LeMond joins new group trying to force change at top of UCI

Thursday, 29 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Greg LeMond head and shouldersNovember 29 - Triple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond is the latest leading name to join Change Cycling Now, the new pressure set up to try to force the International Cycling Union (UCI) to reform in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

The American will fly to London to attend the two-day summit, which is due to take place next Sunday and Monday (December 2 and 3). 

LeMond, who in 1986, became the first non-European to win the Tour de France, has been an outspoken critic of doping within cycling.

In 2001, he criticised Armstrong for his association with the now banned doctor, Michele Ferrari.

He recently added his name to that of many cycling champions to have called for change at the top of professional cycling, including an impassioned plea for senior management at the UCI, including President Pat McQuaid and Honorary President Hein Verbruggen, to resign.

LeMond will be joined by former professional riders Jonathan Vaughters and Eric Boyer on the panel.

Vaughters, a reformed drug cheat whose evidence helped bring down Armstrong, by giving evidence to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Jonathan Vaughters Tour de France 2012 June 28Reformed drugs cheat Jonathan Vaughters will take in Change Cycling Now's two-day summit in London next week

Vaughters a former team mate of Lance Armstrong's in the US Postal Services team, is now President of the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP)

Boyer is a former Tour de France stage winner and former team manager at Cofidis.

Additionally, former world champion, Gianni Bugno will address the group in his current capacity as the President of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA).

"The report from the United States Anti Doping Agency into the Lance Armstrong affair has to be a watershed moment for professional cycling," said LeMond.

"There is still an opportunity to ensure cycling presents itself as a genuine world leader in the elimination of doping and drug taking in sport.

"But to do that requires a determination to force change and I am delighted to be part of a group that is full of people who are committed to the cause."

On Monday, the former masseuse to Armstrong's US  Postal Services, Emma O'Reilly, will be flying from New York to attend the press conference, Change Cycling Now Charter will be unveiled.

The Irishwoman was Armstrong's former soigneur who in 2003 accused him of using banned performance-enhancing drugs but was sued for libel. 

Emma OReilly with Lance ArmstrongLance Armstrong's former soigneur Emma O'Reilly is among those supporting Change Cycling Now

Like Vaughters, O'Reilly's evidence to USADA helped them find Armstrong guilty and impose a life ban along with stripping him of the seven Tour de France titles he won. 

"In the two days since the  announcement of our group, we've had phenomenal support and that couldn't be better emphasised by the quality of the members we have on board," said Jamie Fuller, the Australian businessman who is coordinating the group.

Fuller's company Skins, a leading sponsor of cycling, are currently suing the UCI, claiming that they mismanaged the Armstrong scandal.

"As a Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond's involvement should send the clearest message yet that we are a serious group with serious intentions and genuine motives," said Fuller.

"To have other former athletes and eminent academics joining us too will make for an interesting and I hope, rewarding weekend.

"The sheer fact that these people are prepared to give up their time and travel, in some cases half way around the world to participate, reflects both their passion as well as their desire to see cycling achieve the best outcome."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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