McQuaid blunders again

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Hands up if you’re an embarrassment

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.

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{ 4 comments }

Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Making a mistake once is called learning. Doing it 20 times a year is a sign you never should have got the job.

Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I just don't like the way he comments on live cases. Maybe he has a view like any fan but that does not mean he can sound off in public. He's supposed to be a serious figure, not some internet forum hero.

TheInnerRing August 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm

To both anonymous commentators, I can only agree. Especially with the second anon: McQuaid is President of the UCI and should keep any personal views to himself. He needs to demonstrate wisdom and the ability to hold back, rather than try to tackle perceptions head on.

If the UCI want to take on critics and get a view across then there are ways to do this via the backdoor, to brief and inform. Having the President make loud-mouth comments in the open is asking for trouble.

Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm

McQuaid neither needs a media training nor a PR assistant but a replacement.
We all know the UCI is, like many governing bodies, a nepotism, that it is not interested in a clean sport but only a clean image nor in any kind of change if the money is right. And that is as we saw in one of your posts. And, I guess, we all have come to terms with this, knowing a revolution from the top won't change a thing except the bloated face that is telling lies but hope through constant work at the base for some progression.
But the problem with McQuaid is he has become much too powerful. Despite dropping a brick after another and openly indicating the toleration of doping and his knowledge of it his position is not even slightly questioned. Seldom by the base like your blogand not to my knowledge by opponents within the UCI nor the (mainstream) media. He is untouchable and making him and ergo the UCI resistant to any criticism which could result in any change. And that is why he needs to be replaced. Not because he seems bad with the media.
I normally think it is a good thing if somebody comes straight forwards and deals with critics and also not skipping sensitive debates, but it is clear he is on lost ground since the critics are right in their accusations. And what he fears most is intervention from the outside that could prove them right and show the public what kind of mafialike organisation the UCI is. And that his house of cards built out of lies collapse if they are successful. And that is why he is going into the offensive throwing all his personal weight into the fight. One lie or false statement more doesn't add any weight to his fall anymore but if it might prevent is fall…

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