The world of professional cycling is waiting for a “reasoned decision” on UCI president Patrick McQuaid.
The extensive and airtight case that the United States Anti-Doping Agency built against Lance Armstrong was irrefutable. They destroyed his legend, stripped his seven Tour de France titles and exposed him as a vindictive bully.
However his free-fall into disgrace represents only half the job that must be done to protect cycling from another dark decade. The biggest, most powerful rider has been brought to justice but the other equally guilty party is yet to be punished.
We need a Reasoned Decision on Patrick McQuaid and the UCI.
However, we fear there is nobody with the integrity and force of will like USADA’s Travis Tygart. Someone with the power to remove a man charged with corruption, doping cover-ups, accepting bribes, conflicts of interest and general and overwhelming incompetence.
The desperate McQuaid still clings to power despite what seems like an astonishing list of failures. Just his moves in the last month reveal a man with no agenda other than keeping his job title at all costs.
Forced by public outcry and the searing evidence in the USADA report, McQuaid reluctantly set up an independent commission to examine not only Armstrong’s misdeeds but the role of the UCI in encouraging a pervasive doping culture.
Then he narrowed the boundaries of the Independent Commissions mandate to protect himself and limit the damage. No Truth & Reconciliation, no public viewing of the future report and the power to rewrite the findings as he wished. Then he refused to turn over the documents that the Commission required to do their work.
That’s an amazing set of manipulations. At the most crucial point in the history of the sport, with sponsors fleeing, teams disappearing and fans outraged, McQuaid has but one agenda: stay in power.
The UCI has lacked all vision with McQuaid as the top man. The governing body has shown a systemic inability to provide guidance. So it was no surprise that outside forces like USADA, WADA and the Change Cycling Now groups have forced McQuaid to backtrack yet again. Last to know, first to over-react.
Now, suddenly, after dismissing the proposal, he’s thinking about the Truth & Reconciliation idea. But it’s simply an excuse to claim he doesn’t need — and can’t afford — two commissions so he’s shutting down the Independent Commission he set up.
This is the work of a fool and a cynic. A man stalling for time, shifting blame, hiding behind lawyers and every smokescreen he can fire up. Remember how long McQuaid and the UCI waited before telling that world that yes, Alberto Contador had failed a doping test in the Tour de France?
McQuaid seems to borrow half his tactics from Operacion Puerto and the lawyers for Alejandro Valverde. Drag the proceedings out forever, hope people loose interest, deliver some watered down “reform” and then back to running his private boys club.
Let’s not forget that a few months ago, with the Armstrong firestorm rising, Mcquaid decided to suddenly announce he was in final discussions with the Gifted Group and Mr Bakala about reforming the entire cycling calendar. Again, it’s mostly a smokescreen, buying for time, shifting the narrative, a pretense and a distraction from the more crucial issues.
Like the allegations that the UCI aided and abetted Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel’s US Postal doping program during their run of seven tour wins.
McQuaid is now pulling any string he can in hopes saving his own skin. Justice has been served on Lance Armstrong but every rider, team director, sponsor and cycling fan knows that nothing will fundamentally change for the better unless McQuaid is removed from power.