Guam opts not to support the Tour Down Under organiser
Mike Turtur is set to lose his position as president of the Oceania confederation and with it his influential position on the UCI's management committee.
Elections will be held in Adelaide on December 2 but Turtur looks set to lose after the Guam Cycling Federation opted to switch its vote, supporting Cycling Australia's candidate Tracey Gaudry instead of Turtur.
Turtur is considered one of the most powerful people in the southern hemisphere because he organises the Tour Down Under. He was elected president of the Oceania confederation in 2008, when the Tour Down Under became part of the UCI WorldTour. However, Cycling Australia opted not to support him for election this year after questions were raised about a possible conflict of interest between the role of race organisers and federation president.
Although Guam is a tiny cycling nation, each country in the Oceania Federation has a vote. Cycling Australia and Bike NZ have backed Gaudry, with Fiji and Guam originally supporting Turtur. Following Guam's change of heart, Turtur looks set to lose 3-1 to Gaudry.
Gaudry is a two-time Olympic road cyclist and is the chief executive of the Amy Gillett Foundation. Gaudry is also currently a member of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's Anti-doping Review Violation Panel. She will be the first woman to serve on the UCI management committee.
Turtur has recently come under fire for failing to publicise the fact that ONCE-Eroski rider Giampaolo Caruso returned a positive dope test after winning the Willunga Hill stage at the Tour Down Under in 2003. Until recently, Turtur was a staunch defendant of the reported multi-million dollar appearance fee paid to Lance Armstrong in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but has now said he feels "duped" by the revelations regarding the American. Turtur's roles as a race director and his position within the confederation have been considered in some quarters as a conflict of interest.
"Cycling Australia concluded that the time was right to support a new candidate to represent our interests and policy positions in relation to the challenges that face cycling," said Klaus Mueller, President of Cycling Australia in a press release announcing their favoured candidate recently.
"In particular the opportunity for true reform within cycling, particularly in anti-doping policy, governance and equality, is now. Tracey is an outstanding person, with an impeccable background who will make a significant contribution at UCI and Oceania level to the betterment of cycling."
Turtur refused to comment about the outcome of the vote after Guam's change of support.
"In respect to the likely outcome of the election, I wish the (Oceania) confederation all the best for the future and I will be watching with interest the development of the Oceania calendar in the next period," SBS reported him as saying, following Guam's change of heart.