Irish journalist David Walsh has led the criticism of the International Cycling Union (UCI), the world cycling governing body, and its Dublin-born president Pat McQuaid over the Lance Armstrong affair.
Walsh and former Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage have campaigned against Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after an in-depth investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The UCI confirmed on Monday that it will honor USADA’s decision to strip the 41-year-old American of all results from August 1998, including his record run of Tour de France triumphs from 1999 to 2005.
The decision has been sanctioned by McQuaid and the UCI, with McQuaid adamant that the 1,000-page report shocked him.
But Walsh, in an RTE radio interview, criticized McQuaid and called for his removal as UCI president.
Walsh told RTÉ, “Pat McQuaid in his statement said the UCI is stripping his titles. They are not. Lance Armstrong was already stripped of his titles by United States Anti-Doping Agency which they are entitled to do. What UCI is doing today is ratifying the decision."
“I couldn’t be more unimpressed with Pat McQuaid. Pat McQuaid is giving the impression that this report shocked him. My question to Pat is, ‘How could it shock you?’
“All the evidence has been out there for a long time. Floyd Landis sent his e-mails two years ago. Did Pat McQuaid ring up Floyd Landis and say, ‘Floyd what you’re saying is unbelievable. I need to speak to you. I need you to give me details.’
“If I went back four years before that, in 2006, Frankie Andreu, a former U.S. Postal rider, did an interview with The New York Times where he said, ‘I doped to help Lance Armstrong win his first Tour de France in 1999.’
“Pat McQuaid was president of UCI at that time. Did he ring up Frankie Andreu and say, ‘Frankie, you doped to help Lance? Was there much doping in the team? Could we speak? Will you tell me more?’
“Frankie Andreu would have told him everything. But the point is Pat McQuaid didn’t want to know.
“He said he wasn’t impressed and he was thinking of going back and trying to get the prize money that Frankie Andreu won in the 1999 Tour De France. McQuaid wanted to penalize him for telling the truth. The UCI has never wanted this report.”
Walsh continued, “McQuaid spoke for an hour, and did he apologize to clean riders who had careers ruined by others’ doping? Of course he didn’t.
“They have never wanted the honesty that has led to it. They are embarrassed by it now and basically they have thrown Armstrong under the bus, which Armstrong deserves.
“But they haven’t done it for the right reasons. They have done it to protect themselves.”