Cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, on Monday confirmed that its forthcoming presidential election will see two candidates in current president Pat McQuaid and British Cycling president Brian Cookson. The election will take place September 27 in Florence, Italy, at the UCI Elite Road World Championships.
McQuaid, who has fallen under severe scrutiny over the last year for the UCI’s treatment of the Lance Armstrong scandal and widespread doping in the 1990s and 2000s, will stand for a third term. McQuaid’s home nation of Ireland withdrew its support after Cycling Ireland clubs protested. The Swiss Cycling Federation initially offered its support to McQuaid, who has lived near the UCI offices in Aigle since 2005, but that backing came under pressure earlier this month when at least one member of the federation’s board protested.
It is unclear at this point which nation nominated McQuaid. E-mails to the UCI and Swiss Cycling were not immediately returned.
“Cycling has changed since I became UCI president in 2005,” McQuaid said in the UCI press release. “Cycling is now a global sport. It is now possible to race and win clean. During the past eight years I have introduced the most sophisticated and effective anti-doping infrastructure in world sport to cycling and opened up everything that is beautiful about our sport to new countries around the world.
“Cycling is a changed sport and it has a bright future. My mission now is ensure that we never turn back and that we preserve the culture of change within the peloton, that we revolutionize the way that we present our sport and that we continue to develop cycling worldwide in collaboration with all of our stakeholders.”
Cookson pointed to the controversy that has surrounded the UCI for years, whether in its dealings with anti-doping agencies, its confrontational treatment of teams over issues like race radios, or a variety of topics.
“The UCI and cycling face some huge challenges as we look to the future but our great sport also has some incredible opportunities — if we can grasp them. I believe that I have a strong and proven track record in delivering positive change in cycling and in a way that is collegiate — not confrontational — as my time as president of British Cycling shows,” Cookson said in the release. “I want to see the UCI defined by genuine collaboration, renewed trust and with a vision to fully tackle the issues we face. If we deliver then cycling can reach new heights in the years ahead.”
June 29 was the deadline for presidential nominations.
VeloNews’ European correspondent Andrew Hood will have a one-on-one interview with Cookson later Monday.