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Tactical masterstroke or the last throw of the dice by a man who finds himself cornered?

UCI president Pat McQuaid has written to his fellow members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ask for their support in the governing body's battle with WADA that has seen the Independent Commission disbanded and stalemate ensue over the setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The UCI was branded "arrogant" and "deceitful" by WADA president John Fahey on Tuesday after cycling's governing body had said it was working with the agency to formulate a Truth and Reconciliation process.

In a letter sent by McQuaid to all 101 IOC members that was obtained by the website Inside The Games (full text below), the UCI president outlines the UCI's position and concludes by saying: "We would welcome any support you can offer in underlining to WADA the importance of working in partnership and cooperation.with the UCI to establish this Truth and Reconcilliation Commission."

It's a high-stakes, high-risk strategy and one that perhaps reveals desperation on McQuaid's part. Until last week, his and the UCI's position with WADA had been that any Truth and Reconciliation process must involve sports besides cycling as well. That won't have endeared him to some IOC members.

Clearly, McQuaid hopes he will get enough support to force WADA to change its stance at the end of a month when he has lost his two positions within the agency - his term on WADA's Executive Committee came to an end, but surprisingly, he also left WADA's Foundation Board a year early.

Then, last week, McQuaid stepped down from the IOC's committee that is examining the candidate cities for the 2020 Summer Olympics, less than nine months before the host city is decided upon.

There's a strong risk that the strategy of writing to each IOC member could backfire on him, though. Fail to get sufficient support, or none whatsoever, and his position - and by extension that of the UCI within the Olympic movement - will be one of increasing isolation.

That's not a remote prospect either. Six of the places on WADA's Executive Board are filled by IOC members, and 14 of the 38 places on its Foundation Board. To put it another way, McQuaid is taking his battle to a significant proportion of IOC members who also fulfill roles at the body he is asking them to take a stand against.

Tactical masterstroke or the last throw of the dice by a man who finds himself cornered? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Pat McQuaid letter dated 30 January 2013 to IOC members

Dear Members

You are no doubt well aware of the uncomfortable recent media coverage concerning relations between WADA and the UCI.

I am enclosing the UCI press release of 29 January 2013, in which we very reluctantly decided to release the correspondence between myself and John Fahey. We took this decision because of the enormous discrepancies between what John Fahey was saying to me on the telephone and in his email and the continuing aggressive attacks on the UCI by WADA in public.

Having said that, and as I stated clearly in my letter to Mr Fahey, I wish to reiterate my sincere belief that it is time to put the past beihnd us and start to work together for the good of cycling and for sport in general.

We have listened very closely in past weeks and, given WADA's lack of confidence in the Independent Commission that the UCI established, it was clear that our federation could no longer fund a procedure whose outcome is so certain to be rejected by such an important stakeholder. That is why we decided to disband the Independent Commission with immediate effect.

We took this decision with great regret, but given the views of WADA we did not see any other option. We are extremely grateful to Sir Philip Otton, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Malcolm Holmes QC for their valuable work, as well as John Coates, President of ICAS, for his support and help in establishing the Independent Commission.

The UCI is committed to establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine the culture of doping in cycling in the past, as well as the allegations contained in the USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service (USPS) team, and to clean the air so that our sport can move forward.

In order to do this, I very much hope that WADA will now desist from continuing the current undignified war of words via the media and sit down with us in a spirit of cooperation and partnership to work out the details of the Truth and Reconcilliation process. In return, the UCI will gladly do the same.

We would welcome any support you can offer in underlining to WADA the importance of working in partnership and cooperation.with the UCI to establish this Truth and Reconcilliation Commission.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.