UCI President Pat McQuaid speaks to the press
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Accuses WADA of a vendetta against cycling
Allegations of corruption, a stand-off with anti-doping organisations and a lack of understanding over the severity of the Armstrong case – just when will the sport’s leaders wake up?
Out-played and outclassed, first by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and then the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in a spate of publicly leaked letters, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has found itself outnumbered, out-gunned and now out-thought. Their arguments surrounding jurisdiction have fallen down at the first hurdle, their case diluted by first their vilification of Floyd Landis’s whistle-blowing and then by Hein Verbruggen’s unwavering support of Armstrong with his ‘never, never doped’ lingo. If U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks finds against them and grants USADA the rope they need then cycling’s governing body will find itself on the outside looking in as the biggest anti-doping case in the sport’s history is decided upon. Not only that but its reputation – according to WADA’s David Howman – will be further diminished.
But the question that remains unanswered is why the UCI is behaving in such a manner? Why go to these desperate lengths when in the cases of Landis’s allegations, Valverde’s dodgy blood and the lesser known case of Phil Zajicek’s credit card statements, they stood back and allowed the national anti-doping federations to exercise complete control? What’s the difference now? If Hein Verbruggen is so sure that Lance Armstrong is the poster boy of clean cycling, then why the need for control?
Part of the issue lies with the evidence USADA has amassed, but more specifically in the fact that USADA named the UCI in their opening letters to the accused and cited the alleged cover up a positive test from an edition of the Tour de Suisse. The UCI has always denied the allegations but such gravitas has not been seen in the sport before and the UCI needs to wake up. Fast.
McQuaid, for all his back-pedalling over USADA’s case (remember he first stated that it was a US matter), has and even still has the chance to correct matters. However, at a press conference convened at the Olympic Games in London, he chose to focus on the matter of jurisdiction, aiming both barrels at USADA and WADA, the latter
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