By Greg Johnson in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
UCI president Pat McQuaid is confident any outstanding issues with creditors of the former Le Tour De Langkawi management company, First Cartel, will soon be settled, after spending three days at the reformed event to discuss the situation. McQuaid, who held meetings with the affected parties, including the Malaysian National Cycling Federation, emphasized that once the few outstanding debts had been rectified he hoped local media would get behind Malaysia's largest cycling event.
"Absolutely, [we want to] settle all these problems once and for all and get on with it," said McQuaid yesterday, before returning to Europe overnight. "A lot of the problems from the last two years have been dealt with since last September. There are still a couple of outstanding issues. I've had discussions with the relevant people in relation to the outstanding issues and they will be settled as well.
"For me and the UCI, once that happens we need to deal with the present and the future rather than the past," added the Irishman.
McQuaid's comments reiterate that of Malaysian National Cycling Federation's chief operating officer Naim Datuk Mohamed, who spoke to Cyclingnews earlier in the week. Mohamed admitted that the national federation would not be able to pay all outstanding monies, but that it would be held responsible for First Cartel's failure to meet its obligations and endeavor to repay as many of the creditors as possible.
"I can assure you we will take responsibility, we will not allow these contractors to not get at least a bit of their money," said Mohamed. "First Cartel has been wound up. We will be responsible, as we were the federation that sanctioned First Cartel to run the race.
"It is our weakness that we didn't really check them out, that we didn't do a study [to see] that they can meet their expenses and who is financing them. We have a responsibility and we cannot run away from this responsibility, even though the company is no longer in existence."
Mohamed's comments come just two weeks after the Malaysian High Court issued a winding up order to First Cartel. He said the profits from this year's event would be used to solve "not all, but some of the problems".
Despite the bad publicity caused by the collapse of the former management company and its outstanding debts, locals have flocked to the event in droves, with estimates that some 50,000 spectators turned out to view yesterday's Stage 4 alone.