Pat McQuaid has published a “manifesto” outlining his platform for a reelection bid to the president’s office at cycling’s world governing body, the UCI. The 20-page document touches on McQuaid’s past in the sport, his Olympic credentials, and four “priorities for a new term.”
McQuaid’s challenger, British Cycling president Brian Cookson, issued his own manifesto in June. It it, Cookson laid forth his plan to return credibility to a sport rocked by doping scandal and infighting over revenue, technology, and other issues. At the time, McQuaid rebuked Cookson’s plan, questioning the logistics of its components and how the Brit’s plans could be funded. The Irishman, however, unveiled an equally expansive agenda on Monday in a press release.
“I am delighted to launch my reelection campaign and to present my vision for cycling’s future to the cycling family whose support over the past eight years has enabled me to transform our sport,” McQuaid said in a press release. “Cycling has changed since I was first elected as UCI president in 2005. It is now a global sport. It is now possible to race and win clean. We have traveled a great distance together and we must never turn back from cycling’s bright future.”
Looking toward that future, McQuaid’s manifesto focused on four priorities for the next four-year presidential term:
• To preserve the new culture and era of clean cycling
• To ensure equality in cycling through the development of women’s cycling
• To modernise the way that cycling is presented as a global sport
• To foster the global development of cycling.
McQuaid has fallen under severe scrutiny over the UCI’s handling of the Lance Armstrong scandal and doping in the peloton in the 1990s and 2000s, a period during which the Irishman served as the president of the Road Commission.
“My mission now is to preserve the changed culture within the peloton and team entourage. I have introduced the most sophisticated and effective anti-doping infrastructure in world sport to cycling. Our sport is leading the way and I am proud that other sports are following in its footsteps,” said McQuaid. “The UCI now invests over $7.5 million a year to keep our sport clean and to catch and prosecute those riders who refuse to embrace the new culture of clean cycling. The misdeeds of a few should not be allowed to tarnish the reputation of cycling or today’s riders.”
McQuaid skewered Cookson following the release of his manifesto in June. The Irishman laughed off the Brit’s suggestion that the UCI should invoke greater independence for its anti-doping authority, claiming that World Anti-Doping Code prevented such a move. A WADA spokesperson a day later contradicted McQuaid’s claim. Interestingly, McQuaid claimed in his own manifesto that he would move to distance the UCI’s anti-doping activities from the governing body.
That initiative was among three aimed at preserving “the new culture and era of clean cycling”:
• Increasing the independence of the UCI’s Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF). Completing the process to appoint an independent board and locating the CADF outside of the UCI
• Increasing UCI World Tour teams’ contributions to anti-doping to fund and increase the independence of the CADF
• Establishing an independent audit of the UCI’s actions during the years when Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour de France.
McQuaid has made big moves to globalize cycling during his presidency, including launching four WorldTour events outside of Europe (Tour Down Under, Grand Prix Québec City, Grand Prix Montréal, and Tour of Beijing) and establishing world cycling centers in Africa and Asia, but has been criticized for his mild support of women’s racing. When asked about McQuaid’s resistance to minimum salaries for women, professional rider Chloe Hosking famously told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2012, “What can be said? Pat McQuaid’s a dick.”
In his manifesto, McQuaid wrote that he would push for the creation of a separate Women’s Commission at he UCI, which would focus on all disciplines of women’s racing:
• Developing a new global women’s elite race calendar that is easy to understand
• Seeking to ensure that events and teams seeking World Tour status are given priority if events have a women’s race and team’s have a women’s team
• Encouraging more women to hold decision-making positions in cycling.
“I will bring a new focus to the development of women’s cycling,” said McQuaid. “It is not acceptable that women in cycling do not receive the same pay, prize money and conditions as men. It is past time for this inequality to be brought to an end.”
McQuaid also proposed to pursue changes to “modernize” the sport, including reforming the calendar to “promote the ideal of ‘the best riders in the best races,’” reforming the UCI WorldTour points system, and “introducing cameras on bikes and helmets, introducing GPS rider tracking, and communicating real time data for race fans.” The race calendar and technology have long been hot-button topics in a variety of conflicts between professional teams, race organizers, and the UCI.
The UCI presidential election will take place on September 21 at the elite road world championships in Florence, Italy.