By Shane Stokes in Madrid
Irishman Pat McQuaid was this morning elected as the new president of the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's world governing body. McQuaid was the clear winner in the election held in Madrid, comfortably defeating Spanish candidate Gregorio Moreno. Two other candidates, Darsan Singh Gill of Malaysia and Dutchman Hein Verbruggen, outgoing president of the UCI, withdrew their candidature before the elections.
McQuaid had been regarded as the likely successor ever since the UCI management board agreed on his candidature two years ago at the world championships in Hamilton. However, his election was put under threat when former board member Sylvia Schenk accused the Irishman of receiving payment for his work with the UCI, contrary to the constitution of the governing body.
Both McQuaid and Verbruggen rejected the charges, saying that the money received was in the form of allowable expenses. A complaint by Schenk to the IOC ethics committee was dismissed earlier this week, clearing the way for McQuaid to go forward for election as planned.
Verbruggen will be happy with the outcome as he had publicly backed McQuaid for the position. The Dutchman had put his name forward in case McQuaid was prevented from running through a legal challenge.
Today's news is a major boost for McQuaid, who takes over at the helm of world cycling for the next four years. One of the biggest challenges facing him is dealing with the now-difficult relationship between the UCI and the organisers of the Tours of France, Italy and Spain, who have been in conflict with the governing body this year over the new ProTour series.