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McQuaid: There has never been corruption in the UCI

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
February 2, 2011, 23:33,
Updated:
February 2, 2011, 23:22
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 3, 2011

UCI president "bored" by Landis accusations

Pat McQuaid would welcome an investigation into alleged corruption at the UCI from any organisation including the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The comments comes after he told Cyclingnews' sister publication, Procycling, that corruption was impossible to facilitate at the UCI.

The President of cycling's governing body also ruled out investigating Floyd Landis's allegation that 2006 Tour de France winner, Oscar Pereiro, doped during his time at Phonak and that the pair discussed doping practices during the 2006 year's Tour. The pair rode for Phonak in 2005 as teammates before Pereiro moved to Caisse d'Epargne.

"It's impossible to be corrupt in the way we're being accused, in terms of bribery and assisting riders cover up doping positives," McQuaid told Cyclingnews.

"We'd welcome any investigation into the UCI. There has never been corruption in the UCI."

In May 2010 Landis alleged that a positive doping result by former teammate Lance Armstrong during the 2002 Tour of Switzerland was concealed after an agreement was reached between the American rider, his directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel and the former UCI President, Hein Verbruggen.

Armstrong and the UCI were quick to dismiss the allegation. Lance Armstrong did not start the 2002 edition of the race and Johan Bruyneel told the press that Landis needed ‘help'. Last May, McQuaid stated: "It's completely false and completely untrue and we've made contact with a lawyer and will take appropriate action."

So far no legal action has been taken against Landis, while an investigation by the FDA has been launched into Lance Armstrong's US Postal team. While McQuaid has stated that he would cooperate with any investigation, he confirmed that neither Jeff Novitzky nor any other agent at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approached him or the UCI.

"The allegations made against the UCI about hiding Armstrong's doping controls are malicious and unfounded. We have nothing to hide and that's not protecting Armstrong or anyone else.

"Since 2004 WADA receive the same results so if the UCI is corrupt then so is WADA. Are you going to say that about WADA? Prior to 2004 the results went to the IOC and the national federations, so they didn't just come to the UCI, they went to another source as well," McQuaid told Cyclingnews.

Last year McQuaid put Landis's motives for his allegations down to revenge but in a recent interviews with both the Sunday Times and Cyclingnews Landis stressed his motives were born out a desire to tell truth, and last month he told ESPN that he wanted "clear my conscience."

"If I said that some months ago, then that statement stands today," McQuaid said in reference to Landis seeking revenge.

"Unfortunately a lot of the media these days are led by people whose opinion is not educated. Bloggers and so forth and journalists who write under pseudonyms on blogs. That leads to a lot of opinions but it's not correct or the facts. Come over and spend a day in the UCI office and see what your opinion is."

Paul Kimmage's article in last week's Sunday Times, in which Landis made allegations about several riders, including Oscar Pereiro, caused shockwaves through the sport but McQuaid was unfazed by what he read.

"I read some of it. It got boring half-way through. I'll read the rest on a plane some time. I got about a third of the way in. It was just boring, the detail he was going into about Landis his background and his philosophy about life."

Asked if he took Landis' allegations regarding Pereiro seriously and whether the UCI would investigate them, McQuaid said:

"How can we look into it? We went by the rules back in 2006. He wasn't sanctioned or caught positive so how can we look into it? It's another one of Landis' allegations without any back-up or collaboration."

Asked if he would question Pereiro, McQuaid said, "We could do, we may have already done that, and I'm not saying anymore."

"All we can do and I've said it before is that the UCI can only work within the regulations. We don't have the liberty that journalists and bloggers have. We have to work within legal frameworks and the rules."