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?

Related links

Change Cycling Now group unveils Charter of the Willing

Change Cycling Now group to pressure UCI

LeMond calls for McQuaid to retire as UCI remain under fire

  • HUGH ANDERSON

    THE QUICKER WE GET THIS NONSENSE OUT OF THE PRESS THE EASIER IT WILL BE TO MOVE ON.
    THE LAST THING CYCLING NEEDS IS GROUPS WITHIN GROUPS FILLED WITH EX DOPERS AND JOURNALISTS.WE ALREADY HAVE DAVID WALSH SAYING ITS OKAY TO GET LANCE ARMSTRONG FOR HIS CRIMES,BUT THE REST CAN GO ON AS BEFORE,AND THATS OKAY.
    I DID NOTICE THE LACK OF PRO CYCLISTS ATTENDING THE MEETING IN LONDON,SO I ASSUME THEY DO TAKE THIS CROWD SERIOUSLY.
    IF THE UCI AND USADA DO NOT GO RIGHT DOWN THE LIST AND DOWN THE YEARS TO OTHER WINNERS OF THE TOUR THEN WE SHOULD JUST WIPE OUT THE LAST 30 YEARS OF CYCLING,NEVER MIND 7 TOURS,ALTHOUGH IF YOUR NOT CALLED LANCE THEN THEY WONT DO IT!
    THE MORE BAD PUBLICITY THAT KEEPS COMING UP THEN CYCLING WILL NEVER RECOVER.ANOTHER CROWD WANTING 15 MINUTES OF FAME IS THE LAST THING CYCLING NEEDS AT THE MOMENT.GREG LEMOND KNOWS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A PRO RIDER THE REST JUST THINK THEY KNOW.

  • Geoff Waters, Durban, South Africa

    Why simply change the UCI personnel, leaving its failed structures intact? Isn’t total regime change required? After all, the UCI was originally a dissident organisation set up in 1900 by a coalition of nations opposed to British domination of the International Cycling Association. Why have so many currently UCI-affiliated national cycling associations remained silent? Are they not equally complicit? To blazes with the blazers!

  • David Messenger

    Great idea, get LeMond in and other clean ex-pro’s, lets get cyclists in at the UCI, get rid of the the politician like people we have suffered for years… better still Dave Brailsford… people who understand how it needs to be run at the top to pull it together at grass roots !

  • Ken Evans

    Poetic justice ! I’m sure Armstrong would absolutely hate it ! As a replacement for McQuaid Lemond would be excellent. The UCI should have regular elections for President (e.g. every year, every 5 years, as a maximum, hey the President of America only gets 4 years at a time, with 8 years as the limit). Put Lemond in as Prez, as soon as possible, for one year, then have OPEN elections for the next guy. McQuaid just isn’t credible anymore, and doesn’t represent the UCI well, and is terrible PR for cycling.