INCUMBENT UCI President Pat McQuaid has denied that he is bending any rules as he seeks re-election and said he does not look for federations to “join” to secure his nomination for UCI presidency.
Interviewed on The Pat Kenny Show by Myles Dungan, he argued that he was justified in standing for the presidency as he had secured nominations from the Swiss, Morrocan and the Thai federations. This was, despite the fact that he failed to secure the nomination of the Irish Cycling body and his nomination from the Swiss federation is under legal challenge.
“I have three federations which have nominated me –Thailand, Swiss and Morroccans – so I have enough nominations to stand for the Presidency of the UCI. You have to remember that I am in the middle of a presidency election and there are two candidates. The other side is trying to twist things to their advantage.”
McQuaid argued that any changes to the nomination procedure - proposed by the Malaysian federation on Monday – had nothing to do with him.
On Monday, the UCI Director General Christophe Hubschmid contacted national federations revealing details of a change to the nomination procedure for the election proposed by the Malaysian federation and the Asian Continental Confederation, areas where support for McQuaid is believed to be strong.
The new proposals require a candidate to be nominated by two federations, not necessarily their home ones, before a new deadline of August 30.
The new proposals will be voted on at the same congress where the election will take place and applied retrospectively.
“I have not solicited this at all. When the Malaysian federation saw what was happening back in January with myself and the Irish federation, they felt it was wrong. They decided to put that proposal forward. The UCI Congress will decide if they want to accept that proposal or not. I could not say I do not want to put that proposal on the agenda.”
McQuaid also denied that he had a moral obligation to have Cycling Ireland as his home federation when it came to the nomination process.
“I have not broken any rules. I have not bent any rules. Democracy is best served by having numerous candidates. If we were to follow your interpretation then I would just stand aside and let Brian Cookson walk straight into the UCI Presidency. My federations around the world would not thank me for that.”
McQuaid hinted that he received inducements to leave the position of UCI President. However, he would not be drawn on the source of the inducements.
McQuaid also denied that he was a member of the old guard of cycling which the sport needs to exorcise if it is to repair its tarnished image.
“I am the beginning of the new guard. I am responsible for changing the sport for the better. I changed the culture of doping in our sport. Eight years ago when I came in as UCI President, the sport was riddled. I was aware there was a culture of doping and I stated that I was going to attack it over those. I brought in the biological passport. I brought in the no-needle policy. I brought in the steroid policy. I brought in a raft of measures to combat doping. I am the person who can take a certain of credit for changing the doping culture in our sport.”
When asked where he was during the Armstrong era, McQuaid argued that he had no responsibility for elite cycling as he was the President of the Road Commission of the UCI.
He argued that the fact that Armstrong was “not caught” was not down to the UCI. “We did something like 200 tests on him. It was not the fault of the UCI. The system was not strong enough at the time.”