Tour de France 2020

McQuaid makes low-profile return to Tour de France

Former UCI president Pat McQuaid makes an appearance at the start of Friday's stage at the Tour de France, this time as a fan.

SAINT-JEAN-DE-MAURIENNE, France (VN) — A familiar face showed up at the start of Friday’s stage at the Tour de France: former UCI president Pat McQuaid.

The Irishman was making the rounds at the team buses, shaking hands with old friends and colleagues, and, as he admitted, with a few old enemies.

“I am a lot more relaxed now,” McQuaid told VeloNews. “I just watch from the distance what’s going on. And it saddens me what’s going on, but I don’t want to get into all that right now.”

Once at the eye of the storm, McQuaid has kept a low profile since losing his bid for a third four-year term as the UCI president to Brian Cookson. Since that 2013 election, Cookson has done a lot to distance himself from the era of McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen. The CIRC report released earlier this year was meant in part to serve as a new starting point for the cycling governing body.

On Friday, however, McQuaid didn’t want to discuss the past. He fielded a few questions from journalists but otherwise soaked up the atmosphere of the race.

“I love coming to the Tour,” McQuaid said. “I have a lot of friends here that I made during eight years as president, all of whom have come up to me and shook my hand. I will only be here today and tomorrow, and then I will go back home and watch the rest of the Tour on TV.”