Rejection by Cycling Ireland a blow for Pat McQuaid
Clubs vote 91-74 not to back his nomination as candidate for president of UCI
UCI president Pat McQuaid: Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.
With just over three months to go until the UCI presidential election will be held at the World Championships in Italy in September, Pat McQuaid’s odds of remaining in power have suffered two setbacks over the weekend.
On Saturday an extraordinary general meeting was held by Cycling Ireland in the Red Cow hotel in Dublin. It gave its member clubs a chance to decide whether or not McQuaid should be nominated for a third term. After arguments for and against were put forth, clubs voted 91-74 not to back him.
The embarrassing defeat means that his sole remaining option to be able to run for president is if Swiss Cycling, the national federation of the country where he now lives, stands by its previous statement that it will nominate him.
That pledge of support was made on May 16th but since then, there have been indications that some of Swiss Cycling’s board members may have been misrepresented when the federation announced they had voted to back him.
In addition, three members of the federation plus the sports clothing company Skins have joined together to take legal action against the nomination.
Equally serious for McQuaid is the news that the American Mike Plant has compiled what has been described as a “damning dossier” on him. Reportedly put together with the help of private investigators, the dossier was presented to the others present at Friday’s management committee meeting in Bergen, Norway.
Thought to relate to McQuaid’s dealings with Lance Armstrong, the dossier reportedly led to heated exchanges. No details have been released as to the conclusions reached, but Plant has officially withdrawn his support for McQuaid.
He said that the UCI was at a “critical turning point in the history of our sport,” and argued that, “strong, credible leadership has never been more important.”
He told the Inside The Games website that he couldn’t give much details, but made his own feelings clear. “Since that portion of the meeting was in a closed session of the members, I will not answer questions about what has transpired,” he said. “However, I believe it is time to make my views public. I can no longer support the current president of the UCI.
“In private discussions with the UCI president and fellow members of the UCI management committee, I have made my reasons, findings and concerns clear to him and my colleagues,” said Plant.
The former USA Cycling president said he believed the sport had reached a crucial moment.
Although the management committee said it continued to support McQuaid earlier this year, committee member Brian Cookson recently declared that he would contest the presidential election.
There are indications that others are also dissatisfied and so at a time when McQuaid has lost the support of the majority of Cycling Ireland clubs, he also appears to be losing his grip within the UCI itself.
It is not clear whether Plant’s dossier will be made public, or if the management committee will act upon it in any way. However it seems apparent that the waters are becoming rougher as time passes, presenting McQuaid with a far bigger fight than he might have originally anticipated.
Whether or not he ultimately holds on to power, Swords cycling club member and Cycling Ireland doctor Conor McGrane believes the sport is at a crucial point. “I hope this is going to send a clear message that people in cycling aren’t happy with doping in the sport,” he said.