• Cycling

McQuaid fears drug cheats will always be in cycling

ESPN staff
October 22, 2012
Standing firm: Pat McQuaid has no intention of resigning as UCI president © Getty Images

UCI president Pat McQuaid admits cycling will never be able to rid itself entirely of doping but has refused to stand down in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

McQuaid, who announced on Monday that the UCI would strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, admitted cycling was facing its "biggest crisis". There have been calls for McQuaid to step down, but he is determined to navigate the sport through choppy waters.

"Our sport is in danger but everyone needs to work together to move forward," McQuaid said. "Will it ever be free from drugs? That's a difficult one to answer. I'll have to say no - there is no aspect of society with no cheats, but it can be reduced."

Armstrong's titles from 1999 to 2005 will be deleted from the record books and despite the likes of Rabobank pulling their sponsorship in light of recent events, McQuaid is convinced cycling is far cleaner than it was.

"Cycling has changed a lot since then," McQuaid said. "What was available to the UCI at that time to confront situations like this was much more limited compared to what is there now. If we had the tools which we have now available to us, this sort of activity wouldn't go on.

"It is easy to look back in the past and say you could have done more. But you can only work with the system that's in place at the time.

"The UCI always had a commitment to the fight against doping, always had a commitment to try and protect clean riders and try and get cheats out of our sport. If I have to apologise now on behalf of the UCI, what I will say is that I am sorry that we couldn't catch every damn one of them red-handed and throw them out of the sport at the time."

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