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Pat McQuaid: Over but not out

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Pat McQuaid usually gets things done without any fuss and or intruding on any person. So it was after 20 years of race direction, which he made into a fine art with his colleagues, Alan Rushton and Michael Bennett, that the final chapter was written in a career that has seen him as a cyclist and an administrator of the highest quality. On Sunday in downtown Kuala Lumpur, McQuaid oversaw his final event which was the last stage of Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi. There was no fanfare at the wind up of one of the biggest sporting events in Malaysia. His presence will be missed but the show will go on.

It all started back in 1985 in the glory days of Irish cycling, when Pat along with Alan Rushton and Michael Bennett gave not only Irish but European cycling a massive boost. Of course the emergence of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche made life in the fast lane easy to handle.

The Nissan Classic became synonymous with the sport and as a result of that package, events as far afield as in the Philippines and Malaysia were on the itinerary. Then of course there were the World Cup events in Britain. The great tours of the Kellogg's, Prudential and the City Centre races both in Britain and Ire certainly gave the sport a leg up. It became the norm for this trio to handle any big promotions associated with cycling.

Of course McQuaid and co. were very much responsible for bringing the greatest bike race in the world, the Tour de France to both England and Ireland. They were pioneers and often, people thought they were off the wall when they floated the idea for some of the promotions which came to fruition down the years.

So, it was with a heavy heart that Pat despite his wealth of experience, called a halt. "Life to me is a challenge, the sport of cycling has been good to me and hopefully I can bring that experience to a higher plane," said Pat. "I leave the direction to other people who may follow in my footsteps, but with a new broom things may change."

His former colleagues, Alan Rushton and Michael Bennett lavished praise on Pat, whose family has been associated with the cycling game for more years than they care to remember. "No matter what Pat does, he'll bring flair to the sport," said Rushton. "Working with him was a joy and the respect that he has all over the place is gratifying to us all who have a love of cycling."

"He has a lovely way of doing some of the greatest tasks. Also with the least difficulty. No matter what he turns his hand to hands to, it will work out for him," said Michael.

As for Pat and his future in the sport, he will be a candidate to take the role as President of the Union Cycliste Internationale when Hein Verbruggen steps down in September of this year.

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