Pat McQuaid will stand uncontested for the International Cycling Union (UCI) presidency this September, cycling’s governing body revealed on Monday. According to the rules set out by the UCI all candidates must be nominated by June 27, 90 days prior to the date of the election, but no other candidates were forthcoming, with McQuaid expressing a desire to be elected for a second term in office.
Possible candidates for the presidency are nominated by their national federations but the lack of competition means that unless McQuaid has a change of heart he will serve for at least another four years.
“It’s true that I wanted to be re-elected, as there’s still a lot of work I’d like to do,” McQuaid told Cyclingnews. “It’s also true that I’m the only candidate, so from that point of view I can start planning the next four years.
“I’ve got to get to September, which is when we have the UCI Congress and I’ve got to stay alive between now and then, and the way some of the teams are coming for me at the moment I might not be alive tomorrow,” he added.
McQuaid was elected in 2006 with the backing of the then out-going president and controversial figure Hein Verbruggen. He has endured a difficult period in office with Operacion Puerto, the Floyd Landis case, rifts between the UCI and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the ProTour and the delay in ushering in the Biological Passport, all clouding his first four years in office.
However the Biological Passport – which is supported by professional cycling teams at a cost of 4-5 millions Euros a year - was supposed to signal a new dawn in catching drug cheats. In June the UCI made its first tentative steps to rid the sport of doping under this new banner by starting legal proceedings against the first five cases of riders who had irregular blood values. This was followed by the high profile case of Tomas Dekker (Silience Lotto) for the same crime.
Many felt that the success of a biological passport and the UCI’s testing programme at this year’s Tour de France would be McQuaid’s platform for a possible re-election and a barometer of his success, but with the no opposition McQuaid believes that he now has the profile and platform to deliver on his long term goal of cleaning up cycling.
“I think it’s healthy that there’s only one candidate as it shows that the other continents outside of Europe are satisfied with how the UCI is working, and that the most important continent, Europe, is also satisfied and doesn’t want division,” he said. “That’s what happened four years ago when there was a very a dirty campaign. Now Europe wants to show it’s united.
“I’ve been very strong on anti-doing in the last four years and I don’t think our sport could do more that what it’s doing so we must find new strategies to fight doping,” added McQuaid. “Everyone has to remember that I spent three years in major conflict with some of our major stake holders. Now that these problems have been resolved the future looks a lot clearer and healthier.”