Plant condemns McQuaid for attempted vote-rigging in UCI presidential race

The United States' representative on the UCI Management Committee, Mike Plant, has labelled Pat McQuaid's actions surrounding his bid in the 2013 UCI presidential election as deplorable and accused the Irishman of vote rigging. McQuaid defended his support by the federations from Malaysia, Thailand and Morocco as valid.

Plant also confirmed to Cyclingnews that the dossier presented to McQuaid during June's Management Committee came directly from another of McQuaid's firmest critics, Igor Makarov.

The dossier first made headlines in mid-June when several sources disclosed to Cyclingnews that Plant would present McQuaid and the UCI Management board with a body of damning evidence surrounding McQuaid's tenure as UCI President.

Since then the dossier has taken somewhat of a back seat as McQuaid and his running rival Brian Cookson travel the globe in search of vital votes ahead of September's election. However Cyclingnews can confirm that the dossier was compiled by Makarov, not Plant, and the latter was instead tasked with presenting the findings to the UCI board.

"At this point a lot of the information is still controlled by Mr. Makarov and it's really his decision as to when and how if he wants to release that. It's really up to him," Plant told Cyclingnews.

"We have a common objective in that this sport has been in peril for a while and we both care about the sport. We both believe that we need to restore credibility back in the UCI and that starts with the leadership. We're both firm believers of that."

Despite the dossier being presented nearly two months ago, it has yet to be released publicly. Cyclingnews understands that the evidence contains several witness testimonies and that legal red tape is one of the reasons it has yet to be made public. Plant would not discuss the exact body of evidence but confirmed that legal bindings are a factor.

"It's difficult to talk about because I'm not the one that generated all the information. I'm just the one who basically got to the point where I'm not sitting around and being complicit in all of this. I've got my own values and principles and once I know something is wrong and outrageous I'm just has complicit as anyone if I don't say something about it.

"I would say that and once again it's other people's responsibility based on their direct knowledge of the information that I disclosed and I want to respect that. I wasn't directly involved but they approved me to provide the management board with some of this information, and it wasn't just for shock and awe purposes. This was credible, valid, accurate information, but again I was the deliverer of the message and I pounded it home pretty hard."

When asked how McQuaid reacted to the dossier being presented Plant indicated that the Irishman bordered on denial.

"That's Pat. When he doesn't like something he just dismisses it. It doesn't mean it goes away or that it's not credible. For the life of me I can't figure out how he hasn't done the right thing and put the sport and this organisation's credibility first," Plant told Cyclingnews.

"He made a few responses to try and defend himself but he didn't say much. As far I as was concerned there wasn't anything he could say that would change my mind or the others who were in the room."

Pressed on the exact content or length of the dossier, Plant added, "I just think that there are things that would question anyone's integrity, their honour, and their values and certainly there's information that's inconsistent with what has been communicated for years involving certain aspects of the UCI's oversight of doping."

Malaysian manipulation

Plant then pointed to the manoeuvre pulled by McQuiad earlier this week, when he had the chutzpah to lobby the Malaysian Federation to support an amendment to the UCI rules that would strengthen his position should he face the loss of his Swiss nomination. The late change in the rules was lambasted by Cookson, with Plant going further and accusing McQuaid of vote rigging.

"It gets worse when you look at the actions from a couple of days ago. That's deplorable to me and a number of my colleagues, to then go and start manipulating a number of the rules and the statute. We all know what it is, it's a backup plan in case he doesn't win his nomination in Switzerland. It's like do you really not see, to anyone with any common sense or any ounce of dignity, what that looks like? It's called election rigging. It's called election manipulation. We should be better than that and we deserve better than that."

"This isn't about Pat or what Mike Plant wants. I've told him a couple of times ‘you and I've had long time friendship' but this isn't about friendship anymore. It's about right and wrong, ethics and integrity."

Plant also disclosed that he had recent conversations with Lance Armstrong. McQuaid famously stated that the former rider had no place in cycling after he was stripped of his seven Tour titles by USADA in 2012. Since then Armstrong has refrained – in the main – from commenting on McQuaid, although he did state that the Irishman was in 'cover your ass' mode back in January.

Plant would not comment as to whether Armstrong featured in the dossier, only confirming that, "I still have conversations with Lance. The last one was two days ago. The good thing is that Lance wants to do the right thing for the betterment of the UCI as well. You've heard him say the sport is a lot cleaner these days but moving forward, he supports the same thing I do, to quickly garner credibility back into the sport."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.