From the perspective of the men in charge at the UCI he Armstrong interview couldn't really have gone any better. He admitted doping, said the UCI had not covered up for him, and even endorsed the UCI's Biological Passport Programme as having transformed the landscape for serial dopers like himself. All of this was reflected in UCI president Pat McQuaid's comments on the interview:
“Lance Armstrong’s decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport," he said.
“Lance Armstrong has confirmed there was no collusion or conspiracy between the UCI and Lance Armstrong. There were no positive tests which were covered up and he has confirmed that the donations made to the UCI were to assist in the fight against doping.
“It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including among others doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test result.
“However, Lance Armstrong also rightly said that cycling is a completely different sport today than it was 10 years ago. In particular the UCI's introduction of the biological passport in 2008 – the first sports federation to do so - has made a real difference in the fight against doping.
Some might wonder whether the UCI should set any store by the endorsement of their programme's effectiveness by a self confessed doper and bully, with a win at all costs mentality, and a vested interest in the public efficacy of the programme given his assertion that he raced clean during his comeback.
It is also worth noting that the UCI President had nothing to say about Armstrong's assertion in the interview that his controversial donation to the UCI was made at the UCI's suggestion and not his. Maybe that was too difficult an issue to deal with at four in the morning.
McQuaid's final comment in which he "welcomed" Armstrong's offer to take part in a truth and reconciliation process underlines the organisation's continually evolving position on such a process, one day in favour, then against, then in favour again - with certain conditions. But more on that later.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.