By Hernan Alvarez Macias
Fulgencio Sanchez Montesinos, the president of the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) has explained the legal action his organisation has taken over the UCI presidential elections, which causes most of the UCI management committee to leave Madrid on Monday.
Sanchez Montesinos said he was puzzled by the UCI's abrupt departure. "I can't understand the reason," he told Cyclingnews. "Mr. Verbruggen is free to change the plans of the management committee. [The meetings were] scheduled to take place here and he thought it was opportune to change it; it's his problem. We actually didn't do anything at all for his change of plans."
However, Sanchez Montesinos conceded that the RFEC's action in a Swiss court on Friday might have something to do with it. The RFEC presented a judicial petition to the court to have UCI president Hein Verbruggen prevented from running the meeting that will elect his successor, on the grounds that Verbruggen is not a neutral party. A decision is expected today.
"I guess that could be the reason," said Sanchez Montesinos. "But in this case the Spanish Federation is doing its duty. There is a Spaniard candidate [Gregorio Moreno] who is standing [for UCI president] with our approval... Maybe what we did wrong was to allow a Spanish candidate to stand for president of the UCI. We asked for information about the electoral process. As there were no answers, we logically used the law to keep on demanding that information. And there's no other reason."
So what will happen now with the Friday meeting that was supposed to select a new UCI president? "We don't know," said Sanchez Montesinos, "because actually we don't have any news about how things will go at that meeting because there are no electoral rules, there is nothing that allows us to know what we will do. Apparently, there will be a congress with the main purpose of the presidential elections among the candidates. We don't know how that congress will be held. There must be a neutral person in charge of the congress."
Fulgencio Sanchez said the UCI committee's departure would not affect the event. "The stampede will not affect the world championships," he told Reuters. But the UCI elections are a different matter. "I wouldn't be surprised if the congress didn't even take place in Madrid," he added.
"It seems that there is a terrible fear of this person [UCI president Hein Verbruggen], but I'm not afraid of him. They have been surprised that I have dared challenge him ... I've no fear whatsoever of any reprisals that will be taken against the RFEC or Spanish cycling."