Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) president Pat McQuaid has issued an open letter to professional cyclists asking them to assist in restoring cycling’s image after a string of doping scandals and revelations.

In the letter – published on Tuesday afternoon – McQuaid admits that the “tests provided by the scientific community were simply not adequate enough to combat the problem” of doping.



He refers specifically to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report that concluded that Lance Armstrong and many of his US Postal team-mates were part of an organised doping programme, particularly during the Texan’s seven Tour de France wins, from 1999 to 2005.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour wins as a result of the USADA investigation. Many other high-profile riders also admitted to doping during their career including George Hincapie, Michael Barry, Christian Vande Velde, Bobby Julich and David Zabriskie.

Part of the report strongly suggested that the UCI assisted in covering up a positive test returned by Armstrong during the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

“You will have seen in recent media reports that Philippe Gilbert, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins among many others have been strong voices in telling the world that today’s cycling is cleaner than ever before. Of course, they are right,” wrote McQuaid.

“You, today’s riders not only participate in the most innovative and effective anti-doping programmes in sport but above all you have understood which choice to make for your career and for your sport. The result is that our sport is cleaner.

“We must all continue to work to keep improving the culture in cycling through education, prevention and as far as you are concerned by making the one choice that counts. At the end of the day it is you the riders who have the ultimate say about whether our sport is clean.”

McQuaid then goes on to explain that the UCI will be setting up a doping ‘hotline’ that riders can use to talk directly to the UCI with any concerns relating to doping.

“I know that it will take some time to build trust and confidence in this new line of communication, but I am confident that, with the best intentions from both sides, we can build that trust. And by doing so, we will accelerate the change in culture that we need in our sport,” McQuaid explained. 

The letter also restates the UCI’s commissioning of an independent review and a separate stakeholder review, both of which the organisation announced last week. The independent review will look at the allegations made against the UCI in the USADA report.

“This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads,” said McQuaid. “Nor is it the first time it has had to engage in the painful process of confronting its past and beginning afresh. It will do so again with renewed vigour. Its stakeholders and fans can be assured that cycling will find a new path forward.

“Together, we can maintain cycling’s popularity and ensure its bright future.”

External link



Pat McQuaid’s open letter in full

Related links



UCI details independent review



USADA Armstrong doping report in brief



UCI responds to USADA Armstrong doping evidence



USADA publishes details of Armstrong doping case file

  • mike reynolds

    What a complete joke this idiot Pat is. The thing is we as fans of cycling actually have the power to do something about this. If each and everyone of us decided to boycott everything to do with cycling as in watching, spectating, buying bikes, riding bikes until this bunch of clowns known as the UCI get lost then we will get somewhere. We can complain all we want but at the end of the day by giving these idiots media time and by continuing to follow the sport they sit back happy in the knowledge that we will all just follow like sheep. We might complain but that makes little difference. WE have the power to do something and maybe it is time we organised a worldwide official boycott until this is all done and dusted and sorted out. No fans means no cycling and more improtantly for these people it means no money. We could get them to take notice over night if we all joined together with an REAL boycott. No bikes, no reading bike magazines, no buying bikes, no watching bike, nothing! Watch them take notice then

  • Chris

    the riders are already doing their bit Pat.

    do your bit, and resign.

    or is there a good reason why we need you, rather than the next man?

  • steve hackett

    get him out!

  • Andrew

    Armstrong’s suspicious test for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland

    The 2001 Tour du Suisse (Tour of Switzerland) was conducted from June 19 – 28, 2001
    and was won by Lance Armstrong. Armstrong told both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis that
    he had tested positive for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and stated or implied that he had
    been able to make the EPO test result go away. Armstrong’s conversation with Hamilton was
    in 2001, and he told Hamilton “his people had been in touch with UCI, they were going to have a
    meeting and everything was going to be ok.” Armstrong’s conversation with Landis was in
    2002, and Landis recalled Armstrong saying that, “he and Mr. Bruyneel flew to the UCI
    headquarters and made a financial agreement to keep the positive test hidden.” Consistent
    with the testimony of both Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Landis, Pat McQuaid, the current president of
    UCI, has acknowledged that during 2002, Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel visited the UCI
    headquarters in Aigle in May 2002 and offered at least $100,000 to help the development of
    cycling. UCI vehemently denies that this meeting or payment was, as Mr. Armstrong told Mr.
    Hamilton and Mr. Landis, tied to a cover-up of the 2001 Tour de Suisse sample. In any case,
    what is important for the case is that substantial parts of Mr. Hamilton’s and Mr. Landis’s
    recollections of Mr. Armstrong’s statements have been corroborated.

    As discussed in more detail in Section V(C) below, Dr. Martial Saugy, the Director of the
    WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland has confirmed to both
    USADA and the media that his laboratory detected a number of samples in the 2001 Tour de
    Suisse that were suspicious for the presence of EPO. Dr. Saugy also told USADA that he was
    advised by UCI that at least one of these samples belonged to Mr. Armstrong. Therefore, even
    without any consideration of the laboratory test results for these samples, as set forth above,
    Tyler Hamilton’s and Floyd Landis’s testimony regarding Mr. Armstrong’s admission that he
    used EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland finds substantial corroboration in the statements of
    both Dr. Martial Saugy and UCI President Pat McQuaid.

    USADA US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team Investigation Reasoned Decision, Section IV.B.4,d, pages 51 and 52.

    Did the UCI keep the test hidden? Who do you believe?

  • Mike

    Go now Pat. You are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • TG

    Pat. You should address this to the people running the sport. If teams would not employ riders with previous convictions, then surely the cyclist will think twice about doping in the first place.

  • TK Stewart

    McQuaid is a bad joke. So I suppose this makes everything all better? Paul Kimmage must be satisfied, right?

    The best way to “maintain cycling’s popularity and ensure its bright future” would be to send McQuaid packing.

    Just my opinion.

    I don’t want to get sued.

  • ian sinclair

    mcquaid you have had your time and had your eyes and ears shut, just resign and slope off.

  • mick lee

    Sling your hook mr mcquaid . time for a change, you where on watch and hit the iceberg, go down with your ship.

  • bruce thomas

    McQuaid is still trying to con us into thinking he is part of the solution and not part of the problem. its not that the UCI didn’t have the means to detect doping, but they didn’t have the will. Once they saw the dollars rolling in — Nike and US TV rights they let it the dice fall where ever they fell. McQuaid and Verbruggen are worse than Pharmstrong. Don’t let them tough this one out like they always do. They MUST go.

  • Andrew Finfer

    McQuaid’s primary concerns are clear – “cycling’s popularity” and “bright future”. Will the current leadership of the UCI take effective action against those who cheat that will of necessity adversely affect cycling’s popularity and bright future? I doubt it.

  • Howard

    To Pat McQuaid – Physician heal thyself! The UCI should be scrapped and a new organisation formed without several of the people currently running the UCI involved!

  • Ken Evans

    Blah, blah, blah.

  • Robert

    What a joke, given that the UCI protected Armstrong for years. For example, by issuing him with a backdated TUE and by repeatedly ignoring good evidence that he was doping, as with those 2001 and 2002 Epo tests that were reported by the director of the Lausanne laboratory. They even tried to destroy the reputation of many those involved in highlighting Armstrong’s doping, as with the notorious Vrijman report. If McQuaid is really concerned about doing something to clean up the sport his first step should be resign, along with Hein Verbruggen.

    As to the supposed ‘independent review’, unless it involved people like Michael Ashenden it will be just another empty PR exercise.