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UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
Influential UCI Management Committee member calls for credible leadership
Mike Plant, a key member of the UCI Management Committee has announced that he can no longer support UCI President Pat McQuaid, saying that cycling is at a critical turning point and needs strong, credible leadership.
Like McQuaid, Plant has been involved in cycling for more than 20 years. He organised the Tour de Trump and Tour DuPont in the USA and first Tour of China, and has sat on the board of USA Cycling and the United States Olympic Committee. He was a member of the UCI Management Committee between 1997 and 2004 and was re-elected in 2009.
Plant is an experienced sports politician but also understands the business of professional sports. He has been critical of the UCI in recent times, especially after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the lack of credibility in professional cycling following the publication of the USADA reasoned decision.
Plant allegedly produced a secret dossier on McQuaid's work as UCI President and presented it to UCI Management committee meeting in Norway on Thursday. Several sources indicate that the explosive dossier sparked a heated debate on Friday and possibly a vote of no confidence in McQuaid. The outcome of the vote is not known.
When contacted by Cyclingnews, Plant refused to reveal what happened behind closed doors at the UCI Management meeting but in a significant move, he has now publicly ended his support of McQuaid in a damning statement sent to Cyclingnews.
After Irish Cycling club members voted against nominating McQuaid for re-election on Saturday, the Irishman's position and hopes of re-election have become even more untenable.
"I have been asked by a number of media outlets to provide information about our recent UCI Management Committee meeting and my actions during an executive session at the conclusion of the meeting yesterday, June 14th," Plant's statement reads.
"Since that portion of the meeting was in a closed session of the members, I will not answer questions about what has transpired, however, I believe it is time to make my views public."
"I can no longer support the current President of the UCI. In private discussions with the UCI President and fellow members of the UCI Management Committee, I have made my reasons, findings and concerns clear to him and my colleagues."
"This isn't a time for self-interest"
Plant called for strong credible leadership for the long-term good of cycling.
"This is a critical turning point in the history of our sport, and strong, credible leadership has never been more important. The impact of the decisions being made today will be felt for generations to come."
"What the sport of cycling needs most at this crucial time in its history is to be guided by a consistent set of values. This isn't a time for self-interest; this is a time for doing what is in the best interest of the sport."
"That's my primary objective for the sport I have been a part of for 40 years. I learned long ago that ethics and integrity cannot be situational; they must be constant and unwavering."
Plant did not say if he will now support Brian Cookson at the UCI Presidential elections in September or if he will resign his position on the UCI Management Committee.
McQuaid has tried to temper criticism of the UCI by announcing major changes to the structure of professional cycling from 2015 and reviews and changes of the governance of the international body that runs the sport.