By Shane Stokes
Recent news that outgoing UCI president Hein Verbruggen was considering running again for office led to some surprise, given that Pat McQuaid had been nominated as the UCI’s official choice to succeed the Dutchman this September. The nomination of Verbruggen by the Dutch federation meant that there are now four candidates for the post: he, McQuaid, Gregorio Moreno and Darshan Singh.
The appearance of Verbruggen’s name on the list of contenders was seen by some as a fallback in case McQuaid is unable to run. He has been accused of receiving a salary, contrary to the UCI constitution, by people such as Sylvia Schenk and Singh Gill. Indeed the former has complained to the IOC ethic’s commission about the matter and says she is determined to go to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, if necessary. McQuaid has responded by insisting that he has not broken any of the UCI rules, a statement backed by Verbruggen.
Cyclingnews talked to McQuaid at the finish of the Tour of Britain yesterday, and there the Irishman stressed that he is still the UCI’s number one choice. "Once it comes to the 23rd of September and once I am still in there, then he [Hein Verbruggen] will not go [for election]. I am quite confident and quite comfortable, as is he, that if it comes to an election with the three candidates of myself, Moreno and Gill, that I will win out in the end. I reckon that I have enough support.
"His campaign is surely to protect the UCI. Because at the end of the day, the UCI must remain independent. There was a threat, and there continues to be a threat with Moreno, who was even declared in the Spanish press this week with the headline 'Moreno - candidate for the three Tours'.
McQuaid says this would be disastrous for the governing body. "If he were to come in he would not be independent - he is dependant on the three Tours and the UCI would be taken over by commercial interests. And that cannot be the case, it has got to be a separate entity.
"Hein is purely in there as a safety measure in case something were to happen to me. Not just technically, but even physically, if I weren't able to stand on the day. He has got to protect the interests of the UCI. Once everything is okay, he can step back on the day. He came in at the closing date for the nominations, but he can stay in the competition right until the very last moment."
McQuaid continues by stating that there is a busy time ahead. "Between now and the elections it is politics, continuous politics and lobbying. Last week the Irish federation sent a letter to the voting delegates. It was one of support for me, a letter outlining the position as they see it and saying that there is a very important decision for the voting delegates to take on the 23rd of September. They are asking them to reflect very strongly on the decision before they vote.
"In addition to that, on the week of the elections the federation and myself will be there in Madrid, talking to each one of the voting delegates in advance of the election. We will take things from there."
Despite the recent allegations, McQuaid states that he is still confident of victory. "I am supported by the board of the UCI," he says. " There are 15 members on the board, including five Continental Confederation presidents. Each one of those is committed to supporting me and each one will insure, inasmuch as he can, that his voting delegates will vote for me. So from that point of view, is all politics and we have got to work on the voting delegates to ensure that I get the maximum number of votes in there at the end of the day.
"Between my work on the board over the past 10 years, my work as president of the Road commission of the UCI and the work I have done in Asia, etcetera, I think I have enough support out there in the various parts of the world and the various confederations to ensure that I get good support in the election," he states.
Cyclingnews coverage of the UCI elections
September 24 - Spain's perspective on UCI election result
September 24 - Darshan Singh retires
September 23 - A wonderful moment for McQuaid
September 23 - McQuaid wins UCI presidential election
September 22 - IOC rejects complaints; Election to go ahead as planned
September 21 - World's opens, Spanish federation explains
September 20 - UCI committee exits Madrid
September 18 - Conflict between Schenk and UCI goes on
September 15 - Moreno not a Grand Tour stooge
September 8 - Baguet explains, Singh files third complaint
September 6 - McQuaid still UCI choice
September 3 - Verbruggen candidate for UCI presidency again
August 31 - Verbruggen nominated for UCI president
August 25 - UCI Ethics Commission meets
August 17 - Darshan Singh protests against UCI elections
Interview with Pat McQuaid: Next in line? Part II
Interview with Sylvia Schenk: Continuing her quest for Law & Order. Part II
August 6 - Moreno aims for presidency role
July 31 - UCI attacks Sylvia Schenk
Interview with Pat McQuaid: ProTour & Phonak, New teams & the UCI succession. Part II