LeMond calls for widespread reforms

Greg Lemond (R) talks

Greg Lemond (R) talks (Image credit: AFP)

Triple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has called for widespread reform within cycling and for the UCI to change the way in which it governs. LeMond would like to see the testing of riders and sentencing of dopers controlled by national federations and independent laboratories, while the UCI works on enhancing cycling's reputation around the world.

LeMond's comments come on the back of allegations made by Floyd Landis against the sport's governing body, Lance Amstrong, Johan Bruyneel and several other riders. The allegations centred on doping practices at the US Postal and Phonak teams, but perhaps more damaging, bribery between the UCI and Lance Armstrong and Bruyneel over an alleged failed dope test.

Speaking to Cyclingnews, LeMond, who in the last decade has clashed with Landis, Armstrong, Trek and the UCI, said that the best way forward for the sport would be for everything to come out and for no stone left unturned in the Landis investigation.

"I hope it's a bloodbath and a cleansing," he told Cyclingnews.

“I think that those named by Landis whatever their circumstances, guilt or innocence would be better off cooperating with the investigation as a way to help change the direction of the sport.”

"I think it's the beginning of the end for a lot of people," LeMond added. "This is going to go pretty far. It will shed a lot of light on a lot of people who have been silenced. The doping part is almost a side show, in this case the cover up is worse than the crime. I hope that those that have been silenced because of the system will get some relief to free their minds with the hope that they will help bring down those that really control how the sport future will unfold."

"But I think it could be a good time for cycling and I hope the UCI do something positive."

However, according to LeMond, so far the UCI haven't acted appropriately since Landis's public confession. They have discredited Landis with Pat McQuaid, the UCI's president, recently telling the media, that, "Landis is just bitter and is claiming that all these guys doped because he got caught doping and thinks that other people got away with it. He thinks he was selected to be caught but he denied doping for four years and now he's saying the total opposite. I don't think he's believable."

LeMond added that McQuaid's comments were in stark contrast to those from WADA, who said they would cooperate in any way with the investigation.

However LeMond also feels that the UCI are pushing their efforts in the wrong direction and that unlike previous whistle blowers, like Christophe Basson and Paul Kimmage, Landis should be welcomed to tell the truth.

"For me the UCI would be really smart if they said they wanted to do everything they could for the sport and promote it and leave the drug testing, the penalties and the sanctions to the independent agencies that has no connection to them, the Tour or the riders, just scientists and the police. That's the only answer."

HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions both have riders and team personnel – or in Columbia's case, ex-riders – named by Landis. Both teams have set their stales out as being at the forefront of promoting clean sport. Garmin also recently said they would support any rider that cooperated with the investigation and LeMond is also a sponsor for the team.

"I really like the Garmin stance of supporting their riders. People can make mistakes but they can move on. There are teams like Garmin and Columbia that may get harmed, but I hope that their sponsors realise that they're trying to make a difference and stick with them."

"I think a lot of riders will come forward. If they were involved they have this on their conscience. A lot of these guys got into the sport because they love it and I don't think that the majority ever thought they'd get into doping, but it's a slow seduction and the drugs today are so powerful today that there's a real benefit."

"People that have no conscience have no problem lying, they have no problem with trying to get away with it. People with a conscience won't be happy, they'll self destruct and unfortunately Floyd went through that. He made some mistake but the whole culture is geared to lying."

LeMond does however believe that cycling has cleaned up in the last few years, and that the culture that for so long encouraged doping, is finally changing.

"There has been a shift in mentality and I do believe that things are cleaner than four years ago but the problem is that it only takes two percent to throw things out of whack."

For LeMond though, the channels in which riders can come forward and admit to doping are hindrances rather than the helps they should be.

"Armstrong is very vindictive and he's hurt a lot of people in the process. My gut is that guys like Floyd Landis are nervous and scared and don't know what to do when the system only punishes people that come forward and want to clean up the sport."

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