Sunday 26 May 2019

Wheels coming off McQuaid's UCI presidential bid

Pat McQuaid: under fire
Pat McQuaid: under fire

Marie Crowe

Pat McQuaid's future as president of the Union Cycliste Internationale [UCI] is hanging by a thread after a series of blows to his chances were landed over the last two days.

On Friday he is believed to have come under fire at a stormy UCI management committee meeting in Norway and then yesterday he failed to secure Cycling Ireland's nomination to run for a third term as president. McQuaid was not in Dublin for yesterday's Cycling Ireland (CI) EGM. The Dubliner lost the crucial vote 91 to 74.

Now that McQuaid has failed to get the support of the Irish cycling fraternity, he appears to be relying heavily on Swiss Cycling to officially nominate him.

However, time isn't on McQuaid's side. The closing date for nominations is in just over a week, ahead of the UCI's annual congress in September at the World Championships in Florence.

And the certainty of the Swiss nomination is less than solid. A recent meeting of the board of Swiss Cycling, which was scheduled to discuss its nomination of McQuaid, failed to take place and that original decision now faces a legal challenge.

At yesterday's EGM the President of Cycling Ireland, Rory Wyley, was asked directly by former board member Anto Moran if Swiss Cycling had officially nominated McQuaid. Wyley said that he did not know, leading many present to believe that McQuaid has yet to secure the nomination.

Although CI originally nominated McQuaid back in April, they were forced to withdraw the nomination after a number of clubs called for an EGM. McQuaid also faces a challenge to his presidency from Brian Cookson, a member of the UCI's management committee, if he secures a nomination.

The meeting, which was held yesterday at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin, was an eventful affair. Honorary Secretary of CI Jack Watson spoke first in favour of McQuaid, while Moran spoke against the nomination. Both men were allowed five minutes to speak.

When they finished the debate was opened to the members present. Initially the debate was very much pro-McQuaid but by the end the opposition had found their voices. During the debate there were some very heated and emotional exchanges. The vote followed.

Before the EGM convened all attendees were required to sign in and declare whether or not they were voting delegates; those who were received a slip of paper to hold up for the vote. When the decision was announced, applause broke out.

Cillian Kelly, one of the members of CI who campaigned to have McQuaid's original nomination overturned, said afterwards that he was delighted with the outcome and also very relieved.

"After I heard all the speakers and saw the demographic in the room – it was older than I had hoped – I didn't think that we would win, but when the vote happened I was delighted," said Kelly.

"I also thought it would be closer than 91-74, I was pleased that there was a big gap, that there wasn't any room for recounts. This is the right outcome for the sport."

Meanwhile, there were reports yesterday that a member of the UCI's management committee introduced a document believed to be critical of McQuaid to Friday's meeting in Norway.

There was speculation this weekend that the outgoing president may face a vote of no confidence.

Irish Independent

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