Cycling

Blame dopers, not us: UCI chief

2012-10-22 21:42
Pat McQuaid (AP)

Geneva - International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid on Monday warned against blaming the sport's authorities for doping scandals, after Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.

McQuaid's predecessor in the post, Hein Verbruggen, has come under scrutiny for his role in the Armstrong affair, as he was at the helm at the time of the shamed US rider's consecutive wins in cycling's most gruelling race between 1999 and 2005.

In particular, Verbruggen has been accused of shielding the Texan, amid claims he and US Postal Service team-mates were tipped off about the arrival of dope testers and the UCI received a donation from Armstrong to allegedly cover up a positive test.

Asked whether he supported Verbruggen unreservedly in his current role as honorary president, McQuaid told AFP: "It's not a case of me supporting him or not. There's been nothing proven in the USADA case that he did anything wrong.

"With respect, I think some of the athletes who are calling for his resignation what they're doing is trying to shirk their own responsibility. These are guys who are adults, and who took the decision to dope.

"And I don't think that's anybody else's fault but their own. You can pass that responsibility on to the president or whoever. It's their own fault."

Former Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro, who won the 2006 Tour de France after US rival Floyd Landis was disqualified for doping, said he believed that "the whole of the UCI should resign" over the Armstrong affair.

Pereiro said: "If the accusations of Lance's former colleagues prove accurate, for instance saying they were tipped off ahead of tests, then the UCI is also caught up in this - they should all resign."

McQuaid, however, said the UCI had also seen no evidence that US Postal Service riders were tipped off about tests.

He added: "I don't think you can blame the authorities for what these guys were doing and I think it's wrong for these guys to try and do that."

Read more on:    uci  |  pat mcquaid  |  lance armstrong  |  cycling
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