This week, I took the unique step of publicly writing to the President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to offer a little advice on how to do his job. In short, Pat McQuaid needs to radically step up to the plate, or resign.
Now, for anyone who knows me, you may be surprised that its taken me this long to give someone that sort of advice in an open forum, but the current drugs scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong and the serial performance-enhancing culture it has revealed, meant it was time someone who has both a personal and commercial interest in world cycling aired a few home truths.
SKINS has been proud to be associated with a number of cycling teams and organisations around the world and while no criticism of our own partners is intended in any way, we’re all connected to the same sorry mess. A 1,000 page dossier has been presented to the UCI by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which includes sworn statements from witnesses about serial performance-enhancing drug violations by Lance Armstrong. Armstrong has decided he won’t fight the charges, so there is immediately implied guilt by association. But where does that leave the sport? The UCI has to act to restore confidence in a fallen product – and I’ve said so.
I admire Lance Armstrong’s outstanding work in support of his cancer charity, but, assuming the USADA report is accurate, he can go to ‘hell in a hand cart’ as far as his ‘achievements’ as a cyclist are concerned. This means the UCI will be left holding the baby and at the moment, I have little confidence in the ability of those in charge to even steady the ship – let alone steer a confident path to towards the future. That is why I wrote the letter.
You can read it for yourself by clicking here, but as you do, let me ask you this: What happens to world cycling if the array of stakeholders who have heavily invested into world cycling, decide to take legal recourse to recover investment, sponsorship and bonuses that have been contractually paid out on the basis of what is now seen as flawed and fraudulent performance? What if major international companies sue for breach of contract across the whole of the sport? What happens then? We already have one US organisation who paid Armstrong 12 million dollars over three years as incentive for 4 consecutive TdF victories saying they are considering their options. If they don’t institute legal proceedings soon to retrieve their money plus some then I’ll change my name to Shirley, put a flower in my hair and start wearing skirts. There are no doubt many others.
The UCI have to act. Not just to force Lance Armstrong to respond, but also to create and publish a plan that stops the whole thing imploding. At the moment, with alarming allegations surrounding the possible involvement of senior UCI officials in a major cover-up and bribery, I have little confidence that they’re capable – or suited – to act in the best interests of world cycling.
Read my letter to Pat McQuaid and judge for yourself. I’d be interested in your comments.
One other thing. I wouldn’t like to be in Lance Armstrong’s shoes today. He could easily find himself facing perjury charges based on evidence that he has given under oath denying any involvement in doping. We saw Marion Jones sentenced to prison for perjury and it’s not impossible that the same could happen to Armstrong.
Strange times indeed…
Author: Jaimie Fuller
Copyright: SKINS International Trading AG
Further information: Jaimie Fuller - firstname.lastname@example.org