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  • McQuaid Ethics Probe Could Benefit Challenger for UCI Presidency


    Brian Cookson (R) with Great Britain's Jason Kenny at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Cup (Getty Images).
    (ATR) UCI, cycling's governing body, is probing allegations made in a secret dossier about incumbent president Pat McQuaid's leadership Around the Rings understands, as challenger Brian Cookson unveils his campaign manifesto.

    Among six pledges announced by the British Cycling president at a Paris press conference Monday are: "Transform anti-doping in cycling" and "Strengthen cycling’s credibility and influence within the Olympic Movement."

    Developments concerning the contents of the dossier compiled by former USA Cycling president Mike Plant and presented at a meeting of the UCI Management Committee in Bergen, Norway nearly two weeks ago could boost Cookson’s campaign.

    One member of the UCI Management Committee confirmed to ATR on Monday that “serious allegations” had been passed on to UCI’s ethics body.

    UCI vice-president Artur Lopes of Portugal told ATR that the members of the committee were awaiting the outcome of the ethics investigation.

    “The ethics commission will try to understand what is happening,” Lopes said.

    Plant declined to tell ATR about discussions held regarding the dossier at the management committee meeting. On June 15, he said in a statement he could no longer support McQuaid and had “made my reasons, findings and concerns clear to him and my colleagues.”
    Pat McQuaid at UCI headquarters (Getty Images).

    “This is a critical turning point in the history of our sport, and strong, credible leadership has never been more important,” he said.

    Two days after the UCI Management Committee meeting, McQuaid failed to secure the nomination of Cycling Ireland in his quest for a third term as UCI chief.

    The Irish IOC member, who has been UCI president since 2005, is now relying on the endorsement of the Swiss cycling federation, although its support faces a legal challenge.

    Cookson Vision for UCI

    Unveiling a manifesto called "Restoring Trust, Leading Change," Cookson today sought to step up the pressure on McQuaid’s beleaguered leadership of the UCI.

    Speaking at a press conference in Paris, close to where the UCI was founded in 1900, Cookson outlined his plans to restore the credibility of cycling’s world governing body following the damaging Lance Armstrong affair.

    “I believe the most important challenge for the new president is to restore trust in the UCI, and most importantly to rebuild people’s faith in the way that anti-doping is dealt with,” he said, promising to open an independent investigation into allegations that the UCI colluded to cover-up Armstrong’s past doping offences.

    “We need to give people reasons to believe that the future will be different from the past. We must build a culture of trust and confidence.”

    He laid out six pledges that he aims to fulfill if elected as UCI president at elections in September. Cookson said he plans to rebuild trust in the UCI; transform anti-doping in cycling; grow cycling across the globe; develop women’s cycling; overhaul elite road cycling; and strengthen cycling’s credibility and influence within the Olympic Movement.

    “If elected, my first priority will be to establish a completely independent anti-doping unit, managed and governed outside of the UCI and in full cooperation with
    For more than a decade, professional cycling has been racked by doping scandals. (Getty Images).
    the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” he added.

    “This unit would be physically and politically separate from the UCI, responsible for all aspects of anti-doping, and report to a board totally independent from the UCI.”

    Cookson also highlighted his commitment to ending “the UCI’s public feuding with anti-doping bodies, such as WADA, AFLD and USADA”.

    Cookson added: “It is absurd that a sport that has suffered so much from doping has been in open conflict with the very people it should be working in partnership with.”

    He emphasized the importance of the UCI embracing “a more open and transparent approach in the way it conducts business”, vowing to introduce good governance measures, including the publishing of all my financial interests, remuneration package and any potential conflicts of interest relating to the office of president.”

    Along with his plans to grow cycling worldwide, including tapping the huge potential to develop women’s cycling, Cookson wants to boost cycling’s status within the Olympic Movement, he pledged to work closely with the IOC to increase athlete quotas and expand the number of disciplines.

    He promised to campaign for the return of popular and classic track disciplines such the individual pursuit and the points race, and push to add new disciplines, such as Freestyle BMX and MTB Eliminator.

    Homepage photo from Getty Images. 

    Reported by Mark Bisson.

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