Robin Scott-Elliot: Forget war on doping, UCI president Pat McQuaid is happier fighting critics
There was one moment during his hour-long appearance in front of the media yesterday when Pat McQuaid, president of his sport's governing body and once a promising cyclist himself, outlined his reasoning for never having become a pro rider some four decades earlier. It was because, he said, he knew it meant he would have to make a decision whether to dope or not.
Paul Kimmage, the former pro rider turned journalist, tells a story of the moment when he was offered the chance to dope as he lay exhausted on a treatment table during his first Tour de France. He said no, and has since become a persistent campaigner to expose the practice. McQuaid said yesterday the fight against doping was one of the main reasons he sought the UCI presidency seven years ago.
McQuaid and the UCI are currently suing Kimmage. McQuaid insists it has nothing to do with Lance Armstrong or doping, it's simply about defamation. Kimmage claimed the UCI covered up a positive test recorded by Armstrong. No we didn't, say the UCI. They do admit receiving a large donation from Armstrong but insist it is unconnected. They spent $25,000 of the donation on dope tests for junior riders.
The governing body recently won a defamation case against Floyd Landis, a former Tour winner, doper and one of those who gave evidence against Armstrong. He made a similar claim. Landis is not allowed, according to the ruling, to say the UCI are "corrupt, terrorists, fools, full of s***, clowns, liars, no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi."
Nobody sent in the clowns in Aigle, the UCI's Swiss HQ, yesterday but if a man with large feet and a big red nose had taken a seat at the top table he might have gone unnoticed.
The UCI just doesn't seem to get it. "We don't have money like Fifa" was one line of defence laid down by McQuaid for their struggle to combat doping. That means McQuaid and the UCI can see no conflict of interest in accepting donations from riders or teams to aid the fight against doping – a fight McQuaid, incidentally, does not believe can be won.
Nevertheless there is no reason for anyone to resign over all this, McQuaid insisted, pointing out that it didn't happen on his watch – it happened when Hein Verbruggen was in charge, but the honorary president should not resign either.
"It's been a pretty horrific seven years," he said of the incidents of doping he has had to deal with during his tenure. But, hey, what can you do? Except sue.
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.