Jay Buchan
Jay Buchan

Cycling boss fails to spark confidence for the future

SO BULLIES, cheats and liars eventually get what is coming to them, hey?

That's one deduction we can make from the revelation that Lance Armstrong was a drug cheat who bullied others into taking drugs to further his own cycling ambitions.

If only it were that simple.

The fact of the matter is things would never have come to this had the relevant authorities done their duty while all of it was taking place.

Since Armstrong began his reign for global supremacy until recently, the Union Cycliste Internationale (the world governing body for sport cycling) has done all it could to discredit those who have pursued him, namely the United States Anti Doping Agency.

The UCI repeatedly cast doubts on USADA's method and motivation. Yet they have now endorsed USADA's findings.

The UCI's inconsistent, even hypocritical statements hardly discredit the suggestion they turned a blind eye to what was going on.

In his speech handing down the decision to strip Armstrong of his seven titles, UCI chief Pat McQuaid thanked twoof the whistle blowers who helped bring it all to light - Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.

In the same address, McQuaid later called them "scumbags".

McQuaid defended the UCI's decision to accept money from Armstrong, after he had returned a drug test showing "elevated" levels of Erythropoietin (EPO).

McQuaid's defence was that Armstrong never tested positive.

He still hasn't but the UCI now endorses the USADA findings.

Why the change?

The governing body has the task of promoting the sport as well as disciplining those who break the rules.

So there is motivation to keep things quiet and sweep them under the carpet, rather than deal openly with potentially damaging situations.

And once the sweeping begins, there is no going back, so things get worse and worse until they eventually come to a head. Which is where the cycling world finds itself now.

Perhaps those "scumbag" riders coerced by Armstrong into doping wouldn't have done so if they'd felt they could turn to the UCI for support.

But the impression, allegedly endorsed by Armstrong, was that even the UCI could be influenced by him to overlook such trifling matters as positive drug tests.

Now McQuaid claims the focus needs to be on the future, rather than the unsavoury past. But how can there be any confidence the future will be any different while McQuaid remains in charge?

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