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McQuaid: “Cycling is bigger than Armstrong, Landis, Contador”

UCI president Pat McQuaid says cycling will weather the doping storm involving some of the biggest names in the sport.

With new accusations leveled at seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and the unresolved doping case involving Alberto Contador, McQuaid remained defiant that cycling will overcome its latest challenges.

“This sport is bigger than Lance Armstrong, bigger than Floyd Landis or Alberto Contador,” McQuaid said in an interview Thursday with the La Parisien newspaper. “I don’t know if Armstrong is guilty or not. What I am sure of is that cycling is cleaner than it’s ever been. It’s the cleanest of any sport.”

McQuaid called the latest allegations against Armstrong “an American story” and said that “cycling will continue. What’s done in the past is over. I work on cycling of today.”

McQuaid also expressed his frustration with the ongoing Contador case, which remains unresolved. Spanish officials said Wednesday that a decision should be revealed no later than February 15.

“I don’t want to talk about the case before it’s completed, but naturally that fact that clenbuterol was found is a stain on last year’s Tour. Guilty or not, Contador had done us wrong,” he said, reiterating comments he made earlier that Contador likely won’t race the 2011 Tour. “It’s just being practical (about Contador in Tour). If the case is not resolved by March, it will be too late to prepare for the Tour. Of course, we want the case to be resolved as quickly as possible.”

Regarding Landis and his recent announcement that he would retire permanently from the sport, McQuaid expressed his annoyance with Landis, who has leveled dramatic claims of corruption against the UCI.

“I don’t believe a lot of what he says. He’s done a lot of damage to the sport and he continues to do so,” McQuaid said. “I wish him goodbye and good luck. But it’s not right for people like him to say that I am corrupt. There’s no proof and he has no credibility.”

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