UCI chief McQuaid cites busy schedule after quitting Olympic panel

The head of cycling’s governing body has been replaced on a key International Olympic Committee panel as he deals with the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid said yesterday he was too busy to attend all the meetings of the Olympic commission evaluating bids for the 2020 Summer Games.

“It’s quite simple,” McQuaid said. “I have too much going on and I can’t afford to be spending two weeks away from the office in March.”

McQuaid was appointed to the 10-person commission in September as the representative of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. He has been replaced by Patrick Baumann, a Swiss IOC member and secretary general of international basketball federation FIBA.

“He couldn’t meet the schedule and we had to find someone else,” IOC vice president Craig Reedie, who chairs the evaluation commission, said. “That’s all. There’s nothing sensitive about it in any way.”

The IOC panel is assessing the 2020 bids from Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul. The commission will pay four-day visits to each city in March and compile a detailed report ahead of a special briefing with the candidates in July in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC will choose the host city on September 7 in Buenos Aires.

McQuaid told the IOC he would be unable to go on the visits to all three cities. “I contacted ASOIF, because I was their representative, and suggested that they find a replacement,” the Dubliner said.

It’s not the only position McQuaid has relinquished in recent months. He lost his spots on the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee and foundation board at the end of 2012.

Meanwhile, the exact races and respective roles that riders in Team Sky will target this season are expected to be announced at the team’s training camp in Majorca today.

With Bradley Wiggins — Britain’s first Tour de France champion — believed to be targeting May’s Giro d’Italia, Chris Froome is expected to be installed as Tour leader.

Wiggins, though, has raised the possibility there could be two Team Sky leaders at the 100th Tour, which begins in Corsica on June 29 and ends in Paris on July 21.

If Wiggins does start the Tour, it raises the question of whether he will got there as a joint-team leader.

Whoever the leader is will have to beat Alberto Contador and having seen Froome climb better in last year’s Tour — and this years edition of the race suited to the pure climber, the Kenyan-born Froome is the rider many feel could best challenge the Spaniard.

What is clear is that having lost Mark Cavendish to Belgian squad Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Team Sky’s ambitions are to claim general classification victories and there is even the possibility of them targeting a third Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta d’Espana. Cavendish has already notched one win this season with victory in the opening stage of the Tour Down Under earlier this week.

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