Union Cycliste Internationale President Pat McQuaid is in Italy for the final stages of the Giro d?Italia and faced a barrage of questions about the growing number of doping scandals, police investigations and financial problems overshadowing cycling at the moment.
The jovial Irishman was happy to talk about all the problems, except for the UCI’s controversial biological passport anti-doping system.
MCQUAID ON BERNHARD KOHL?S REVELATIONS
?I haven’t seen completely what Kohl said. I’ve only seen a couple of excerpts. But I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in what he said. It’s always been the case when guys who get caught and that get thrown out of the sport, they start reflecting a little bit and they come out with anything,? he said.
“It’s rubbish what he says about the passport, because for a start he was caught in the Tour last year for using Cera. Passport or no passport, a classic doping case will catch individuals. He got caught with a (drug) that maybe he used for the first time in the Tour de France.?
?From that point of view, it doesn’t reflect badly on the passport. The passport was only in place from about February or March of that same year, so no profile had really been prepared as of July last year.?
?He said the blood values which we gave to him to show his team were A1, according to him, but that’s nothing to do with the passport. It’s completely different.”
MCQUAID ON 2008 GIRO CERA TESTS
The Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper revealed that Italian police have seized 82 samples from last years Giro d?Italia and intend to test them for Cera at the Lausanne anti-doping lab.
?I don?t know if they?ve gone to Lausanne. We?ve asked for them some time ago but what I was told by our anti-doping people that they?re in the custody of the Italian police and that they can?t leave wherever they were. I don?t know if that?s changed in recent days.?
?I don?t think they can test them for Cera. We asked for that some time ago. It?s true that Sella could test positive for Cera at the Giro but he?s gone anyway.?
MCQUAID ON VALVERDE
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has banned Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne) from racing in Italy but the Spaniard is still racing in his home country, having just won the Tour of Catalonia. It is up to the UCI to decide if he should be banned worldwide.
?Were still waiting for the Coni reasoning on Valverde before we can make any decision,? McQuaid said.
?It could come be soon, I think there?s 10 or 12 days left to go before the 30 days (deadline to deposit the reasoning) is up, so I assume we?ll get it before the deadline.?
?Our legal people then have to read it and study it and decide on what basis we act, if we act. It?s not a simple as a normal anti?doping A and B sample, done in a national sense, it a little more complicated legally than that.?
?We may not be in a position ban him internationally, so we might have to wait for CAS to make the decision.?
MCQUAID ON BOONEN AT THE TOUR
McQuaid has said he thinks it is right that Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is allowed to ride the Tour de France despite recently failing a second out of competition test for cocaine. However, he is not happy that the Belgian sprinter has damaged the image of cycling.
?From a human point of view, I think Boonen should be allowed to ride the Tour de France and any other race too because he hasn?t broken any sports rules,? he said.
?I?ve gone to the disciplinary commission for other reasons, for the damage he?s done to the image of the sport. But that will take time and I don?t see it happening before the Tour de France.?
MCQUAID ON MENCHOV AND HUMANPLASMA
“The UCI has no information that can match Menchov with anything. No matter who would end up with the pink jersey people will start to find (doping) connections. That’s unfortunate and I think it shouldn’t be the case.”
MCQUAID ON LANCE ARMSTRONG
McQuaid found it amusing that Lance Armstrong is only communicating by Twitter, hinting the 37 year-old Texan may be too tired to face the press.
?Perhaps he?s been suffering in the race and hasn?t had the energy to speak to the press,? he said mischievously.
?In a sms message the other day I told him he?s probably aged 20 years these last three weeks but he wasn?t happy with that.?
MCQUAID ON BIOLOGICAL PASSPORTS
We tried to ask Pat McQuaid about the UCI?s much vaunted Biological Passport system. He claimed months ago that the UCI would soon use the blood values to ban riders but it has never happened, even if names are expected in the next two weeks or sometime before the Tour de France.
?It?s moving on, it?s moving on, but I don?t want to talk about the passports?? McQuaid said, quickly disappearing into the chaotic Giro crowds.