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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Cycling: 'No Lance link' as McQuaid quits IOC panel

Published 24/01/2013 | 05:00

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Pat McQuaid, head of cycling's governing body (UCI), has been replaced on a key International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel as he deals with the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

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However, McQuaid said it was purely because he was too busy in his role as UCI president to attend all the meetings of the Olympic commission evaluating bids for the 2020 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."

"He couldn't meet the schedule and we had to find someone else," said IOC vice-president Craig Reedie. "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.

McQuaid told the IOC he would be unable to go on the visits to all three cities. "I contacted (them) and suggested that they find a replacement," McQuaid said.

It's not the only position McQuaid has relinquished in recent months. He lost his spot on the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee at the end of last year.

McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen have come under scrutiny in the wake of the US Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed systematic doping by Armstrong and his teams and led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life.

The report included allegations by Armstrong's former team-mates that he paid the UCI $125,000 to cover up a positive test from the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.

While admitting to doping in his interview last week with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong confirmed making a donation to the UCI but denied the 2001 positive test and any cover-up.

"That story isn't true. There was no positive test. No paying off of the lab. The UCI did not make that go away. I'm no fan of the UCI," Armstrong told Winfrey.

McQuaid and Verbruggen both said the interview vindicated them and the UCI of any improper collusion with Armstrong. WADA director general David Howman, however, said Armstrong's financial donation to UCI was inappropriate and the matter needs to be clarified.

The UCI has set up an independent commission to investigate the doping scandal and the federation's links with Armstrong.

Irish Independent

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