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McQuaid secures Swiss backing; avoids showdown in Ireland

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published May. 16, 2013
Pat McQuaid went on the attack on Tuesday after Brian Cookson announced the platform for his UCI presidency bid. Photo: Mark Johnson | Ironstring

TREVISO, Italy (VN) — UCI president Pat McQuaid avoided a possible showdown in Ireland by securing support from the Swiss cycling federation in his bid to run for a third term at the top of the world’s cycling governing body.

McQuaid, 63, was facing headwinds in his native Ireland after leaders from the Irish cycling federation back-pedaled on their support for the UCI president.

Agitation from some quarters prompted the Irish board to take McQuaid’s renomination bid to a general election among all Irish federation members, which was to take place on June 15.

Rather than face the uncertainty of the proletariat, McQuaid instead searched out backing from the Swiss cycling federation. The UCI is headquartered in Aigle, Switzerland, and McQuaid has lived in the Lake Geneva area for many years and holds a license in the Swiss cycling federation.

The Swiss cycling federation met Monday evening in an executive session to vote unanimously to back McQuaid’s candidacy for re-election.

McQuaid needed formal nomination from a standing governing body to stand for re-election. What normally would have been little more than a formality turned into a potentially embarrassing situation for the two-term UCI president. Last month, Anthony Moran, the vice chairman of Cycling Ireland voted against McQuaid’s nomination and later resigned in protest.

McQuaid has been under fire in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Critics have accused McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen of being complacent at best, to outright complicit, during the EPO era, including allegations of bribes, tip-offs, and other hints of corruption at the highest levels.

The UCI president has dug in his heels, denying any sort of wrongdoing during the Armstrong years, and has actively pursued re-election despite strong resistance from some vocal critics.

McQuaid officially confirmed the Swiss backing in a UCI-issued press release Thursday morning (see below). He stands for re-election to a third four-year term during UCI meets that will coincide with the world road cycling championships in Italy in September.

So far, no other candidate has stepped forward.

Efforts by a protest group — Change Cycling Now — seemed to have stalled, and no alternative candidate has gained traction to take on McQuaid.

 

Full text of UCI release:

UCI President Pat McQuaid has welcomed his endorsement by Swiss Cycling to stand again as a candidate for President of the UCI in September 2013.

McQuaid said: “I am delighted that the board of Swiss Cycling has endorsed my nomination.” 
He continued: “I put myself forward to serve another term as UCI President on my record of developing the sport throughout the world and on combating the scourge of doping in cycling.

“I have an ambitious agenda to continue developing the sport. I look forward to presenting myself for election with the support of Swiss Cycling and other federations worldwide.

“I took up residency in Switzerland in 2005 when I assumed the role of UCI President and I have had a long association with Swiss Cycling. 
“It has become clear that my nomination in Ireland has been politicized by a small group of people.

“However, I have received a wealth of letters from national federations all around the world urging me to stand for President again and I strongly believe that it should be for our national federations around the world to decide democratically on their next president.”

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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