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LeMond: Cycling doesn't need UCI

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond could do without the UCI

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond could do without the UCI (Image credit: AFP)

Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond believes the sport no longer needs its international governing body Union Cycliste International (UCI). The three-time Tour champion's comments come as the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) stages this year's Tour outside of the UCI's governance.

"Cycling no longer needs the UCI," LeMond told Reuters. "The UCI is just there to stamp licenses and make the regulations. The solution for cycling is very simple: organisers and riders should create their own federation and take over the sport.

"I like [current UCI president] Pat McQuaid very much, he's doing his best," added LeMond. "But there are still too many shadows from the past at the UCI, too many persons with a past of corruption."

The governing body's failure to manage the sport's doping problem is one reason LeMond offered to support his call for a new governing organisation. The 1986, 1989 and 1990 Tour winner said he would love to be involved with a new governing organisation for the sport he loves.

"I'd love to be part of it and that's why I'm here," he said. "Last year I came on the Tour to ride on the course with my son [in L'Etape du Tour]. This year, I came because I believe it is time to stand up and speak out for a new cycling.

"It is all very well to try and export cycling by launching Tours in Russia and China but cycling is the Tour de France and you don't export the Tour," LeMond said.

LeMond's comments relate to the UCI's desire to launch new Tours in areas of the globe which don't have the traditional sport ties that Europe enjoys. The Tour Down Under in Australia became the first non-European leg of the UCI's ProTour in January, and the UCI is hoping to expand the series to Russia and China.

McQuaid brushed off LeMond's comments when asked for a response. The Irish UCI president isn't attending this year's Tour after the fallout with Tour organiser ASO, which has seen this year's Grand Tour operate under the French Cycling Federation.

"Once again, he's talking about something he doesn't know anything about. What is his qualification to talk about it?" said McQuaid. "Anyway, it is nothing surprising. We have been saying for a while that it was ASO's decision to start a private league. What LeMond says does not make any difference."

Lemond's Tour bike on display

Greg LeMond's 1990 Tour de France winning bike is on display in the United States of America at Bridgewater Commons Mall. LeMond was the first American rider to claim victory in the famed French event, taking three wins during his career.

The bicycle can be seen as part of an exhibit of Tour memorabilia located in vacant storefront space donated by Commons management on the lower-level adjacent to Macy's. Compiled by the Somerville-based U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, the display also includes the leader's yellow jersey LeMond wore during one of his stage victories.

Other cycling artifacts featured in the display include an original 1926 oil painting of Tour de France cyclists racing through Paris; a wooden-rimmed, high wheel bicycle from the 1880s and hand-made rollers that cyclists used for rigorous training workouts when not competing.

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