UCI President again refuses to accept blame for cycling's doping problems
UCI President Pat McQuaid has called on Lance Armstrong to "jump on his private plane and come to Switzerland and say 'what can I do?'," to help the overcome the doping problems that have caused so much damage to the sport.
Speaking in St Petersburg, Russia, after being elected to serve a second four-year term on the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) Council, McQuaid again refuted the idea that he should resign or even apologise for the UCI's failure to catch Armstrong and other dopers.
"I would like to see him jump on his private plane and come to Switzerland (UCI headquarters) and say 'what can I do?'," Reuters reported McQuaid as saying.
"He has not apologized to the sport of cycling. Everyone accepts he has not come clean. If he has information that is valuable to the sport he has to come forward."
"He should sit down and work with us ... with USADA and the world Anti-doping Agency (WADA)."
McQuaid said that Armstrong had no place in cycling when USADA banned the Texan for life. Armstrong reacted angrily to that statement in an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, saying: "Pat is just in a constant CYA (Cover Your Ass) mode. Pathetic."
No mea culpa
McQuaid is standing for re-election as UCI President this year. He is already on the campaign trail and is working hard to justify his and the UCI's track record in the fight against doping. Despite a stream of accusations that the UCI could have and should have done more when the use of EPO was rampant in the peloton, McQuaid refuses to perform any form of mea culpa.
"I do not think the UCI made mistakes," McQuaid claimed.
"The statistics show the UCI was the most advanced in the fight against doping."
McQuaid became UCI president in 2005, the year of Armstrong's last Tour de France victory and continued many of the policies and ideals of his predecessor Hein Verbruggen.
"I was fooled. I believed there was no way a man so close to death would go and start putting stuff into his body that could be dangerous," McQuaid said.
"My experiences as a cyclist convinced me he was real."
"There were no tests available for the products. Ten or 15 years ago the armoury (against doping) was weaker. The doping system was weak."
Many have called for McQuaid to resign but he refuses to go, insisting he wants to eradicate doping.
"I firmly believe I am making a difference. I want to eradicate doping. I want to see this thing through. I want to finish what I started," he said,
"There is a change in the peloton. Every little thing I am bringing in is making a difference."
McQuaid claimed that professional cycling will recover from arguably the biggest doping scandal in the history of the sport.
"We will go beyond it. Cycling has got new champions and it is getting global. It is growing dramatically. I am very positive about cycling and the future," he said.
"Africa, for example has huge potential. It may not have a commercial potential but it has damned good athletes. There will be a black African athlete on the podium of a major tour within six years."
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