Pat McQuaid has hit out at Igor Makarov, claiming that the Russian is working against him in the UCI Presidential election due to Katusha’s previous difficulties in obtaining a WorldTour licence for 2013. The Russian team struggled to make the WorldTour grade this year, needing a last-minute CAS ruling in their favour to confirm their participation.
Makarov is the President of the Federation of Cycling Sport in Russia and sits on the UCI’s management committee.
“He has played a role. Unfortunately he’s taken the view, wrongly, that I had an influence in the decision over the licence commission last year. He’s taken the view that he would prefer if I wasn’t president, as a result of that,” McQuaid said Wednesday. “So he is working against me. He’s done several things and he’s certainly not working for me. I hope his influence doesn’t swing the result.”
McQuaid is standing for a third term as the UCI President with a challenge from Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling.
Makarov has not publicly commented on the election in recent weeks but he has prepared a dossier that apparently contains allegations of corruption involving McQuaid and the UCI. The dossier has not been made public and those who have seen its content have been vague at best with regards to the information within it.
Mike Plant, who also sits on the UCI management committee, admitted to Cyclingnews earlier this month that the dossier had been prepared by Makarov but that Plant himself had presented it to the UCI Management Committee.
"At this point a lot of the information is still controlled by Mr. Makarov and it's really his decision as to when and how if he wants to release that. It's really up to him," Plant told Cyclingnews.
"He made a few responses to try and defend himself but he didn't say much. As far as I was concerned, there wasn't anything he could say that would change my mind or the others who were in the room."
McQuaid’s version of events during meeting differs to Plant’s.
“It wasn’t presented. It was just held up and then put down on the table. He just said there were allegations against me and that I should resign. I said first of all I need to see the document and defend myself, and I’ve not seen it.
“The decision was taken by the management committee that it should go to the ethics commission. They got involved, asked for it, but they’ve not had it. We’re talking about a Russian here, don’t quote me on that."
While it’s no secret that Makarov wants change at the top of the UCI, Hein Verbruggen’s role has been less clear. The honorary president of the UCI presented McQuaid as his successor eight years ago but has removed himself from the public eye with regards to the UCI election.
“Verbruggen has disappeared off the face of the earth,” McQuaid said when asked if the Dutchman was pulling strings for him behind the scenes.
“I haven’t seen or heard from him. He’s not working for me nor does he have influence over national federations anymore. It’s eight years since he’s had influence over national federations. Verbruggen can do nothing, whereas Makarov is involved in many ways with UEC and the sport. There’s no comparison.
“Verbruggen, to the best of my knowledge, he wouldn’t even know how to contact anyone in Malaysia right now.”
The Malaysian comment was in reference to the controversial Constitutional amendment by the Malaysian federation that offered new candidates for the election the chance the throw their hats into the ring. It essentially provided McQuaid with a back up after his own national federation backed down from their original endorsement and then his second choice nomination from the Swiss was questioned in court. That case is still ongoing.
Cookson’s camp have openly questioned the amendment, coming so close to the election, and it’s not inconceivable that the UCI election could go ahead only for CAS to make a final ruling after the event.
“At the end of the day you have to ask the question: Does he [Cookson] want an election or does he not want an election? Does he want to get me out before the election? I would hope that we have an election in September and if Brian wins I’ll be the first to go up and shake his hand and if I win I’ll be happy.”
When asked about the possibility of a CAS ruling to decide the UCI leadership, McQuaid said, “I would hope that we wouldn’t be reduced to that. I would hope that it’s a democratic process and that the Congress decides. We’ve legal opinion on that and it has gone out to the management committee today and it clears the UCI completely from wrongdoings.”