With uncertainly over Cycling Ireland’s willingness to back Pat McQuaid ahead of this year’s election for a UCI Presidency, the Swiss Federation has come the Irishman’s aid. McQuaid needs a national federation to back his candidacy and with the Irish board members wavering McQuaid has had to take the embarrassing step of relying on the Swiss to endorse his bid. Typically a candidate is backed by his own national federation.
“I am delighted that the board of Swiss Cycling has endorsed my nomination,” McQuaid said in a statement released by the UCI. “I put myself forward to serve another term as UCI President on my record of developing the sport throughout the world and on combating the scourge of doping in cycling.
“I have an ambitious agenda to continue developing the sport. I look forward to presenting myself for election with the support of Swiss Cycling and other federations worldwide.
“I took up residency in Switzerland in 2005 when I assumed the role of UCI President and I have had a long association with Swiss Cycling.
“It has become clear that my nomination in Ireland has been politicised by a small group of people. However, I have received a wealth of letters from national federations all around the world urging me to stand for President again and I strongly believe that it should be for our national federations around the world to decide democratically on their next president.”
The news sees McQuaid avoid the possible embarrassment of seeing Cycling Ireland retract their support for the current president. In April the Irish federation board members voted 5-1 in favour of endorsing McQuaid, who is seeking his third term as president. It led the outspoken Paul Kimmage to declare that "They voted for Ireland and they've fucked cycling."
Anthony Moran, a Board of Cycling Ireland vice-president, was the lone voice who voted against McQuaid and he resigned soon after. On heels of his resignation Cycling Ireland called for an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) in regards to its endorsement of McQuaid. "Cycling Ireland at a meeting of its Board on April 26th decided to convene an EGM to consider matters which have arisen following the decision taken at its Board meeting on April 12th, to nominate Mr Pat McQuaid to stand for the position of UCI President," read a statement from Cycling Ireland Secretary Geoff Liffey last month.
The EGM is scheduled for next month and McQuaid qualifies for Swiss backing, having moved to the country in 2005.
McQuaid has been under sustained pressure since the USADA report that investigated doping at the US Postal team. The UCI's backtracking over the jurisdiction was coupled with allegations of corruption and cover ups. The UCI denied any wrong doing but USADA’s Travis Tygart told the Associated Press in April that Lance Armtsrong, the central figure in the USADA report, “led us to believe -- during the course of our interaction with him -- that he had evidence of their complicity in this situation.”