Former UCI president not wanting to be drawn into "witch hunt"
The former UCI president Pat McQuaid, who has kept a low profile since being deposed by Brian Cookson as the head of cycling's world governing body last September, is yet to decide on his participation in the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) as he does want to be drawn into a "witch hunt".
Cookson has delivered in his promise for an independent body to review perceived past wrongdoings, including whether the UCI was complicit in Lance Armstrong's doping through the creation of CIRC which has received the blessing of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),and will be chaired by Switzerland's former state prosecutor Dick Marty with the aim of concluding its investigation within the next 12 months.
The CIRC which had initially been known as a 'truth and reconciliation commission' has stated that it will look into doping practices between 1998 and 2013. Cookson stated that all funding will come from the sport's governing body, as "nobody else will pay, so if we want to have this commission then the UCI must pay."
McQuaid has had no contact with the CIRC and will need decide whether to volunteer to give evidence quickly , although he vehemently denies wrongdoing, as the chairman Dick Marty has said the commission is ready to go "full speed."
McQuaid, who was UCI president from 2005 to 2013, told Press Association Sport: "I haven't made my mind up yet. I need to be convinced that this commission is going to look into all of the aspects of the reasons why doping was prevalent.
"That is who was actually responsible, not just the UCI, but also people like WADA and USADA.
"As I see in the terms of reference, there's no inquiry into what their responsibilities may or may not have been in relation to doping and the fight against doping.
"I don't want to see a witch hunt into me and Hein Verbruggen only, when others have been responsible (for anti-doping activities) as well and should be asked to account for themselves as well."
The CIRC period of assessment encompasses all of Armstrong's post-comeback from cancer including his post-retirement return to racing in 2009, and the period when Verbruggen and McQuaid were president. Dutchman Verbruggen was UCI president from 1991 to 2005.
Among the allegations being investigated is that Armstrong made a $US 100,000 donation for blood sampling equipment in 2002 to cover up a positive test.
"As far as I'm concerned the UCI, during my period as president, which is all that I can speak for, was the leader in the fight against doping," McQuaid said. "I would say the same goes for my predecessor's period. The UCI was the leader in the fight against doping." As UCI president, McQuaid implemented the biological passport programme in 2008.
"From that point of view, I don't think the UCI should be taken to task for what may or may not have happened. I have to be convinced that this isn't setting out to be a witch hunt.
"At the end of the day, we now know Lance Armstrong never tested positive. Never tested positive. That's a fact.
"There is no proof anywhere, either in the USADA Reasoned Decision or anywhere else, that Lance Armstrong tested positive. If Lance Armstrong never tested positive, what is there to cover up?"
Cookson's stance on CIRC and McQuaid's participation
Cookson has insists his only agenda is to uncover the truth which he reiterated when speaking at the Track Cycling World Championships in Cali, telling Press Association Sport, "I've never said anything other than there are things that need to be explained and investigated.
"If they're proved to be innocent, that's fine, of course it is. But we need that proper independent investigation of those very damaging allegations that have come out over the last few years."
Having overseen the establishment of the CIRC and handed over responsibility of the investigation, Cookson suggested that McQuaid and Verbruggen will come forward and offer information.
"I expect all of those people who said this was just what they were waiting for will be as good as their word now. Let's see what happens."
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