USADA report in Switzerland. Why McQuaid has no choice.

USADA has done a masterful and impressive job with their “reasoned decision” on Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and the US Postal doping conspiracy.

The only question remaining is, will the UCI, the governing body of the sport, do its job with anything approaching that level of professionalism?

For a number of reasons, Twisted Spoke doesn’t think UCI president Mad Pat McQuaid has any choice but to approve and confirm USADA’s report. They’ve backed themselves into a corner with no possible options.

First, the UCI is under intense scrutiny and criticism for its own role in failing to control the doping pollution of the entire sport during the time period of US Postal, Once and Telekom.

Second, there’s the disturbing allegations by Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis and now George Hincapie that the UCI covered up a doping positive by Armstrong in the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. As part of their investigation, USADA asked for those samples for retesting but the UCI refused to turn them over. No matter what the end result, this story casts another dark shadow on the integrity of the UCI.

Third, it’s already well-know that the UCI and McQuaid accepted over $100,000 from Armstrong and Bruyneel during a 2002 visit to UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland. Again, any attempt to disagree with the USADA conclusions will be seen as colossal conflict of interest and protectionism.

Fourth, we have the UCI’s impending court case against anti-doping crusader and journalist Paul Kimmage. The UCI’s decision to go after Kimmage is universally seen as ill-advised, vindictive and likely to backfire. The case will only highlight the failures of the UCI to fight doping in the sport. Against this backdrop, a disagreement with USADA over Armstrong’s fate will show the UCI has no desire to take its leadership role seriously.

Fifth, honorary UCI president Hein Verbruggen is fighting a firestorm of criticism that he presided over the darkest, most heavily doped period in cycling and went out of his way to protect Armstrong. He’s already prejudiced himself by insisting that Armstrong never, ever doped. He’s lost any credibility or right to rule on Big Tex.

Sixth, what’s the alternative? The UCI rejects the USADA findings and decides to take the case to the Court for Arbitration in Sports. McQuaid would find himself up against USADA, WADA and USA CYCLING who all support stripping Armstrong of his seven tour titles. If the UCI simply wants this embarrassing story to go away, putting the sport on trial for a six to twelve month court battle at CAS will only do further damage. That’s not something pro cycling can afford on any level.

In short, the UCI finds itself in the exact same position as Lance Armstrong. They’ve painted themselves into a corner with no escape exits. Yet, since they’re the “governing body,” they can’t simply deny and claim to be “unaffected.”

We suspect there will be lots of hemming and hawing from the UCI, quibbles about the USADA process, pointless legal nitpicks, face-saving hedges and self-important pronouncements but in the end, they cave.

USADA wins and the best case scenario for the UCI is to not make their own position exponentially worse. UCI will second USADA on Armstrong, case forever closed.

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  • MDCC_Massive

    Goodbye fat pat. You were a clown, you were corrupt, you were an idiot.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      MDCC, I think Pat is going down. I have to believe that or I’d shoot myself. Matt

  • The SuperStorm

    Matty,
    McQuad will step aside. It is inevitable. Little Heiny Verbruggen and his merry band of corrupt accomplices have some serious explaining to do as well. Patty Boy merely continued the system under his watch, while raking in some fast cash for himself. The corruption within the UCI’s structure is vast and deep. If that can is opened we would see where the real problems are. A real investigation needs to take place of where these so called “Doctors of Sport” are getting EPO, Testosterone, etc. How about Amgen? The ever silent Title Sponsor to Le Grand Course of Cali?

    Follow the money train and you find the real perpetrators. Lance is just another pawn in the large abyss of corporate greed. If he were to really spill the beans in a “tell all” for real it would certainly rock the cycling industry and the corporate world. Maybe that will be his redemption and absolution. “Yea, I did it. So did everybody else. Because they were told to.” “Do it or else…”
    All for Profit.

    My nickels worth.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      The corporate greed angle is certainly part of the story. It’s like the wall street corruption — widespread cheating and almost zero government oversight. That’s America — enough is never enough, the greedy always want more. Matt