Cycling: Lance Armstrong heavily critical of UCI president Pat McQuaid in first interview since confession

Disgraced cyclist wants to see Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Lance Armstrong has conducted his first interview since telling Oprah Winfrey he doped throughout his seven Tour de France victories.

The Q&A with Cyclingnews saw the disgraced cyclist launch an attack on the International Cycling Union (UCI) and heavy criticism of its president Pat McQuaid.

Armstrong says the best way forward for cycling is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), saying that using him as a scapegoat is not the way forward.

"It's not the best way, it's the only way. As much as I'm the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director. This is about cycling and to be frank it's about ALL endurance sports. Publicly lynching one man and his team will not solve this problem."

Asked if he felt like a fall guy for the entire sport, Armstrong replied: "Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in."

Armstrong revealed he had spoken to McQuaid about the idea of a TRC but it had been rebuffed.

"A long time ago. When I was on speaking terms with ol' Pat McQuaid many, many months ago I said, 'Pat, you better think bold here. A full blown, global, TRC is our sports best solution.' He wanted to hear nothing of it."

An investigation by the UCI into the Armstrong affair was recently scrapped, and it has emerged the decision was heavily influenced by the likely financial cost to cycling's governing body, it has emerged.

Estimates of the total cost to the governing body were as high as £4million - £3million to run the independent commission and £1million for its own legal costs, sources have told Press Association Sport.

It is understood that sum would swallow up all the UCI's cash reserves and leaving the governing body needing to cover a shortfall.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have ruled out part-funding any inquiry into cycling, and the UCI also approached the International Olympic Committee to see if it would help financially.

UCI president McQuaid announced on Monday it was disbanding the independent commission due to WADA's and the US Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) refusal to take part in the inquiry on the basis that witnesses would not be offered an amnesty to testify.

McQuaid has also warned WADA president John Fahey that he will not allow a separate truth and reconciliation commission to bankrupt the UCI.

In an email to Fahey, McQuaid wrote: "There is still a huge amount to discuss before we can finalise a detailed legal framework for the truth and reconciliation commission, which is a process that is completely unprecedented in sport.

"In particular there is the issue of assessing the cost of and indeed how such a lengthy and expensive process should be funded.

"However, I should stress that, while I am committed to a TRC, it absolutely needs to be a process which is in the best interests of cycling and our federation - and also a process which does not bankrupt it."

Fahey had suggested that the UCI should take out a mortgage on the UCI's "extensive property in Aigle with some Swiss Bank if necessary" to come up with the necessary money.

In an emailed response this week, McQuaid dismissed that suggestion as "facetious and unhelpful".

The UCI's management committee, including British Cycling's president Brian Cookson, will discuss the fall-out from the decision to scrap the commission and its next move at a meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday.

It comes with mounting pressure on the UCI's leadership with WADA accusing them of "deceit and arrogance" for disbanding its inquiry.

The central issue of the inquiry concerned two donations by disgraced drugs cheat Armstrong to the governing body, and whether there was any complicity by the UCI in covering up his doping.

It has already been admitted that the UCI warned Armstrong of a "suspicious" blood result in 2001.

McQuaid has hit back at WADA, accusing Fahey of having a "personal vendetta" against cycling.

Armstrong has said that McQuaid has no place in cycling and in today's interview with Cyclingnews said: "Pat is just in constant CYA (Cover Your Ass) mode. Pathetic."

Armstrong has pressed for an agreement to be reached over a TRC with cycling under threat of descending into chaos.

"Let me say that cycling will never die it will just simmer. Zero growth. Sponsors leaving, races cancelled - this we are seeing. This current state of chaos and petty bullshit, tit for tat, etc, will just ensure that cycling goes flat or negative for a decade plus. Which is a real shame for the current crop of young pros the sport has."

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