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Makarov announces public support for Cookson and fires back at McQuaid

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
August 22, 2013, 15:20,
Updated:
August 22, 2013, 17:02
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 22, 2013
UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle

UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle

  • UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
  • UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson

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"It's like the Cold War" he says in relation to McQuaid's comments

Russian cycling President Igor Makarov has announced his support for Brian Cookson’s UCI presidential bid and hit back at incumbent Pat McQuaid for comments the Irishman gave earlier in the week.

At a UCI event in Switzerland on Wednesday, McQuaid was asked by Cyclingnews whether he thought Makarov had been working against him in the UCI election. Part of the response included the president of cycling’s governing body saying in front of a number of journalists, “We’re talking about a Russian here, don’t quote me on that.”

In a statement sent exclusively to Cyclingnews by Makorov’s representatives, the Russian replied, “I am surprised that the President of the UCI allows himself to speak in such a manner about Russia and its involvement in international cycling. This reminds me of the Cold War. I represent Russia within the international community of cycling and I'm obviously proud of it, and, like the citizens of my country, I want Russian cycling to develop together with the global sports.

“I believe that the development of international cycling in all parts of the world is a priority task of the UCI and national considerations could not take place. As an example, Russian team Katusha consists of riders from many different countries - Spain, Norway, Latvia, Italy, Russia etc. and all nationalities perform side by side in races, helping each other. The riders don’t think of the nationality differences, so then, why does the head of the International Cycling Federation make such statements?”

Until now, Makarov, who Forbes estimates to have a fortune close to 1.9 billion USD, has remained on the fringes of the UCI presidential debate, publicly at least. McQuaid is running for a third term with British Cycling’s Brian Cookson as his opponent. However, Makarov has made no secret of his desire for change as he wields influence behind the scenes. Publicly, for the first time, he has gone on record to back Cookson.

“There’s no need to look for a complicated reason why many people are opposed to Mr McQuaid's candidacy.

“Now, we must think about the future of cycling around the world, which under current management was almost withdrawn from the program of the Olympic games. In the future of cycling there is a place for a man whose personal ambitions come after the interests of this great sport and its members and it is my opinion that this man is Brian Cookson. It's time to give a chance to the one who will be able to 'restore order'.

“My opinion is reinforced by the attitude shown by the UCI and its leadership in the last couple of months, including an attempt to amend the rules of the Constitution of the UCI before the elections.”

When McQuaid was asked by Cyclingnews why he thought Makarov was working against his candidacy, McQuaid stated that it was down to Katusha’s issues with the WorldTour licensing at the end of 2012. Makarov went on in his statement to deny any such rift.

“I do not have and never had any personal dislikes towards Mr. Pat McQuaid, I just want to see a bright future for international cycling which is not possible with the current management. In my opinion, the controversies surrounding the past activities of the current president of the UCI are known to the world community. Therefore, I believe that the current objectives of the UCI must change dramatically. I openly state that I do not support the candidacy of Pat in the upcoming elections, but it is not connected with the fact that team Katusha was illegally deprived of the WorldTour license. This is enough to understand that I am not against a particular person, but I am for global cycling, to which Russia is a part!”

Makarov was asked to comment on the alleged dossier of corruption he has compiled against McQuaid but he declined to do so. The UCI election is set to take place next month in Florence, Italy.

Mascalzone More than 1 year ago
Makarov may not be the squeakiest character in cycling but any support to get rid of McQuaid has to be a good thing; he is an embarrassment to cycling, an embarrassment to sport and an embarrassment to Ireland.
Carboncrank More than 1 year ago
Makarov may not be the squeakiest character? That's like saying Stalin wasn't so bad when you got to know him, just don't worry that he might put you in front of a firing squad at any moment. The sport is cleaner now than it has ever been. Ever. And now you want to turn it over to what is beginning to look like a tool of a Russian gangster? I'm serious about who the Russian is. It's not hyperbole. He didn't go from the Soviet military to a Russian billionaire by the sweat of his brow. Russia is totally corrupt. Why don't you see partnerships with western companies? Wall Street won't go near Russian business with a ten foot pole. Yet this guy will back the guy who is supposed to rehabilitate and reform the sport. I can't believe so many people are being so completely gullible.
stravaface More than 1 year ago
Cold War... so does this mean I get to see McQuaid bang his shoe on a podium? (Don't wait for the translation.)
wee westy More than 1 year ago
Brian Cookson might not be everybody's first choice, Heckler, but he sure as hell is a better bet than PMQ! And the reason its important to continue to try to get the rules obeyed so that PMQ can't stand is that there is a good chance that he could win the UCI Congress vote because of his influence and promises to the minor federation representatives. While the great majority of the cycling world wants rid of him, it comes down to these federations kicking him out - they may be reluctant to do so if it means they lose some promised backhanders from PMQ. Its as dirty as that just now, its another reason why we need him out. Cookson is an honest and fair man as far as I can see, though I would prefer an open vote with several candidates, so long as that does not include those bending the rules to get nominations such as PMQ.
Tideplay1 More than 1 year ago
all of Cookson's supporters are not dirty give us a break
ianfra More than 1 year ago
I think the venom here against Cookson just beggars belief. He is an honourable man and knocks spots off of the Irish tinker. Let's face it PMQ has a dirty history including racing in South Africa when the world had banned visiting sportsmen. He lied and cheated then and this particular leopard has never changed his spots. He appears to me to be a bit short on the grey matter, unlike Cookson who is a good manager, a thoughtful man and is not into self-enrichment.
Lance, remember Bassons? More than 1 year ago
Agree 100%, well said Ianfra