Cycling’s world governing body the UCI is still studying US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) doping charges against disgraced US rider Lance Armstrong, its president Pat McQuaid said on Friday. The USADA has stripped Armstrong of his record seven Tour de France victories after finding the racer and cancer survivor to have been at the center of the biggest doping program in sporting history, shredding his image amid the Texan’s repeated denials of wrongdoing.
The USADA has produced more than 1,000 pages of testimony backing its decision to ban him for life in August but McQuaid said the UCI’s lawyers would carefully study the report before electing whether to appeal the decision of the US agency to strip Armstrong of his wins.
“The UCI has received the dossier two days ago, a thousand pages, and so our lawyers are studying that at the moment and we have 21 days to come up with a response,” said McQuaid on the sidelines of the Tour of Beijing. He added: “It would be wrong of me to second guess or pre-empt what our lawyers might decide, so I’d wait until then. The UCI will wait until that work has been done and then the UCI will make a statement.
“The legal department have been told that this is a priority, that we get job done as quickly as possible, and certainly within that time frame we will be back.”
The UCI has been under mounting pressure to respond amid allegations from a former teammate that Armstrong donated money to the organization as payback for covering up a positive doping test at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001. The organization strenuously denied the claim.
In wake of the allegations, British cyclist David Millar said the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) honorary president Hein Verbruggen should resign following the Armstrong doping revelations. Verbruggen was president of the UCI as Armstrong powered his way into the history books and last year insisted he was convinced the racer had “never, never, never” doped. The 71-year-old Dutchman is now honorary president and also on the UCI’s management committee. Millar served a two-year doping ban but now serves on the athletes committee at the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Millar told the Press Association: “The UCI have to accept they have to carry some responsibility for this because it was obvious what was going on. The UCI had all the blood data, the medical reports, it was part of the culture of the sport and in the big races the majority of riders were doing it on drugs. There was only a tiny minority getting good results without drugs and they really were the outsiders. The first step for the UCI is that Verbruggen has to be removed,” Millar said, adding that the UCI had to put its house in order
Regarding Verbruggen, he said: “He’s still there. He doesn’t have to commit hara kiri (ritual suicide), he should just admit that mistakes were made and we have all made mistakes.”