A battle is looming for the next Oceania President of the UCI Oceania Cycling Confederation with Cycling Australia and Bike NZ dropping their support for incumbent Mike Turtur. The position leads to a seat on the UCI's powerful Management Committee.
Turtur was elected to the position in 2008 and is also the race director at the lone UCI WorldTour event in Oceania, the Tour Down Under. Just one event, apart from the confederation championships, the New Zealand Cycle Classic is slated for 2013.
Challenging Turtur on the December ballot for the four-year post is Tracey Gaudry, best known in her post-racing career as the CEO of the Amy Gillett Foundation. Gaudry is also currently a member of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's Anti-doping Review Violation Panel.
"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.
"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.
"The decision taken by the Board of Cycling Australia recognises the expectations of our membership that we continue to lead the development of the sport and maximise our opportunities to advocate for change and reform."
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 confereation have been considered in some quarters as a conflict of interest.
Mueller said that Turtur had made a "significant contribution" to the sport of cycling and hopes that he continues to do so.
"From winning an Olympic gold medal in 1984 to his role in boosting the public profile of cycling, particularly though the creation of the Tour Down Under, Mike has made a significant contribution to cycling in Australia and the region during his four year stint as President of Oceania and a member of the UCI Management Committee," said Mueller.
"We look forward to Mike's continued involvement in cycling through his role as Race Director and spiritual leader of the Australia's only UCI World Tour Event, the Tour Down Under, an event the entire cycling community is proud of."
Gaudry said that she considered her endorsement to be a great privilege and explained she hoped to continue her work in promoting women's involvement in the sport, along with the globilization of cycling.
"As a former athlete, an executive in cycling and a passionate advocate for cycling from grass-roots participation to elite level competition across all disciplines, I am motivated to ensure that cycling can capture the opportunity we now have for reform, equity and change," Gaudry said.
The Oceania Confederation is made up of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Guam.
The ballot takes place in Adelaide, Australia on December 2.
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