UCI says no contact so far in probe
Cycling's top official Pat McQuaid has questioned whether the latest investigation into cheating at the highest level of the sport is being driven by new information or old vendettas.
International cycling union UCI chief Pat McQuaid told AP on the sidelines of the Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday that neither the U.S. federal authorities nor Interpol have asked for anything from the UCI.
Investigators have contacted sponsors and reportedly former teammates of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The investigation gained global attention after disgraced rider Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour victory, admitted doping and implicated Armstrong and other riders.
McQuaid wondered whether the federal probe was based on facts or the product of Landis' seeking revenge against the cycling community following the taint on his career.
"To some extent, when you look at the way the investigation has come about, you have to ask whether there is a genuine investigation or whether there are vendettas going on here," McQuaid told the AP. "From that point of view, it's unfortunate that people who could have approached this in a completely different way didn't do so. They just went public.
"From that view, it's an investigation that has taken place in the public arena, which was unnecessary."
Landis has also implicated the UCI in his allegations, the latest of which were published in The Wall Street Journal last month. Landis has claimed that Armstrong tested positive for EPO at the Tour de Suisse in 2002 and paid off then UCI president Hein Verbruggen to keep it quiet. Armstrong won the 2001 Swiss race, but did not compete there in 2002.
McQuaid, who has been UCI chief since 2005, denied any cover up. And he doubted the U.S. authorities would be in touch with the UCI, because "this is not a doping investigation as such."
"I know the actual facts and the work UCI did during that period in the fight against doping and I know we are completely in the clean from what we did," McQuaid said. "We were testing even at that time more than anyone else.
"If it's proven these guys were beating the system, they were beating the system put in place by the scientific authorities, by WADA and everyone else."
McQuaid dismissed any suggestion that the UCI covered up Armstrong's positive test in exchange for payments of $25,000 in 2002 for its antidoping program and $100,000 in 2005 for the purchase of a Sysmex machine used for analyzing blood. The donation has raised questions of a conflict of interest.
McQuaid said the UCI conducted a review in which it contacted laboratories that had done testing at the time and found that each EPO test was followed up.
"We have a very clear file that will show to any investigation that the UCI did everything correct and did not and could not have hid a positive control," McQuaid said. "The conflict of interest element of it to my mind is taken away.
"The fact is we were accused of possibly hiding positive control because we received money. The fact is we didn't hide a positive control. The fact is there was no positive control, and the fact is that Lance Armstrong has never been