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UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
UCI president says Lance Armstrong will be forgotten
UCI president Pat McQuaid has blamed "mischievous" reporting behind many of the accusations and allegations that have been directed towards himself and the sport's governing body. McQuaid reportedly believes he has done everything possible in the fight against doping and that while the UCI has introduced many measures to combat doping, the landscape is constantly changing.
The UCI has been somewhat on the back foot when it comes to anti-doping measures however, McQuaid told The Irish Examiner that nothing more could be done to catch the former seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
"The UCI tested Armstrong and his team so many times, it was always negative," said McQuaid to The Irish Examiner.
"WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] tested him, always negative, USADA [US Anti-Doping] tested him, always negative. AFLD [French National Doping Agency] tested him, always negative, CONI [Italian Olympic Committee] tested him, always negative.
"So the fact that the results were always negative, you ask could more have been done? No it couldn't, simple as that.
"There's been a lot of that as time goes on; the UCI introduces new tests and then the landscape changes," McQuaid added.
"We're not a police force. My attitude since day one is ‘do whatever it takes'. I don't see any reason why I should step down, to let somebody in [who] maybe doesn't know as much, or is as capable, or isn't as passionate, or as dedicated. I think I am the best man."
In the extended interview with McQuaid, the Irishman reaffirmed his stance that he would not be resigning from the position he's held at the top of the UCI since 2006. Further to his refusal to step down, McQuaid pointed-out former professional and journalist Paul Kimmage for having a "personal vendetta" against him while also noting "michevious" reporting behind many of the accusations directed towards his role.
"I've done nothing to warrant resigning. All I've done since I became president is fight doping as best I could. All I've done is fight doping, promote the sport, working 365 days of the year for the sport," he said.
"It's a personal vendetta he's got against me and the only way he can pull me down is to associate me very closely with my predecessor Hein Verbruggen, doping and Lance Armstrong," said McQuaid regarding Kimmage.
"That's the only way he can see to bring me down. This year hasn't been easy for me. It's been difficult and I've put up with a huge amount of criticism, most of which is unjustified but that's the way the media operate."
The independent commission charged with investigating the UCI in the wake of the USADA Reasoned Decision was also on the President's list of gripes, firing back at suggestions he was involved in setting the reference terms for the report.
"The next step is seeing what the independent commission come up with," said McQuaid. "But, by the way, there's more mischievous reporting there. That commission was set up to investigate us and how we handled the Lance affair.
"There's been mischievous statements coming out from the likes of Jaime Fuller saying the UCI set the terms of reference and gave them to the commission - the UCI did not set the terms, the commission themselves set the terms of reference.The first I saw the terms of reference was an hour before they went public by the commission!"
McQuaid has a strong belief the sport of professional cycling will move forward, citing the damning light shed on Armstrong's US Postal and Discovery Channel team days as something which will be eventually forgotten.
"There's nothing to hide from my point of view. I do believe, either way, come 2013, Lance will be forgotten anyway. The sport will move on."
"Look at Wiggins this year. I think the sport is in a very good position. Cycling shouldn't be judged on the Lance Armstrong story. It should be judged on the Olympic Games. 1.5 million people for the road race, the Velodrome was the hottest in terms of atmosphere. The BMX was hugely successful, the mountain biking was hugely successful. The sport is in a great place and is growing.
"So I don't think this is going to have any huge negative effect on the sport. Things are going in the right direction."
With numerous teams and sponsors pulling out of the sport and disassociating themselves from cycling, it may take some time for everyone to forget the years of Armstrong's reign.