With UCI President Patrick McQuaid facing a firestorm of criticism for his lawsuit against anti-doping crusader and journalist Paul Kimmage, the calls forMcQuaid to step down have hit new highs.
Now there may be a potential new Boss of the UCI on the horizon. According to at least one source, Armstrong is considering a campaign for the job of running the governing body of cycling.
“It’s an option and it’s under serious consideration,” said Max Gambit, a PR consultant for the Armstrong legal team. “There are a lot of problems in the sport and Lance has some good ideas.”
The possibility that Armstrong, recently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, might take over the presidency of the UCI has the cycling world abuzz.
“As legal strategy, it’s a brilliant end-run and nobody saw that coming,” said Clarence Darlow, a professor of international law at Columbia University. “When Armstrong and the UCI lost their jurisdiction battle with US doping authorities over his case, he simply decided to take the case himself and provide his own ruling.”
The USADA files on the Armstrong case are scheduled for delivery to the UCI by October 15th. At that time the governing body will begin studying the testimony and rendering their own opinion on whether they agree with the “reasoned decision.”
“Clearly, McQuaid is dead in the water right now. How hard would it be for a charismatic Armstrong to call a special vote and take over the reins at the UCI almost immediately,” asked Darlow. “In essence, he would have to power to rule on his own case. He could potentially re-instate his seven titles and close the case forever.”
What at first seems like a far-fetched scenario is in fact entirely plausible. “Look at the immense popularity of Armstrong world-wide and then look at the 40 delegates at the UCI who decide who’s president,” said Alain Rigoler of French sports newspaper L’Equipe. “Do the delegates from Africa, Asia and Oceania really care about an old doping case? All they see is the famous Armstrong wants to be their president. The vote is a foregone conclusion.”
Rumors are now circulating that lobbyists representing Armstrong have already held private discussions with delegates in Europe and Europe to gauge their support. There may even be a brokered arrangement in place for McQuaid to name his successor and thus appoint Armstrong to take his place.
It’s another bizarre chapter in a legal battle that has taken over two years. It may also prove that Armstrong has one final card up his sleeve. “Lance is the smartest guy in the room. That’s what Travis Tygart forgets, that’s what the Feds forget, that’s what those high price lawyers forget,” said Travis Jesty, a mechanic at Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny bike store in Austin. “This is prime Boss action — in your face, try to stop me. He’s giving Tygart The Look right now and those USADA guys won’t even know what hit them.”
Patrick McQuaid may be president of the UCI but that may change shortly. In fact, everything may change shortly.