UCI president Pat McQuaid has written to the national cycling federation presidents of the world in response to the leak of a dossier purported to contain evidence of his wrongdoing, decrying what he called "gangster politics," and accusing his opponents of lies, bribery, attempted vote-buying, entrapment and more.
McQuaid may face British Cycling's Brian Cookson in the election for president of the UCI, which will take place on September 27 in Florence, Italy, although even the very nomination of McQuaid to the post has met with objections.
Both Ireland and Switzerland have withdrawn their nominations, McQuaid's backing by Thailand and Morocco has come under fire and now strong allegations of corruption found their way into the media. McQuaid said he believes that Igor Marakov, who compiled the dossier, and/or Mike Plant, who presented it to the UCI Management Committee, leaked the details to the press.
The dossier alleged that McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen tried to extract a 250,000 Euro payment from a team in return for elevating its status, that he tried to cover up the doping positive of Alberto Contador, and that they allowed Lance Armstrong's attorneys to edit a supposedly independent report created to investigate a 2005 L'Equipe story that linked Armstrong's 1999 Tour de France anti-doping control codes to EPO-positive samples uncovered in a French research study, among other allegations.
McQuaid's response read as follows:
Dear Federation Presidents,
Yesterday evening, a libellous “dossier”, alleging corruption at the UCI, was anonymously leaked to the media. The media organisation presented the document to me. The claims in this so-called dossier are a complete fabrication. They are totally untrue and are not supported by a scintilla of evidence.
This is a scurrilous and libellous attack on my character, with a political agenda that is both nakedly transparent and totally contemptible – and unfortunately one that is completely in character with the tactics of my opponents.
The UCI Ethics Commission has already tried to investigate this dossier, which was compiled by Management Committee members Igor Makarov and Mike Plant. The Ethics Commission asked Mr Makarov and Mr Plant to hand over a copy of their dossier, but both of them have refused. That fact alone speaks volumes.
Given that Mr Makarov and Mr Plant are the only two people to have this document, it is clear that this ”anonymous” leak can only have come from one of them. Both of them have trumpeted their support for Brian Cookson in this Presidential election. That is entirely their prerogative, but this sort of despicable behaviour is not.
So far in this presidential election campaign, my opponents have employed lies, bribery, attempted extortion, attempted vote-buying, attempts at entrapment with hidden cameras and microphones, commercial interests threatening to bankrupt national federations if they didn’t withdraw my nomination and legal chicaneries to try to prevent you from even being given the chance to vote for or against me. This is not democracy. This is gangster politics.
If Brian Cookson does not now condemn these tactics utterly, then we can only assume that he supports them – and we will all have a graphic preview of how the UCI will be run for the coming four years under his leadership and with his henchmen.
This behaviour on the part of three Management Committee members – as well as this libellous dossier – is doing untold damage to the reputation of the UCI, something that Brian Cookson has claimed he apparently wants to restore.
I am proud to stand before you as a candidate in this election. I am proud to present you with a clear choice of leadership for the coming four years. I will be prouder still if you choose me as your next President at Congress this month. But if you do not, I will accept your choice with good grace and I will leave Florence with my head held high. I will know that I have given my all to the UCI over the past eight years and that I have done everything possible to protect our democratic process.
I challenge Brian Cookson to say the same thing.