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McQuaid will not quit in wake of Armstrong scandal

ESPN staff
February 19, 2013 « Celtic aware of PL interest in Ambrose | Chartbeat test »

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid insists that he has not considered his position despite the barrage of criticism that the federation has faced following the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

McQuaid, appointed UCI president in 2006, believes his tenure has been marked by a positive change in the attitudes towards doping within cycling, but accepts that the governing body has a fractious relationship with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Speaking on the eve of the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus, McQuaid said: "I work 365 days a year for this sport, travel the world promoting the sport, have done so for a good few years.

"I feel I've achieved a lot in the seven-and-a-half years I've been president, in terms of developing the sport on a global basis and also in the fight against doping. I would like to do more. What I set out to do was change the culture, from a doping culture to an anti-doping culture. I do believe that is happening and I would like to see it through.

"When I do quit as president I'd like to look back to say I've achieved something with the sport.

"It has been difficult the last couple of months, but it's difficult dealing with something which happened 15 years ago. It's a long time ago. The landscape was different then to what it is today. We have to get through it and look forward. That's what the UCI is doing."

Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven times between 1999 and 2005 in January, prompting the UCI to set up an independent commission to establish claims that the governing body was complicit in the American's ability to avoid detection by anti-doping authorities.

That commission was disbanded by the end of the month in favour of a truth and reconciliation commission - featuring an amnesty for witnesses - a decision that McQuaid attributed to WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency's refusal to co-operate with the original investigation, a claim vigorously denied by WADA.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge last week called on the bodies to reconcile their differences, and offered his support for McQuaid and the UCI.

"I have always said relations with WADA, at an operational level, have always been excellent. They continue to be excellent," McQuaid continued. "Political level it's different, but hopefully we'll be able to work something out now on truth and reconciliation. It's something which would suit the sport and will allow us to draw a line in the sand."

Doping in cycling remains in the spotlight with the ongoing trial of Eufemiano Fuentes, the central figure in the Operacion Puerto investigation into blood doping in Spain, though as McQuaid points out athletes from other sports, while not involved in the trial, have been implicated in the investigation.

Sports including tennis, golf and athletics have also been forced to reassess their anti-doping measures following revelations from Fuentes.

"My responsibility is my sport and what we do in our sport," McQuaid added. "The UCI has always stated that doping isn't a cycling-only related issue. It's a sports-related issue.

"We've always done the maximum in the fight against doping. We'd maintain that and can stand by that. The fact that other sports are now coming under scrutiny is really for the other sports to deal with.

"As far as I'm concerned I'm concentrating on cycling and what more we can do to ensure that we protect clean athletes and have a sport which is credible going forward."

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