interview

changing cycling’s culture
ew would dispute the claim that it has been a difficult year for cycling. The downfall of Lance Armstrong, who was exposed as a doping cheat, brought the image of the sport’s biggest ever star crashing down to earth and simultaneously dragged cycling’s name through the mud. However, Pat McQuaid, the President of the International Cycling Union, told The Daily that the sport is doing everything it can to restore its image. “Anti-doping has been a key priority for me as UCI President over the past eight years,” McQuaid said. “I would stress, though, that for the past 20 years, the UCI has been the pioneer in the fight against doping, at the forefront of many new technical advances – and often forging ahead on its own and taking all the risks associated with doing so. “Despite what is being said, the UCI has always done absolutely everything possible in tackling the scourge of doping in cycling without fear or favour. “Obviously, following the release of the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) reasoned decision into the Armstrong affair, we have had a number of difficult months and there is still a lot the UCI needs to do to repair the damage that Armstrong and others have caused to the sport we love. “We also clearly need to do a much better job communicating the UCI’s anti-doping activities and reassuring the public and our stakeholders that the UCI is indeed doing everything possible to ensure a clean sport – and that the peloton today is completely different from how it was in years past. “My ambition is to see the end of the ‘culture of doping’ in cycling and replaced with a ‘culture of anti-doping’. Obviously, you can’t change a whole culture overnight, it takes time. But I see a great deal of evidence that the necessary change is happening thanks to the UCI taking the lead in this fight over the past 20 years. Today, the armoury in our fight against doping is so much stronger than it was in the past and I truly believe that, as a result, the peloton has a completely different character than before.”

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UCI President Pat McQuaid outlines the priorities for the sport’s future

focus: Pat McQuaid “The UCI has been in discussions with WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and it remains committed to commissioning an independent audit of the behaviour and practices of our organisation during the Armstrong years. I’ll be taking a proposal about that to our management committee meeting in Bergen next month.” The Armstrong scandal may have diverted attention away from a number of positive, recent developments at the UCI that are unrelated to the fight against doping. n 2014 the governing body will launch the UCI Cycling Forum, an event that will gather together all stakeholders in the international cycling community for six days of meetings, discussions, debate and knowledge-sharing. The event will enable the cycling industry to exhibit their products and benefit from direct interaction with the sport’s decision-makers, while National Federations will be able to compare management and sporting matters. “We hope that the Forum will encourage the creation of a solid network that can only benefit the sport of cycling, with all parties working together for the future of our sport,” McQuaid added. “Along the same lines as the UCI Cycling Forum, but aimed solely at our affiliated National Federations, we have launched the UCI Sharing Platform.   “The first two-day seminar held in Geneva at the beginning of May was a tremendous success, bringing together representatives of 25 Federations. Future seminars will be held on other continents. “Additionally, the UCI is continuing its work to further globalise our sport and see it develop in lesser-known markets. The WorldTour is now represented on four different continents, and our Continental Tours continue to grow both in the quality of the events and of the riders taking part. The UCI also continues its work to professionalise cycling careers, with courses at the World Cycling Centre for coaches, mechanics and soigneurs.” McQuaid, who is standing for re-election as UCI President next month, said that he has an “ambitious agenda to continue developing the sport” – including five key priorities. “My first priority if I am re-elected will be to promote women’s cycling around the world,” he said. “The UCI needs to focus on developing women’s cycling, both from the perspective of equality, but also from a grassroots perspective. We need to develop a calendar for women’s elite cycling that is clear and understandable, as well as one that is global. “I want the UCI to help promote the women’s sport at an elite level by working with organisers, teams and broadcasters. We could do this by, for example, ensuring that events seeking WorldTour status are given priority if they have a women’s event – or that teams seeking WorldTour status should be given priority if they have a women’s team. “I’d like to see Olympic funds split equally between the development of both men’s and women’s cycling and, to reinforce this priority, I want to see more women holding decision-making positions in cycling. “My second priority is to continue the development of the sport and its various disciplines. BMX, for example, was a huge success in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. We also need to modernise the pro-cycling calendar and potentially the format of races. We need to ensure that what we are delivering is what the media and cycling’s fans want. “My third priority is to promote the green power of cycling. Cycling has a huge contribution to make towards solving green issues, especially in urban areas. “I also want to see a genuine ‘World Tour’ – one in which the best teams and riders compete in some of the biggest markets in the world, in particular the BRIC countries. We’re also seeing a lot of development in Africa, with some talent coming from places like Ethiopia, Eritrea and Rwanda. “Finally, my ambition is to ensure that, at the end of my third term as President, we finally see the end of the ‘culture of doping’ in cycling and that it is replaced with a culture of anti-doping.”

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McQuaid highlighted six positive developments in the battle against doping in the eight years of his presidency of the UCI, including the introduction of the external quality control programme for laboratories conducting health blood test analyses and the launch of the ‘100% Against Doping’ programme. “More importantly, we helped to develop – and then were the first IF to introduce – the blood passport programme,” he added. “The UCI was the pioneer for this programme, which has since become the new cutting-edge tool in the fight against doping. “We then successfully defended the blood passport before CAS, which recognised the programme as being a reliable proof of doping. So again, the UCI paved

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‘I want to see the end of the ‘culture of doping’ in cycling and replaced with a culture of anti-doping’
the way for other anti-doping organisations, who have since in turn adopted the blood passport system.” In 2008 the UCI introduced the mandatory use of an electronic whereabouts system as well as a blood anti-doping test for growth hormones. The following year, the ‘True Champion or Cheat’ programme and the introduction of the Ethical Evaluation, as part of the Pro Teams registration process, was brought in. McQuaid added that the UCI was “the first anti-doping organisation to introduce a ‘no-needle’ policy” that was later adopted by the International Olympic Committee at the London 2012 Olympic Games. “The UCI is absolutely committed to running a clean sport. Cycling has changed and today’s riders don’t deserve to be condemned by other people’s past misdeeds,” he said.

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