Greg LeMond—America's only Tour De France winner—has been outspoken about cycling's problems, before, during and after the downfall of Lance Armstrong. But his scorn has been reserved not for Armstrong or the cyclists who dope, but with the people running the whole shebang: the heads of the International Cycling Union. And last night, in something of an open letter on his Facebook page (He adorably starts it by writing "Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing."), LeMond called on UCI President Pat McQuaid and board member Hein Verbruggen to resign.
Pat McQuaid, you know damn 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.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
At issue are persistent allegations that Lance Armstrong failed a doping test in 2001, when Verbruggen was president, and it was covered up by UCI. The claim has been made by multiple USPS teammates, and rather than investigate, UCI's response has been to sue everyone. They filed and won a defamation suit against Floyd Landis just last month, and are pursuing one against Irish journalist Paul Kimmage for accusing them of "having knowingly tolerated tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone."
"The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption," LeMond writes, and the debate over where cycling should go from here depends on where you fall on whether Lance Armstrong was the disease or merely a symptom. Was the most successful rider ever, running a highly organized doping program for more than a decade, a cancer that can be excised? Lance was doing what everyone else was doing is the last refuge for Armstrong fanboys, but it's arguably true in a world where the UCI vacated seven Tours because the runners-up probably weren't any cleaner. The question becomes: move on or start over?
In support of the latter, there have been calls for cycling's own Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a chance for cheaters to unburden themselves, whistleblowers to spill what they know, and amnesty for everybody. "The past is going to dig itself up, so why not boldly address it?" asks USADA head Travis Tygart. The alternative, a drip-by-drip destruction of the sport's recent history, appeals to no one—except perhaps those at USADA whose future employment depends on digging up the past, and those at UCI whose continued employment depends on burying it.