In the aftermath of Lance Armstrong’s banishment from cycling, Greg LeMond, a three-time winner of the Tour de France and the only remaining American champion in the event, called for the resignation of the leaders of cycling’s governing body.
LeMond, in a lengthy note on Facebook, wrote that Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, and Hein Verbruggen, its honorary president, “are the corrupt part of the sport.” On Monday, the UCI banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, concurring with a United States Anti-Doping Agency report that said Armstrong was deeply involved in a massive doping program. Verbruggen led the international organization from 1991-2005, when Armstrong won the Tour.
LeMond won the Tour 1986, ’89 and ’90 and wrote that corruption is a far bigger problem in cycling than doping. “I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling,” he said. “They do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
“You know dam[n] well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign. … The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.”
McQuaid, whose term expires next September, said in a press conference announcing the Armstrong sanctions Monday he had no intention of resigning. When previously accused of corruption by cyclist Floyd Landis and journalist Paul Kimmage, the UCI and the two leaders have filed defamation suits. This month, McQuaid, Verbruggen and the UCI announced that they had been awarded damages of about $10,000 in the Landis case. However, it is unclear whether it is applicable outside Switzerland.
LeMond, in his Facebook note, supports Kimmage “I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against Pat and Hein and the UCI,” LeMond wrote. “I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling.
“The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen.”