UCI president, Pat McQuaid, has dismissed calls for him to step down and be replaced by three-time Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond.
McQuaid told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that LeMond had done nothing for cycling in the past 25 years.
Demands for LeMond to replace McQuaid as president on an interim basis were made at a press conference held by the group, Change Cycling Now, in London last week.
CCN members accused McQuaid and predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, now the UCI’s honorary president, of mismanaging the sport for 20 years and demanded the resignation of both.
But McQuaid has dismissed CCN’s calls, and in a counter accusation, claimed that the demands of the group were undermined by a conflict of interest.
McQuaid told the AFP: “Greg was a great cyclist who I’ve known since the time when I was the organizer of the Tour of Ireland back in the 1980s, but I would ask him: ‘What have you done for cycling in the past 25 years?’ The answer is nothing,”
Speaking at last week’s press conference, LeMond reluctantly agreed that he would stand as interim president, “if there’s nobody else willing to do it.”
McQuaid, however, accused LeMond of arrogance, and highlighted the electoral route open to anyone wishing to challenge for his position.
“I find it a little bit arrogant for him to say he is prepared to serve as interim president of the UCI. The UCI is a democracy, there is an electoral system in place. If he wants to, he can always seek the support of his national federation and stand for election next September,” he said.
LeMond, a double world champion as well as a three-time Tour winner, is widely credited as one of the few dissenting voices of the Lance Armstrong era.
The American told last week’s press conference that he had feared for his safety during his years of public opposition to Armstrong, that he had approached the organisers of the Tour de France with a proposal to divide the administration of doping controls from promotion of the sport in 2007, and that he had been threatened with legal action by the UCI on three occassions
LeMond’s fellow panelists include Jaimie Fuller, the chairman of the sportswear brand, Skins, who is suing the UCI for a “total loss of confidence in professional cycling”, David Walsh, acclaimed author of LA Confidentiel and From Lance to Landis, whose new book, Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong, was published yesterday, and Dr Michael Ashenden, a leading anti-doping expert and former UCI employee.
“It seems clear to me that their leader, Jaime Fuller, is seeking to further his own business interests,” said McQuaid.
“Then there is a journalist who wants to promote a book coming out shortly and a haematologist who claims to have a method of detecting blood transfusions for the next Tour de France.
“Why are they not working with the UCI or the World Anti-Doping Agency?”
McQuaid said the UCI’s Independent Commission, headed by Sir Phillip Otton, had contacted CCN but had not received any input.
“They have discussed nothing with us; they only spoke of their own interests for two days in London,” McQuaid said of CCN.
“They are not part of cycling, they have no mandate, no status, but they do have a conflict of interest.”
McQuaid reiterated his rejection of some of the evidence published by USADA, and expressed confidence that the Independent Commission would recognise the UCI’s role as “a pioneer in the fight against doping.”
He said cycling had changed significantly since the Armstrong era due to the efforts of his organisation, and pledged to implement any recommendations made by the Independent Commission.
“If they say our attitude was inadequate, we’ll take the necessary measures to ensure that this sort of thing won’t happen again in the future with a big name rider,” said McQuaid.