UCI president Pat McQuaid has defended against the Change Cycling Now (CCN) group's call to replace him with Greg LeMond, and criticized the new organization which is led by businessman Jaimie Fuller, writer David Walsh and former UCI biological passport analyst Michael Ashenden as having ulterior motives.
“It seems clear to me that their leader, Jaime Fuller (who runs the clothing company Skins) is seeking to further his own business interests," McQuaid told AFP. "Then there is a journalist who wants to promote a book coming out shortly and a haematologist who claims to have a method of detecting blood transfusions for the next Tour de France. Why are they not working with the UCI or the World Anti-Doping Agency?”
The UCI's independent commission asked for CCN's input, but McQuaid said it has received no feedback.
“They have discussed nothing with us; they only spoke of their own interests for two days in London,” McQuaid said. “They are not part of cycling, they have no mandate, no status, but they do have a conflict of interest."
The group has been vocal in its stance that the current UCI administration should step down over its mishandling of the doping problems in the sport, and alleges the governing body has covered up the cheating by Lance Armstrong for years. It was suggested that three-time Tour de France champion LeMond step in as an interim president, but McQuaid dismissed the notion as "arrogant".
“Greg was a great cyclist who I’ve known since the time when I was the organizer of the Tour of Ireland back in the 1980s, but I would ask him: 'What have you done for cycling in the past 25 years?’ The answer is nothing,” McQuaid said. “I find it a little bit arrogant for him to say he is prepared to serve as interim president of the UCI. The UCI is a democracy, there is an electoral system in place. If he wants to, he can always seek the support of his national federation and stand for election next September.”
McQuaid said that he wasn't personally affected by the demands for his resignation, stating that "most of the people who were calling for my resignation had nothing to do with cycling, and I think they were wrong to do so.
“People involved in cycling who I work with every day know what I have achieved as president.”
McQuaid pointed to the UCI's current initiative to independently investigate its anti-doping efforts to counteract the criticisms.
“If they say our attitude was inadequate, we’ll take the necessary measures to ensure that this sort of thing won’t happen again in the future with a big name rider,” he said. “In the USADA report on Armstrong, there were many accusations that we reject. The UCI is serene and convinced that the independent commission will show that these allegations are not justified as the UCI has always been a pioneer in the fight against doping.
“I think there is enough proof that the state of cycling is completely different today to what it was in the Armstrong era.”