Monday 20 November 2017

McQuaid scoffs at 'half-baked' plans of rival for UCI presidency

UCI President Pat McQuaid
UCI President Pat McQuaid

CYCLING

The president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Pat McQuaid has dismissed a plan of campaign unveiled by the challenger for his post in this year's election.

Brian Cookson, who has been British Cycling Federation president since 1996, unveiled his key proposals on Monday, including the establishment of a "physically and politically independent unit" to handle anti-doping.

The 62-year-old Englishman has based his candidacy on restoring trust and credibility in the UCI, which has struggled to cope with the consequences of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

"Brian Cookson's election manifesto is half-baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical," said McQuaid, who will seek a third consecutive term at September's election.

"Just telling people what they want to hear is easy. He needs to explain how is he going to make it happen."

McQuaid slammed Cookson's proposal of setting up an independent anti-doping unit, claiming it was no more than a relocation.

"Brian Cookson's manifesto is proposing nothing new... because the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code simply does not permit the UCI, or indeed any other international federation, to create an independent anti-doping body," McQuaid said.

The WADA Code, signed off by the Swiss-based UCI, states that international federations have to set up and manage a thorough anti-doping programme.

"What Brian is proposing, when you examine the detail, is simply to relocate the existing Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation unit, which is as fully independent as the WADA code permits, outside of the UCI building in Aigle," said the Dubliner, who had to rely on a Swiss endorsement to seek a new term after his home country Ireland dropped their support.

Meanwhile, Dan Martin could be in line to be team leader for Garmin-Sharp on the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday.

Martin (26) is set to be given a prominent role, ahead of 2012 Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal, who struggled in defence of his title in May. Garmin-Sharp sports director Charly Wegelius, who rode the Tour three times, has come out to publicly support Martin, who won classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier this year.

"He's got massive potential and it's up to him now to explore that potential – I don't think anybody really knows how far he can go yet. He's in quite a luxurious position," said Wegelius.

"Dan had a chance to taste the Tour de France for the first time last year and I think that impact for him will put him in good stead for the future."

Irish Independent

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