UCI president Pat McQuaid has rejected Lance Armstrong’s claim that he fears an external audit of the governing body by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and called on the American to produce any evidence he might have to the contrary.
In an interview with Le Monde, Armstrong expressed his wish for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission but said that its establishment was unlikely because “when a committee like that is installed, [McQuaid], [Hein] Verbruggen and the entire UCI will fall.”
McQuaid has repeatedly denied allegations that the UCI covered up positive tests from Armstrong during his career and defended the UCI’s decision to accept donations to anti-doping from Armstrong.
“As I have said on numerous occasions, I have nothing to hide and no fear of any investigation or Truth and Reconciliation process. If Armstrong – or indeed anyone else – has evidence to the contrary, he should produce it now and put a stop to this ongoing damage to cycling,” McQuaid said in a statement on Friday.
The UCI’s short-lived Independent Commission, established to investigate its actions during the Lance Armstrong case, ran aground at a preliminary hearing in January, but McQuaid said that the UCI remained “totally committed to conducting an independent audit into its behaviour during the years when Armstrong was winning the Tour. The UCI’s invitation to WADA to work with us on this stands. If WADA will not, however, the UCI will press ahead itself and appoint independent experts to carry out this audit.”
McQuaid also criticized Armstrong assertion that it was impossible to win the Tour de France without doping during his career and claimed that “his comments do absolutely nothing to help cycling” and that cycling has “moved on.”
“The culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean,” McQuaid said. “Riders and teams owners have been forthright in saying that it is possible to win clean – and I agree with them.”
McQuaid claimed that anti-doping procedures had tightened up since Armstrong’s initial retirement in 2005. The American, of course, returned to the sport in 2009 and finished third in that year’s Tour de France at the age of 37.
“Amstrong has already credited the whereabouts system and the blood passport. As he said himself in his interview with Oprah Winfrey: ‘The introduction of the biological passport [in 2008] worked,’” said McQuaid, who claimed there had been a “sea change” in the culture within cycling.