Pat McQuaid: 'I can save cycling if I'm re-elected'
Pat McQuaid is confident of pulling cycling back together if he is elected next week to serve a third term as International Cycling Union president ahead of challenger Brian Cookson.
The Irishman, the incumbent since 2005, faces British Cycling president Cookson in a vote in Florence next Friday after a bitter campaign.
Some are trumpeting the anyone-but-McQuaid ticket and Cookson has support of Europe, Australia and the United States, but McQuaid has long been bullish about his chances of revitalising a sport corroded by scandals such as the doping investigation which saw Lance Armstrong stripped of seven Tour de France titles.
"If I get re-elected I know I can reunify cycling fairly easily," McQuaid said on www.sportspromedia.com
"At the same time, it's all put down to an electoral campaign and those who did involve themselves in trying to undermine every step I made will accept that the congress has made a decision and that therefore the sport moves on.
"Brian says change means change from the past, in other words from McQuaid and (Hein) Verbruggen (McQuaid's predecessor) and change from all the baggage that McQuaid and Verbruggen have.
"I have learned from that and from any mistakes I've made in relation to that. But I do feel that I need another four years to complete the cultural change of doping."
McQuaid, who insisted Verbruggen is not campaigning on his behalf, was buoyed by the support he received at the International Olympic Committee congress in Buenos Aires and believes cycling will be disadvantaged at Olympic level if Cookson is elected.
IOC member McQuaid said: "I found it quite heartening; I got a lot of support from my IOC colleagues.
"A large number of them came up to me and knew what was going on.
"Because they're experienced in sports politics they could see what was happening in the background and they could read between the lines in what they read.
"They could see what was going on and they told me that and they wished me the best of luck and told me to keep fighting and to stay with it.
"Every one of them told me that they hoped I would endure and be re-elected."