McQuaid Blunders Again

Saturday, 2 October 2010

“You need to clean up your act”

UCI President Pat McQuaid can be a soft target. It’s too easy to pin all the sport’s problems on him, if anything it credits him with a power, reach and ability that he simply doesn’t have. But speaking to Reuters, he seems to have blundered again:

“Fifty percent of our… I don’t know what the percentage is but a large percentage of our doping cases come from Spain and there doesn’t seem to be — so far — the will to tackle that in Spain and that will needs to come from the government down.

First, note the statistical blunder, quickly retracted, about the nationality of doping scandals. It’s very incendiary to single out particular countries, especially if you can’t do this calmly with the facts at your fingertips. Does Spain even have the highest number of doping cases? Or is it just embarrassing that Valverde, Mosquera and Contador have been busted in the space of six months?

Above all, the quote is idiotic in context. Yes there are big concerns with the anti-doping effort in Spain but megaphone diplomacy and broadsides via news agencies are probably not the way to go. You need to bring the Spanish authorities with you rather than make them defensive. He ought to be saying “we’re working closely with the Spaniards and I know WADA are keen too“.

The sight of Spain being lectured by the UCI is, well, delectable. Because like it or not our sport has a terrible reputation. You can imagine the head of WADA or the IOC saying the following:

Fifty percent of our… I don’t know what the percentage is but a large percentage of our doping cases come from cycling and there doesn’t seem to be — so far — the will to tackle that in cycling and that will needs to come from the UCI down.

Once again the UCI just ends up wading into a subject and embarrassing itself. We need a figurehead who is calm and intelligent, not a bar room bore.

Simon Lamb October 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I think a lot of time Spain gets such negative attention simply because of the amount of PRO riders they have. Statistically if you look at the UK's male riders in the WC 1 of of 3 have tested positive so one third of british riders is an ex-doper. if you look at it like that it seems a lot. Spain gets most attention because they have so many riders so the percentage is going to be higher. Pat McQuaid is such a dick, his whole family is it really depresses me so much more than doped riders.

TheInnerRing October 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Exactly Simon. Spain is a big cycling country. Also if one country wanted to go after doping then it would show up more cases.

A President should someone who can rally people together, rather than pick fights and make enemies.

There are issues in Spain though. We've seen how the RFEC had Valvarde's back and the way Puerto got shut down. But these need to be addressed with sensitivity.

As for the rest of the McQuaid family, I've got a series coming up on them. The first one went out last week:
…but there's plenty more to come, some of it promises to be quite juicy. Only it's been delayed because of Steakgate.

Stay tuned.

Simon Lamb October 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I will do, Ive had a couple of personal run ins with the mini Mcquaid's I will look forward to see what you write.

Anonymous October 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Of course Pat McQuaid stepping down wouldn't fix all the problems at once, but this person has proven often enough he is not willing for any change although his position has the power set the course into right direction. And that is why he should be replaced with hopefully somebody willing to try to change things within the UCI and cycling.
But you know, despite how undiplomatic he expressed it it is time that somebody openly says it that the Spanish government and it's executive has the tools to fight doping but is still trying to cover it's athletes/sport stars instead.
But you know I could not agree more to your modified version of that quote.

Anonymous October 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm

You people have little to be doing

TheInnerRing October 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Maybe it means "having little to do" but so be it, I'm still interested in how the sport is run.

And so are thousands of readers everyday. Indeed this item's been one of the most read subjects so far this month.

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