In a press conference that turned out to be very little about the actual USADA report and more a barrage of critical questions regarding the UCI’s role in past and present anti-doping work, president McQuaid was initially very clear and convincing in his standpoint that he was shocked and disgusted with the extent of the USPS conspiracy and the lengths riders had gone to in order to cheat the UCI and it’s drug-testers.
The end result is that the International Cycling Union (UCI) has accepted the findings of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (Usada) investigation into Armstrong meaning that Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by cycling’s governing body.
UCI president Pat McQuaid said: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten.” McQuaid added Armstrong had been stripped of all results since 1 August, 1998 and banned for life for doping.
On what he called a “landmark day for cycling”, the Irishman, who became president of UCI in 2005, said he would not be resigning. He said:
“This is a crisis, the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced. I like to look at this crisis as an opportunity for our sport and everyone involved in it to realise it is in danger and to work together to go forward. Cycling has a future. This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads or that it has had to begin anew. When I took over [as president] in 2005 I made the fight against doping my priority. I acknowledged cycling had a culture of doping. Cycling has come a long way. I have no intention of resigning as president of the UCI, I’m sorry that we couldn’t catch every damn one of them red-handed and throw them out of the sport at the time.”
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme called the UCI’s decision “totally logical” and repeated his wish that the results from the Armstrong years are not reallocated. “We hope that there is no winner in these editions,” he said. “A formal decision must be taken by the UCI but for us, very clearly, there must be a blank record.” The management committee of the UCI will meet on Friday to discuss the issue.
McQuaid was quizzed over the $100,000 (£62,300) donation made by Armstrong to the UCI in 2002, one year after the American cyclist had had a suspicious test for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. McQuaid said: “We used the money against doping, it was done openly and put to good use.”