UCI President Pat McQuaid has moved quickly to comment on Lance Armstrong's partial confession to doping, opting to highlight the disgraced Texan's claims that the UCI did not cover up a positive test and that the Biological Passport programme has cleaned up the professional cycling, rather than the many unanswered questions about his years of doping.
Both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis have confirmed that Armstrong confessed to them that the UCI helped cover up an alleged positive test for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. Armstrong flatly denied that was true during is interview with Oprah Winfrey, just as the UCI and former UCI President Hein Verbruggen have done in the past.
Current UCI President Pat McQuaid also reiterated in a press release that the estimated $125,000 Armstrong gave to the UCI was a donation to help the fight against doping.
“Lance Armstrong’s decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport," McQuaid said.
“Lance Armstrong has confirmed there was no collusion or conspiracy between the UCI and Lance Armstrong. There were no positive tests which were covered up and he has confirmed that the donations made to the UCI were to assist in the fight against doping.
“It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including among others doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test result.
“However, Lance Armstrong also rightly said that cycling is a completely different sport today than it was 10 years ago. In particular the UCI's introduction of the biological passport in 2008 – the first sports federation to do so - has made a real difference in the fight against doping."
The UCI is trying to limit the effectiveness of the Commission it has created to investigate its often cosy relationship with Armstrong and push back the calls from USADA, WADA and the Change Cycling Now group for a Truth and Conciliation process as part of the Commission's investigations. Yet Friday's UCI statement ended by welcoming Armstrong's wish to participate.
“Finally, we note that Lance Armstrong expressed a wish to participate in a truth and reconciliation process, which we would welcome,” the UCI statement reads.