McQuaid gets challengers for UCI presidency - BikeBiz

McQuaid gets challengers for UCI presidency

That Pat McQuaid was to become the next president of the Union Cycliste Internationale - a shoe-in from outgoing president Hein Verbruggen - has long been a given. But the UCI's heavy-handed mis-handling of its new ProTour series and highly embarrassing spats with national cycle federations over the culling of two major track events from the Olympics has seen two challengers enter the ring...
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McQuaid is still the overwhelming favourite to win the election on September 23rd but now all candidates will have to make pre-election promises and pressure could be brought to see which candidates, if any, promise to review the "lunatic" decision to delete the men's kilometre and the women's 500m time trial from the Beijing Olympics.

The new candidates are Seri Darshan Singh Gill of Malaysia and Gregorio Moreno, the organiser of the Vuelta a Espana.

Moreno is believed to have been nominated by the organisers of the Tours of France, Spain and Italy in protest at the UCI's "bullying" tactics in trying to impose conditions on events which are part of the new ProTour.

Seri Darshan Singh Gill is the first non-European in the 104-year history of the UCI to be nominated for the presidency.

He is currently head of the UCI's solidarity commission and was until March this year, the president of the Asian Cycling Confederation. He was nominated by the European Cycling Confederation.

McQuaid has been being groomed for the presidency role since last year, a move seen as undemocratic by many national cycle federations. With the entry of Gill and Moreno, all three candidates will now shadow Verbruggen.

He may be leaving as president but it's widely expected that Verbruggen, self-described as a "business consultant" in a recent report published by the International Olympic Committee, will be taking on an advisory role with the UCI's ProTour.

One of Gill's pre-election pledges is to forge "better relations between the UCI and national federations," currently at an all time low thanks to the way the UCI handled the culling of two cycle disciplines from the 2008 Olympic Games.

The decision to cull the kilo and the women's 500m was taken by the UCI after a March 2005 survey of 24 national cycle federations.

It's believed many federations voted to exclude the road time trial with only a small proportion voting for the exclusion of the kilo. However, some of the federations surveyed said they were asked to vote on all existing events, and were not told that any votes for a road event would not be counted.

Internal UCI documents, seen by BikeBiz.com, show that the UCI had already decided it would be track events culled from the Olympics, not road. So, the inclusion of road events on the March survey calls into question the validity of the survey's results, say detractors.

The UCI disputes much of the above but, despite many requests from national cycle federations, the UCI has not so far published the survey questions or the full results.

In late June, McQuaid was handed a 'don't kill track cycling' petition by the editor/publisher of BikeBiz.com and track rider Julie Dominguez. McQuaid is the head of the UCI's road commission.

The petition contained 10 679 e-signatures, including many big names from the world of cyclesport, politics and the cycle industry.

In an article in the UK's Cycling Weekly magazine, McQuaid said he was "livid" at finding himself in what Cycling Weekly called "the centre of an embarrassing controversy."

He told Cycling Weekly that his comments, made at the handing over of the petition at the UCI's HQ in Switzerland, were "off the record".

In a blistering phone call to BikeBiz.com editor Carlton Reid, McQuaid changed this claim. He said: "In my mind it was off the record."

He had made explosive comments about the fury of the Beijing Olympic committee, and the inability of the Chinese cycling federation (its best hope of a cycling gold was in the women's 500m) to find more trackies in a country of billions of cyclists.

He also claimed that it International Olympic Committee had demanded it was to be track events culled and not road events, a claim swiftly denied by the Switzerland-based IOC.

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