Pat McQuaid insists quitting 'is not an option'
Published 19/02/2013 | 16:38
PAT McQuaid insists at no time in recent months has he considered his future as president of the International Cycling Union, despite the barrage of criticism over the Lance Armstrong scandal and intense demand for a change of leadership at the world governing body.
The sport was rocked when Armstrong admitted, after years of denials, taking performance-enhancing drugs to win each of his seven Tour de France titles, while the UCI disbanded an independent commission established to investigate claims of complicity with the American in favour of a truth and reconciliation commission, featuring an amnesty for witnesses.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency - the body whose investigation led to Armstrong's downfall - have been among the toughest critics of the UCI, but McQuaid, who is from Dublin, maintains the belief he is the right man to oversee the sport.
McQuaid, speaking on the eve of the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, told Press Association Sport: "I work 365 days a year for this sport, travel the world promoting the sport, have done so for a good few years.
"I feel I've achieved a lot in the seven and a half years I've been president, in terms of developing the sport on a global basis and also in the fight against doping.
"I would like to do more. What I set out to do was change the culture, from a doping culture to an anti-doping culture.
"I do believe that is happening and I would like to see it through.
"When I do quit as president I'd like to look back to say I've achieved something with the sport.
"It has been difficult the last couple of months, but it's difficult dealing with something which happened 15 years ago. It's a long time ago.
"The landscape was different then to what it is today. We have to get through it and look forward. That's what the UCI is doing."
McQuaid is determined to separate the past from the present and future.
He compares his resilience to being a rider, training in all conditions.
"I don't take it personally at all," he added.
"I've been around cycling all my life. I can take the good days and the bad days, same as on the bike.
"I have a mission and objectives and I'm aiming for those objectives.
"The sport is in a very good place now and I want to continue to see it in that good place and continue to develop it."
The independent commission broke down after WADA and USADA withdrew co-operation over the lack of an amnesty for witnesses.
Attention has turned to a separate truth and reconciliation commission, with work ongoing with WADA to establish it despite public disputes between the two bodies.
McQuaid added: "I have always said relations with WADA, at an operational level, have always been excellent. They continue to be excellent.
"Political level it's different, but hopefully we'll be able to work something out now on truth and reconciliation.
"It's something which would suit the sport and will allow us to draw a line in the sand."
The Operacion Puerto scandal and ongoing trial of Eufemiano Fuentes will ensure doping in cycling remains in the headlines.
Sports including tennis, golf and athletics have also been forced to look at anti-doping measures following revelations from Fuentes.
"My responsibility is my sport and what we do in our sport," McQuaid added.
"The UCI has always stated that doping isn't a cycling-only related issue. It's a sports-related issue.
"We've always done the maximum in the fight against doping. We'd maintain that and can stand by that.
"The fact that other sports are now coming under scrutiny is really for the other sports to deal with.
"As far as I'm concerned I'm concentrating on cycling and what more we can do to ensure that we protect clean athletes and have a sport which is credible going forward."