PAT MCQUAID SAYS that the International Cycling Union (UCI) could not have been involved in a cover-up to help Lance Armstrong– because the disgraced cyclist never actually tested positive.
In his first major radio interview since the UCI stripped the American of his seven Tour de France titles on Monday, McQuaid admitted that world cycling bosses may have been better off if they had not accepted financial donations of $25,000 in 2002 and $100,000 in 2007 from Armstrong.
In his book The Secret Race, former team-mate Tyler Hamilton alleged that Armstrong tested positive for the banned substance EPO during the Tour of Switzerland in 2001. Armstrong was not worried, Hamilton said, and told him that “it has all been taken care of.”
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, McQuaid dismissed the talk and said that while some of Armstrong’s tests had presented suspicious results, there had never been a positive test on which they could act.
“On reflection — and I’ve stated this as well at press conferences over the past years — on reflection, the UCI might have been as well not accepting that money,” McQuaid said on the Pat Kenny Show.
“The point is, there was nothing to take care of. How is he saying that he took care of something when there was nothing to take care of? There has been no positive test.
Braggard talk between cyclists out on a bike maybe. I’m not saying that Lance Armstrong didn’t say that to Tyler Hamilton. He may have done. But you would have to ask Lance Armstrong why he said that to Tyler Hamilton.
All I can say is that there was no positive test to cover up.
Asked if the UCI would consider legal action against Armstrong for the alleged implication, McQuaid said that it was a possibility.
“That’s something that the management committee will invariably discuss on Friday,” he said.
In a wide-ranging interview the world cycling boss also said that the UCI would press ahead with action to sue Paul Kimmage for defamation, saying that the Rough Ride author and vocal anti-doping advocate had stepped over the line with allegations he had made.
“Let me separate the Lance Armstrong affair, the USADA affair from Paul Kimmage because they’re two separate things,” McQuaid said. “Paul Kimmage and David Walsh have done a very good job in Ireland of linking the two but in actual fact, they’re completely separate.
“This is nothing to do with Paul Kimmage, writer of Rough Ride. This is nothing to do with Paul Kimmage, anti-doping advocate. This is nothing to do with the Paul Kimmage that I knew very well as a cyclist. This is to do with a journalist who went over the line and who called me corrupt. I will not accept that on my behalf, nor on my family still living in Ireland.”