Sunday 22 April 2018

LeMond calls on UCI chief McQuaid to stand down

Matt McGeehan

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has urged UCI president Pat McQuaid to resign in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping affair.

In an open letter, published on Facebook, LeMond, winner of the 1986, 1989 and 1990 Tours and now the only American winner of the race, was critical of Ireland's McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen, who remains honorary president of the organisation.

"I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f**k off and resign. Resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign, even if you hate the sport," LeMond wrote.

LeMond added his weight to the campaign to support former 'Sunday Times' journalist Paul Kimmage, the subject of a defamation suit being brought by McQuaid and Verbruggen in Switzerland. The American has made a donation to the fund to support Kimmage's legal fight, but would prefer id the money was used to lobby for "real change."

"I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling," LeMond added.

"The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen -- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never! People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling."

critical

LeMond had long been critical of Armstrong before the Texan was stripped of his seven Tour titles by the UCI on Monday, when McQuaid insisted cycling had a future and stressed his determination to be part of it.

Armstrong and his US Postal team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen," a USADA report concluded.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme believes no one should replace Armstrong as winner of the 1999 to 2005 races, as few racing in the era are untainted by the use of drugs.

The latest to admit doping is Bobby Julich, a team-mate of Armstrong's at Motorola, who has left his role as Team Sky race coach.

Team Sky reiterated their zero-tolerance approach to drugs after USADA published their reasoned decision and Julich could be the first of a number of departures from the British team, home of 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins.

Julich placed third in the 1998 Tour, but has now expressed remorse and hope for the future after revealing he used blood-boosting agent EPO between August 1996 and July 1998.

In a lengthy confession, Julich said: "I knew it was wrong, but over those years, the attitude surrounding the use of EPO in the peloton was so casual and accepted that I personally lost perspective of the gravity of the situation."

Julich stopped using it in 1998 when his wife found out and threatened to leave him as a result.

Julich's former team-mate and Garmin team boss Jonathan Vaughters criticised Sky, saying: "Management has to do everything they possibly can to prevent that (doping) from occurring. That is their responsibility.

"I just don't see that any team management's responsibility is to chase ghosts from the past."

Irish Independent

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