Published January 23, 2013
LONDON – The head of cycling's governing body has been replaced on a key International Olympic Committee panel as he deals with the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid said Wednesday he was too busy to attend all the meetings of the Olympic commission evaluating bids for the 2020 Summer Games.
"It's quite simple," McQuaid told The Associated Press. "I have too much going on and I can't afford to be spending two weeks away from the office in March."
McQuaid, an IOC member from Ireland, was appointed to the 10-person commission in September as the representative of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. He has been replaced by Patrick Baumann, a Swiss IOC member and secretary general of international basketball federation FIBA.
"He couldn't meet the schedule and we had to find someone else," IOC vice president Craig Reedie, who chairs the evaluation commission, told the AP. "That's all. There's nothing sensitive about it in any way."
The IOC panel is assessing the 2020 bids from Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul. The commission will pay four-day visits to each city in March and compile a detailed report ahead of a special briefing with the candidates in July in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC will choose the host city Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires.
McQuaid told the IOC he would be unable to go on the visits to all three cities.
"I contacted ASOIF, because I was their representative, and suggested that they find a replacement," McQuaid said.
It's not the only position McQuaid has relinquished in recent months. He lost his spots on the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee and foundation board at the end of the year. He was replaced by Ugur Erdener of Turkey.
McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen have come under scrutiny in the wake of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed systematic doping by Armstrong and his teams. Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from sports for life.
The report included allegations by Armstrong's former teammates that he paid the UCI $125,000 to cover up a positive test from the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. While admitting to doping in his interview last week with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong confirmed making a donation to the UCI but denied the 2001 positive test and any cover up.
"That story isn't true. There was no positive test. No paying off of the lab. The UCI did not make that go away. I'm no fan of the UCI," Armstrong told Winfrey.
McQuaid and Verbruggen both said the interview vindicated them and the UCI of any improper collusion with Armstrong. However, WADA director general David Howman said Armstrong's financial donation to UCI was inappropriate and the matter needs to be clarified.
The UCI has set up an independent commission to investigate the doping scandal and the federation's links with Armstrong. McQuaid and Verbruggen are expected to meet with the three-member commission during its scheduled April 9-26 hearing in London.
Other members of the 2020 Olympic evaluation commission include IOC members Guy Drut of France, Frank Fredericks of Namibia, Nat Indrapana of Thailand and Claudia Bokel of Germany; El Salvador Olympic committee head Eduardo Palomo; Paralympics representative Andrew Parsons of Brazil; and IOC executive director Gilbert Felli.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report.