Pat McQuaid once said Lance Armstrong had no place in cycling, but now says the Texan has been unfairly treated

Former UCI president Pat McQuaid says the treatment of Lance Armstrong has been overly harsh.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, the Irishman, who headed the UCI between 2006 and 2013, described the “witch hunt after Armstrong” in the lead up to his eventual ban.

>>> Pat McQuaid: ‘I’m still waiting to see a change’

When USADA published their report into the US Postal Service team’s institutionalised doping, McQuaid said Armstrong had “no place in cycling” as he stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles.

But now McQuaid believes it is time to reduce Armstrong’s ban having seen the Texan treated differently to other riders caught doping in the same era.

“USADA wanted a big name,” he said. “They weren’t really interested in the smaller riders and also they made deals with the smaller riders in order to get the information they needed on the big guys.

“I can have a certain sympathy because I don’t think in sport, people in those situations, I think they should be treated equally.”

  • John Clay

    I agree entirely with ian franklin. Armstrong was organising doping and making sure others were doping as well. He is lucky not to be in prison. He has done more to damage the reputation of cycling than anyone else, although McQuaid is coming a close second. Cycling is a fantastic sport and everyone associated with doping in that era must be sidelined .

    • fredtaylor

      I disagree John C. Eddy Merckx introduced Lance Armstrong to Messr. Ferrari, post cancer, Dr. Ferrari, personal doctor to Mapei, Tony Romminger, 3X Vuelta winner, hour record holder, and Mapei, one of the teams Johann Muessew excelled on. I recommend that you read Dopeology, and get your facts straight. McQuaid Verbruggen Eddy Merckx, Lance, Wiesel all worked together, to produce spectacle, see Pantani, Riis, Ulrich etc., Kelme. I really do not mind people on Armstrongs back, if they do their homework, and really really analize incredible preformances, like Flandria,(see Maertens) Francesco Moser. Once you study, Abraham Olano, who really needs to go to jail. Lance, Santiago botero, or maybe all of us who watched these fine young men excell at GTs, TTs, and massive Cols?

      • Eric

        Agreed. Botero taken seriously as a World TT champ? Preposterous.

    • Eric

      You absolutely BLARE your ignorance of this topic. YOU, aid and abet known dopers, allowing these to lead you by the nose with their scapegoating of Armstrong.

      EPO doping originated with the covert advocacy of Dr. Michele Farrari and the doping juggernaut of teams such as Gewiss-Ballan, etc. Mr. Armstrong at best, improved on some aspects of organization about his teams’ activities and was aggressive in his defenses.

      No-one is going on like this about Operation Puerto and the national sporting federations of the respective European countries, about their having refused cooperation with the WADA.

      Only one nation did not shield its athletes: the United States. How convenient for you holier-than-thou act, there.

      • John Clay

        Perhaps we have all been a bit harsh on Lance. He is obviously a man of integrity as revealed by the recent incident in Aspen where he was happy for his girl friend to take the blame and claim that she was driving when he crashed the car in a car park.

        Was this another scapegoating? Were there many others committing the same crime in the car park?

  • cahern1968

    The only way to truly punish Lance Armstrong, and all dopers, is financially. Make them give back their ill gotten gains, that should see a massive change in doping. Why do they dope? To win races of course, and make more money. Lance with the aid of Pat McQuaid and others are trying to portray Lance as the unwilling victim of the system, people should not fall for this nonsense. It is obvious that Lance had “Help” from friends in high places. People who finished behind Lance in the standings were caught for doping, Tyler Hamilton and Ivan Basso are but two. But never Lance, were we to conclude that he was super human, most people either didn’t want to believe he was up to something or question his performance.

    However the most contemptible and unforgivable thing he did during the whole affair was to hold himself up as an icon for cancer suffers all around the world and to use this as a defense against people like Paul Kimmage, remember the famous Tour of California video.

    The reason for doping is finiancial gain, pure and simple. Unless there is a financial penalty for those who are caught it will continue. Take the prize money, the bonuses and any other money they get by their fraud, and that is what it is.

    • NitroFan

      MQuaid was part of the problem rather than the solution IMHO.

  • ian franklin

    Well this one beggars belief. There is no question that the UCI were party to the massive doping that took place under Pat’s watch. Pat is a man who has a history of not following the rules, going back to the days when he organised an Irish team to race in apartheid South Africa under false names earning Sean Kelly (amongst others) a lifetime ban from the Olympics. A few years ago I wrote and emailed him about some unfair practices that were going on in the Thai Cycling Association. He never replied or took any action. But he did turn up in Bangkok to be feted by the TCA and presented to the King. The Thais were then amongst his main backers for re-election. Make what you will out of that but for me, I can guess his thought process. His current stand for LA is no more than a childish swipe at Brian Cookson because he was democratically outvoted by the current president. Those of us who understand what went on with Armstrong believe that Armstrong was far more than a doper who was taking stuff “because everyone else was doing it”. That is a lie and a myth perpetrated by Armstrong to satisfy his own issues. My advice to Mr McQuaid? Forget it and walk away. You are not wanted in this sport.

    • Skip P.

      Agreed on all counts. McQuaid (the Fox) fixed things in the coop so the pecking order would go unchallenged. He would cull a few of the weaker hens while the rooster (Armstrong) strutted and preened. Winks and nods all around the farm.