Cycling Ireland Reject Pat McQuaid

Cycling IrelandPat McQuaid has suffered something of a setback in his ambitions to secure another term as President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), a position he has held since 2005, after Cycling Ireland voted against his nomination. At an extraordinary general meeting Cycling Ireland voted 74 in favour and 91 against the motion: ‘That Mr. Pat McQuaid be and is hereby nominated by Cycling Ireland to stand as a candidate for the Presidency of the UCI at the 2013 UCI Congress and that the said nomination be executed and submitted forthwith by the Board of this Company’ The body had originally supported McQuaid and the re-vote and volte-face seems to have come as something of a surprise.


All is perhaps not lost for the 63-year-old Irishman – whose own cycling career stretched from1966 to 82, and included two Tour of Ireland victories in 1975 and 1976 – as he has secured support for nomination in Switzerland where he now lives.


The election for the Presidency is set for September.



More Doping at Vini-Fantini

More Doping at Vini-FantiniThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the provisionally suspension of Vini-Fantini rider Mauro Santambrogio. The 28-year-old Italian tested positive for EPO (a banned blood-boosting hormone) on the first day of the Giro d’Italia before going on to win Stage 14. In a statement the UCI said: ‘The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Rome indicating an adverse analytical finding of EPO in his urine sample collected at the Giro d’ Italia on 4th May 2013… The provisional suspension of Mr. Santambrogio remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Italian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.’


Santambrogio is the second Vini-Fantini rider to test positive for EPO after Danilo Di Luca, who had already served a ban for blood-boosting at the 2009 Giro d’Italia, failed an out-of-competition test taken on April 29. Di Luca was sacked by the team and branded ‘an idiot’ by the Team Director. With the latest blow to the team – who competed in the Giro on a wildcard invitation – Vini Fantini boss, Luca Scinto, has told Italian website that he fears for the future, commenting, ‘Everything’s finished, the whole project is finished… What do you want me to tell you, I’m distraught, I’m ruined.’



Gran Fondo Challenge Sri Lanka Key to UWCT

Gran Fondo Challenge Sri LankaThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has indicated that it intends to use the upcoming Gran Fondo Challenge Sri Lanka, which takes place in and around the capital Colombo April 5-7, as something of a litmus test for the future of Asian events. The Gran Fondo Challenge Sri Lanka is part of the UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT), three days of events – Road Race, Time Trial and Criterium – representing the first time that the series has set out its stall in Asia since its inception in 2011. Naturally Asia has enjoyed a long and successful association with the bike; they are widely used as an economic and environmental means of transportation and, as organisers are keen to highlight, Sri Lanka in particular offers, ‘fair weather, varied landscape, well-built roads and beautiful scenery.’


The number of elite races in the region is also on the rise with events such as the Tour of Beijing (World Tour) and Tour of Langkawi (2.HC) gaining in popularity, and the UCI, it seems, are eager to capitalise on this growth market for both audience and competitors – elite and amateur alike. The UCI has indicated that the Gran Fondo Challenge Sri Lanka will be a key for them to better understand the potentialities (and challenges) that Asia presents, with UCI Development Coordinator Andrea Marcellini commenting, ‘The potential Asia has is immense… In the next few years, we hope to help develop people’s interest in cycling by bringing at least two more UWCT Qualifiers.’


Further details on the Gran Fondo Sri Lanka can be found at and on the wider UWCT series at


Featured Features

Lance Armstrong: In Other Words

Lance Armstrong Oprah Winfrey confessionThe potential fallout from Lance Armstrong’s confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey is almost too much to comprehend; the retaliations, the potential legal actions, the possible out-of-court settlements, further revelations of complicity to come… What’s clear though is that pretty much everyone has something to say on the matter.


With this in mind Cyclo brings you some of the choicest quotes from around the world, but first thought it worth pointing out that this is the biographical information on the disgraced Texan still available at  ‘If scripted by Hollywood, the story would be dismissed as trite melodrama: A deadly disease strikes a promising athlete. Despite desperately thin odds, he manages not only to beat the affliction but also to return to the sport and win its top prize, not once but a record seven times. Unbelievable, except it’s true.’ – Yeh, except as we now know, it’s not…


‘(The interview was) nothing but a public relations exercise… If he’d wanted to come clean and seek redemption I would hope that he would seek some appropriate tribunal and give evidence under oath, subject himself to cross-examination and tell the facts. Not just the snippets that he sees is convenient for his own purposes.’ – John Fahey, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President


‘To me (the interview) just seemed like a pantomime because Lance Armstrong should be in court, in front of a jury answering the hard questions… ‘ – Nicole Cooke, speaking to BBC Sports


‘When he says he’s sorry now, how do we know he’s not still lying? How do we know it’s not just another great performance by the all-time leader in them?’ – Rick Reilly, sportswriter, long-term (ex?) friend and previous defender of Armstrong,


‘There are lawyers across the country representing various interests who are recording that interview. From a legal perspective, his issues are becoming more difficult, not less. I don’t see that he solved any problems. I think he opened the door on others.’ – Matt Orwig, former Federal Prosecutor


‘Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.’ – Travis Tygart, CEO of the Untied States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)


‘It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including among others doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test result. However, Lance Armstrong also rightly said that cycling is a completely different sport today than it was 10 years ago. In particular the UCI’s introduction of the biological passport in 2008 – the first sports federation to do so – has made a real difference in the fight against doping… Finally, we note that Lance Armstrong expressed a wish to participate in a truth and reconciliation process, which we would welcome.’ – Pat McQuaid, UCI President


‘Armstrong has destroyed anyone who has been successful in cycling… I get pissed off when I hear that you can’t win the Tour without doping. Look at Andy Hampsten (winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia, third in the 1989 Giro and fourth in the TdF in 1986 and 1992) – there was no way he was on any doping program.’ – Greg LeMond, three-time TdF champion, now officially the only American to have won the race), speaking to Cyclingnews


‘If he doped while I raced with him, then I would have a lot to say, but how can I comment on 10 years ago?’ – Mark Cavendish, via Twitter


‘It (the interview) didn’t go nearly far enough… he has to name names, we need him to spell out the fact that his doctor, Michele Ferrari, doped him, that his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, supported him. That’s the kind of detail that will help us move forward in a way that helps cycling.’ – David Walsh, the journalist that first raised questions over Armstrong’s integrity, Speaking on BBC Breakfast


‘Forget about trying to judge his contrition level. Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. Oprah’s interview, with all due respect to her and her efforts to do a credible job, is window dressing. Armstrong can make a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge about doping whether he’s sincerely sorry or not. But very little of what he said Thursday night leads me to believe he’s ready to do that.’ – Bonnie Ford, journalist


‘If you never met this jerk, well, count your blessings.’ – Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports


‘I’m really disappointed. He owed it to me. You owed it to me Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it. And now we’re supposed to believe you?’ – Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong’s former USPS teammate Frankie Andreu, speaking on CNN


And finally (for now):


‘The only thing more abhorrent than Armstrong being a recidivist drugs offender, is the years of repeat denials and bullying of anyone who challenged his integrity. And the only thing more abhorrent than all of that is the charade, stage-managed, televised confessional’ – Editor,



The UCI versus… Well, Everyone

UCI doping talks with UCIICSomething of a standoff has developed between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the independent commission it established (the UCIIC) to investigate the culture of doping in the sport. Whilst the UCIIC is adamant that an amnesty for those ready to admit to past misdemeanors is essential if a full and frank picture of the drugs landscape is to be revealed the UCI have reject any such measures. A result of the difference of opinion is that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Untied States Anti-Doping Agency – the USADA, who doggedly pursued Armstrong – plus pressure group Change Cycling Now (CCN) will not be involved in proceedings. In an attempt to resolve all party differences the UCIIC has requested an emergency meeting to address the issue directly with the UCI; it has been suggested that the meeting will be held at some point after January 21, and that it will take place in London, in public.


On the subject of the UCI’s reluctance for any form of amnesty, Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, has stated: ‘UCI’s refusal to agree to allow a limited opportunity for riders to come forward and be truthful without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI obviously calls into question the UCI’s commitment to a full and thorough investigation and creates grave concern that the UCI has blindfolded and handcuffed this Independent Commission to ensure a pre-determined outcome.  The current terms of reference are not good for clean athletes or moving this sport forward to a better future.’



From Russia With No Love

Katusha denied UCI ProTour licence As we reported yesterday (December 11) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank has been granted a ProTour licence for 2013, but at the seemingly inexplicable expense of Katusha, whose own application was declined by the International Cycling Union (UCI) despite the Russian team finishing second, behind Team Sky, in this year’s Tour standings. With much mystery still surrounding the decision – and with the UCI rather unhelpfully commenting only that ‘The request from the team Katusha for registration in the first division has been rejected.’ – it is reasonable to say that Katusha are a little unhappy with the state of affairs.


In a strongly worded press release Katusha stated both their amazement and anger over the decision: ‘At (the) present moment Katusha Team has no information regarding the reasons for the decision of the UCI to reject the request from the team for registration in first division. Team management, riders and staff are extremely surprised by the lack of justification for such a decision made by the UCI… In fact the only Russian team, where the majority of riders are Russian citizens, has been excluded from participation in races of the World Tour. Thus, this decision of the UCI has suspended Russia as a country from participation in cycling competitions of the highest level.’


Clearly not prepared to simply roll over, the team’s statement continues, ‘In the nearest future the management of the Russian team Katusha intends to investigate thoroughly this incident, first of all in order to give all possible explanations to the riders and staff of the team, as well as to choose a future strategy. In addition, the Katusha Team is not retreating from the plans that have been made for the next season and is preparing for the official team presentation, which is scheduled for mid-December 2012 in Italy.’


And as if that was not fighting talk enough, they conclude: ‘The Russian team intends to defend its interests with the help of all possible civilized instruments and methods, including going to court…. Katusha is ready to fight and is stronger than ever.’ Cyclo, will keep you posted.



Cycling World Series Taking Shape?

UCI in talks for Cycling World SeriesThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed that it has been in talks with Omega Pharma-QuickStep owner Zdenek Bakala and his business partner Bessel Kok since late 2011 about possible restructuring of the pro road cycling calendar which would see the introduction of a whole new raft of races. The UCI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bakala, Kok and other ‘cycling stakeholders’ to develop a Cycling World Series likely to comprise of 10 new four-day events that would run alongside a number of existing one-day races and the Giro, Vuelta and Tour de France. Crucially – and perhaps of most damage-limitation interest to the UCI – there would also be a fully transparent and far-reaching commitment to anti-doping.


Alongside Omega, it is believed that Vaconsoleil-DCM, Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, Garmin-Sharp, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Rabobank and Radioshack-Nissan Trek have expressed an interest in involvement. Team Sky have yet to make their own position clear.


Amid growing press speculation, particularly that suggesting that this could mark the beginning of the end for the governing body’s outright control of the sport, the UCI have stated, unequivocally: ‘No agreement has been reached on the reforms that will take place to the calendar and as such any media reports about the future of the calendar are pure speculation at this stage. However, the UCI will retain full control over the calendar, including sporting and technical elements.’



Armstrong Panel Named

Lance Armstrong Doping board:  Sir Philip Otton, Malcolm Holmes, Tanni Grey-Thompson  It has been announced that the panel assembled to investigate the issues and allegations raised and leveled by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) regarding the far-reaching Lance Armstrong scandal will consist of the former Court of Appeal judge Sir Philip Otton, Australian lawyer, Malcolm Holmes QC and UK House of Lords Peer and Paralympic Champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. The Commission, which is to be chaired by Otton, was assembled by John Coates, President of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport, and will be entirely independent not only of the International Cycling Union (UCI), but of CAS itself.


Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI, commented on the announcement: “The wide ranging terms of reference demonstrate the Commission’s determination to review fully the issues contained in the USADA report and I welcome that… As I have said previously, the Commission’s report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.  We will co-operate fully with the Commission and provide them with whatever they need to conduct their enquiry and we urge all other interested stakeholders to do the same.  We will listen to and act on the Commission’s recommendations.’


The Commission will hold a hearing in London between April 9 and 26 next year, with the aim of submitting its report to the UCI by June 1.