Lance Armstrong: UCI president Pat McQuaid regrets donation

Pat McQuaid

The International Cycling Union (UCI) made a mistake accepting a donation from Lance Armstrong in 2002, president Pat McQuaid has admitted.

The UCI received $125,000 from the American in 2002, but said in 2010 that this was not part of a cover-up. external-link

"On reflection, it would have been better had we not taken that money," McQuaid, 63, told BBC Radio 5 live.

The Irishman, who is seeking re-election as UCI president, added: "Having said that, when we took it, we announced publicly, with a press statement, that the money was being given and what the money was being used for.

"It was done with the best interests, not in any underhand way."

Armstrong received a life ban from the United States Anti-Doping Agency for what it called "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The UCI denied it accepted the money to cover up a positive drug test from Armstrong.

McQuaid, who is opposed for the UCI leadership by head of British Cycling Brian Cookson, also believes the UCI is a victim of its own success in catching cheats.

"When we catch cheats, it's used in a sense as a stick to beat the back of the UCI and I think that's a little bit unfair," he said.

"We spend in the region of seven million Swiss Francs (£4.87m) a year to catch cheats.

"You don't spend that sort of money and fail. You don't spend that sort of money and not want to catch cheats."

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