The pressure on embattled UCI president Pat McQuaid to resign increased last night after disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong branded comments made by the Irishman last October as “pathetic”.
In his first interview since he confessed to doping throughout his career on the Oprah Winfrey show almost two weeks ago, Armstrong engaged in an email exchange with Cyclingnews.com, where he spoke at length about the continued fallout.
When asked how McQuaid’s assertion that he had “no place in cycling” made him feel and what his thoughts on the UCI were, Armstrong’s riposte was: “Pat is just in constant CYA [Cover Your Ass] mode. Pathetic.”
When asked why he believes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] is the best way forward for cycling, the Texan responded “It’s not the best way, it’s the only way. As much as I’m the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director. Publicly lynching one man and his team will not solve this problem.”
When pressed on when and why he came to such a conclusion, McQuaid was again referenced. “A long time ago,” said Armstrong. “When I was on speaking terms with ol’ Pat McQuaid many, many months ago I said, ‘Pat, you better think bold here. A full blown, global, TRC is our sport’s best solution.’ He wanted to hear nothing of it.”
Many of the sport’s stakeholders have pushed for a TRC to establish what and who facilitated Armstrong, and the man at the centre of the argument said it wasn’t his place to say who should testify, but he added: “I’d say that if you are alive today and you podiumed in a [world championship] or Grand Tour then you should be called.”
He added: “Let me say that cycling will never die it, will just simmer. Zero growth. Sponsors leaving, races cancelled — this we are seeing.”
He finished the conversation by pulling most other eras into the scandal, saying that no era in cycling was 100% clean.
“My generation was no different than any other. No generation was exempt or ‘clean’.
“Not Merckx’s, not Hinault’s, not LeMond’s, not Coppi’s, not Gimondi’s, not Indurain’s, not Anquetil’s, not Bartali’s, and not mine.”
Meanwhile, Frank Schleck has been handed a one-year suspension by the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency for testing positive for Xipamide during the Tour de France last year.
The ban has been retrospectively applied by the Disciplinary Board, meaning that the RadioShack rider is free to ride after July 14, 2013. He will therefore miss this year’s Tour de France.
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