Pat McQuaid: Cookson has done little in the fight against doping

Former UCI president writing a book on his career in cycling

Pat McQuaid, the former UCI president, is in the process of writing a book that will focus on cycling’s governing body, and his eight-year spell at the helm. He revealed the project, one of his 'semi-retirement' plans, in an interview with L'Equipe, in which he also offered an assessment of the current administration, and he was a far from positive in his critique. 

“[The new UCI team] disappoints me greatly," he said. "Almost half of my staff quit and the other half were fired. The UCI deprived itself of a great deal of experience and expertise, when cycling is a very difficult sport to run. I don’t have much confidence in this UCI. It’s taking decisions that I don’t understand.”

One of those decisions is the move to introduce disc brakes into the professional peloton, with McQuaid echoing arguments made by some pros that it is dangerous to have riders on different braking systems in the same bunch. “Completely ridiculous” and "irresponsible" is how he describes it.

McQuaid, who took power in 2005, presided over some choppy waters in the course of cycling’s history, including the USADA investigation that triggered the downfall of Lance Armstrong, and his time in charge came to an end when he was beaten in the 2013 presidential election by Brian Cookson. The anti-doping effort was an area where McQuaid faced particular challenges over the course of his presidency and, nearly two and a half years on, he his underwhelmed by what his successor has achieved since.

“Not a lot,” was his response when asked if he thought Cookson had made progress in the fight against doping. “The biological passport – that was me. The culture of cycling has changed a lot in recent years and we left a good system in place, even if certain teams still function in a ‘special’ way."

McQuaid's book, in which he "will talk about my life in cycling and mainly about my time at the UCI," is set to be published at the end of the year. "I have many things to say, and I hope people will find it interesting," he said.

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