxi to the Vevey district court, so we'll see what happens in this case. Not that it seems that Lemond would necessarily contest, or care about, any lawsuit that they might attempt to bring to his door, given his clear feelings about the one currently ongoing against Kimmage.
Lemond's parting shot is a call for the sport to barnkrupt the UCI: "If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is. Don't buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go," he concludes. Although it would probably take more of a worldwide movement than just an American veto to seriously affect the UCI's coffers, Lemond is clear that now is the time for action: "The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!"
Here's the full text of the letter, which can also be found on Greg Lemond's facebook page
Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own "rage" out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling's history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
Pat McQuaid, you know damn well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.
I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
As a reminder I just want to point out that recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA's investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the "cause"? Why shoot the messenger every time?
Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!
The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.
You can read all about Webster's definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney's response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hein that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.
I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.
I donated money for Paul's defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage's defense, (Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI's bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).
If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.
Don't buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.
Please make a difference.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.