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AIGLE, Switzerland (AFP) — Three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond was “arrogant” in offering to act as interim president of the UCI should incumbent Pat McQuaid give in to calls for his resignation, McQuaid has told AFP.
“Greg was a great cyclist who I’ve known since the time when I was the organizer of the Tour of Ireland back in the 1980s, but I would ask him: ‘What have you done for cycling in the past 25 years?’ The answer is nothing,” McQuaid said. “I find it a little bit arrogant for him to say he is prepared to serve as interim president of the UCI. The UCI is a democracy, there is an electoral system in place. If he wants to, he can always seek the support of his national federation and stand for election next September.”
Asked if he had been stung by calls for his resignation in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, McQuaid said: “Personally? No. Most of the peoople who were calling for my resignation had nothing to do with cycling and I think they were wrong to do so.
“People involved in cycling who I work with every day know what I have achieved as president.”
He added: “I think there is enough proof that the state of cycling is completely different today to what it was in the Armstrong era.”
McQuaid also dismissed the lobby group Change Cycling Now as having a hidden agenda.
“They have discussed nothing with us; they only spoke of their own interests for two days in London,” he said. “They are not part of cycling, they have no mandate, no status, but they do have a conflict of interest.
“It seems clear to me that their leader, Jaime Fuller (head of the Australian company Skins) is seeking to further his own business interests. Then there is a journalist who wants to promote a book coming out shortly and a haematologist who claims to have a method of detecting blood transfusions for the next Tour de France. Why are they not working with the UCI or the World Anti-Doping Agency?”
The UCI has appointed an independent commission to investigate the Armstrong affair — and the UCI’s role in the scandal — after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency uncovered proof of a systematic doping program. McQuaid said the UCI would implement the commission’s recommendations.
“If they say our attitude was inadequate, we’ll take the necessary measures to ensure that this sort of thing won’t happen again in the future with a big name rider,” he said. “In the USADA report on Armstrong, there were many accusations that we reject. The UCI is serene and convinced that the independent commission will show that these allegations are not justified as the UCI has always been a pioneer in the fight against doping.”