Among the more headline-grabbing sound-bites that emerged from the Change Cycling Now campaign press conference yesterday was the one which suggested that Greg LeMond was being lined up as a new UCI president.
It quickly became apparent that this wasn’t quite the case, as LeMond explained when he was asked about his intentions.
“I was asked by this group here, until we were successful, until we found a full time president, would I be willing to step in as an temporary, interim president. I said, well if we can’t find a guy more qualified, if we can’t find someone – I think there’s a guy next to Jaimie (Fuller), (anti-doping expert Dr Mike Ashenden) who would be better. But I would do whatever to help change the sport I could, but I’m not pushing myself.”
When pressed further about reports in the French media concerning his seriousness in taking over the presidency at the UCI, LeMond added. “Yeah…I mean, if you want, if there’s nobody else willing to do it, I would be…this is…I’m saying I would love to be part of the process of change and if that means acting as an interim president, then I’d be willing to do that, yes”.
At which point in the proceedings, Jaimie Fuller – the sports clothing company chairman who is the money behind the Change Cycling Now group – interjected to help LeMond, who appeared a little uncomfortable. “Just to explain, we’ve cornered him and we’ve forced him into this (laughing) and he’s most uncomfortable, he really… doesn’t want to do it…”.
At which point LeMond cut back in to clarify his position with regard to the UCI presidency. “…I would do it, but I want to make sure that people know that I’m not coming here because I want to president. I’m not really a politician, you have to compromise a lot (laughs), of course I would do what I could, to help a group, as a collective effort, we need to get the riders, the organisers of the Tour on board.”
At which point it became clear that ‘LeMond announces candidature for UCI presidency’ headlines announced prior to the CCN press conference were a little wide of the mark.
From this point on it looks like the CCN group and its Charter of the Willing is in a state of waiting. On one hand it has to hope that the rider’s organisation (CPA) gets behind Dr Michael Ashenden’s new anti-doping plans. In addition, for momentum to gather, support has to come from the members of the AIGCP pro teams group through Jonathan Vaughters, while Tour de France organisers ASO and Giro d’Italia organisers RCS have also made no response yet.
As far as the embattled UCI is concerned, it would appear that the announcement of the independent review commission has taken some of the wind out of the CCN sails – although the CCN insisted that both UCI president Pat McQuaid and Honorary president Hein Verbruggen should stand down immediately while the review is underway.
In fact, the only disquieting news for President Pat McQuaid was supplied by former AIGCP president and former Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer. When Lance Armstrong returned to the sport in 2009 to race in the Tour Down Under, Boyer, as head of the AIGCP, sent a letter to McQuaid asking him if Armstrong had fulfilled all the tests required to be issued with a biological passport.
Boyer said, “His written (letter) response came back quickly. And his said, basically, ‘Why get involved, if you think for one second that LA has not carried out the necessary tests then you are mistaken, that’s not something you need to worry about, that’s not your concern. From this point on I no longer consider you a credible leader of the AIGCP and I am going to open a disciplinary proceedings,’ that was Pat McQuaid’s response.”
Boyer still has the letter. Is this a small calibre bullet for the Smoking Gun CCN is looking for to fatally wound McQuaid’s presidency?