|“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.