McQuaid quits IOC Evaluation Commission as Verbruggen forced to defend UCI doping policy
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
January 23 - Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), has stepped down from the International Olympic Committee's Evaluation Commission for the 2020 Games because of the Lance Armstrong scandal, it was revealed today.
The Irishman's decision to pull out of the Commission coincided with his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, being forced to defend the UCI's policy during the Armstrong era of informing cyclists about suspicious test results.
McQuaid insisted the reason he had withdrawn from the Evaluation Commission, headed by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, was down to his workload.
The Commission is due to visit the three cities bidding for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics – Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid – in March and McQuaid said it was unrealistic for him to leave his duties when the sport is facing unprecedented scrutiny.
"I have too much going on and I can't afford to be spending two weeks away from the office in March," he said.
McQuaid has been replaced on the Commission by Patrick Baumann, secretary general of FIBA, basketball's world governing body, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.
Verbruggen, meanwhile, the head of the UCI during Armstrong's domination of the Tour de France, said the policy of speaking to riders about suspicious results was part of a "two-pronged attack" on doping at a time when it had an "impressive" record of catching drug cheats.
"It used to be the UCI's policy – and indeed also of other federations – to discuss atypical blood test results, or other test results, with the riders concerned," he said in a statement.
At the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, an Armstrong sample with traces of Erythropoietin (EPO) led to the UCI reportedly setting up a meeting between the rider, his team manager Johan Bruyneel and Lausanne laboratory head Martial Saugy ahead of the 2002 Tour de France.
Saugy said the meeting came weeks after Armstrong returned another suspicious sample at the Dauphiné Libéré race in France.
"Riders who were doping [but who had yet to fail a test] were effectively warned that they were being watched and that they would be targeted in future with the aim of getting them to stop doping," said Verbruggen, who remains the Honorary President of the UCI.
"However, if the atypical test results were genuinely not caused by doping, the rider also had the opportunity to have a medical check."
January 2013: Wiggins hits out at McQuaid but British Cycling President offers UCI chief support
January 2013: Exclusive - McQuaid stepping down from WADA roles nothing to do with Armstrong row, it is claimed
January 2013: "I've done nothing to warrant resigning," claims UCI President
December 2012: It's "now or never" for change insists LeMond as he offers to be interim UCI President
November 2012: UCI are not to blame for Armstrong scandal and we have not covered up anything, claims McQuaid