UCI President Pat McQuaid regrets(again) accepting Lance Armstrong donation

“It was done with the best interests"...

One of the biggest sticks being used to beat serving UCI president Pat McQuaid was that the UCI accepted a large donation from Lance Armstrong in 2002. McQuaid has previously said that accepting that donation was a mistake, and yesterday repeated that sentiment.

“On reflection, it would have been better had we not taken that money,” McQuaid, told BBC Radio 5 live.

McQuaid is seeking re-election as UCI president, and is opposed by British Cycling president Brian Cookson.

Lance Armstrong was banned from sport for life last year after the United States Anti-Doping Agency found he had been involved in “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.” He subsequently confessed, and has since claimed that it was impossible to win the Tour without doping.

The Armstrong donation was used to buy a Sysmex blood analysis machine, and McQuaid says there was no question of any ulterior motive at the time in the donation or its acceptance.

“When we took it, we announced publicly, with a press statement, that the money was being given and what the money was being used for.

“It was done with the best interests, not in any underhand way.”

McQuaid said in 2010 that Bruyneel and Armstrong visited the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, in May 2002. Armstrong signed over a personal cheque for $25,000 to go toward drugs testing in junior races, and he also promised to donate $100,000 to it to help develop the sport.

He finally paid that money in 2005, after the UCI sent him a reminder, and that was the money the UCI used to buy the Sysmex machine. By that time, accusations had started to mount against Armstrong.

In his election manifesto, McQuaid makes the point that the UCI’s spending on anti-doping has increased on his watch. But when the organisation catches dopers, it gets no credit.

“When we catch cheats, it’s used in a sense as a stick to beat the back of the UCI and I think that’s a little bit unfair,” he said.

“We spend in the region of seven million Swiss Francs (£4.87m) a year to catch cheats.

“You don’t spend that sort of money and fail. You don’t spend that sort of money and not want to catch cheats.”

McQuaid said in 2010 that Bruyneel and Armstrong visited the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, in May 2002. Armstrong signed over a personal cheque for $25,000 to go toward drugs testing in junior races, and he also promised to donate $100,000 to it to help develop the sport.

He finally paid that money in 2005, after the UCI sent him a reminder, and that was the money the UCI used to buy the Sysmex machine. By that time, accusations had started to mount against Armstrong.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Latest Comments