Someone should keep a blog just to monitor the ramblings of UCI President Pat McQuaid and to rebut his misleading public statements.
Now he has done the sport a service when it comes to internationalising races. The idea of the ProTour was a good one (although I think it was so badly executed that heads should have rolled) and so on. But he’s also very accident prone when it comes to negative aspects that harm the sport, especially when doping and Armstrong are involved.
I’ve written previously on the blunders here and here and the recurring theme is two-fold: a tendency to say mistaken things in public coupled with the ability to wade into legal arguments with the sensitivity of a hippo.
McQuaid strikes again
Speaking at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, the Irishman seems to think the investigation into possible doping within the US Postal cycling team has a personal vendetta at its roots. But that’s not factually true, the investigation began months ago into Rock Racing after the landlord of one of the team’s riders discovered a “cache” of banned substances in a vacated apartment. Nobody knew about this and it certainly wasn’t personal.
Picking through the comments on cyclingnews.com, McQuaid also laments that the investigation is taking place in the public eye: “It’s an investigation that has taken place in the public arena, which was unnecessary“. Only the investigation is proving remarkably water-tight. People are being interviewed, subpoenaed and contacted but the names are not being made public. OK, yes we know an investigation is on but surprisingly little detail is out, whether via news conference, off-the-record-briefing or even leaks. Far from the public arena, this is impressively secret.
Also he goes on to say “the cycling of today is completely different than the cycling of 2000, 2002 and 2003 which this investigation is talking about” but what is he saying here? Is he acknowledging that doping was widespread then? Because this doesn’t sit very well with his public defence, because he also states “the fact is that Lance Armstrong has never been controlled positive“. Is he making hints about the sport in recent years but also trying to defend one particular rider?
Overall, if McQuaid is worried about personalities getting involved and the story being too high profile, he’d do well to zip his mouth. At best the UCI need to send him on a media training course or shackle an effective PR handler and possibly a lawyer to him. But his position has to come into question given the repeated conflicting statements and his willingness to wade into sensitive debates.