British Cycling president Brian Cookson says he is “disturbed” by what he has learnt from a confidential dossier compiled on Pat McQuaid, the man he is seeking to replace as UCI president.
That dossier was compiled by former USA Cycling president Mike Plant, like Cookson a member of the UCI Management Committee, which is chaired by McQuaid.
It was presented to members of the committee on Friday, the second day of its meeting in Bergen, Norway, after McQuaid had succeeded in preventing having its contents discussed the previous day.
For now, the contents, believed to have been compiled with the help of private investigators and to include details of McQuaid and the UCI’s role in the Lance Armstrong affair, remain confidential.
Writing on his blog, Cookson, whose manifesto for September’s UCI presidential election will be unveiled in Paris next Monday 24 June, said: “I have to respect the confidentiality of the Management Committee with regards to the contents of the dossier with which we were presented.
“But what I can say is that I was disturbed by what I heard and I have been assured it will be properly investigated.”
Speaking to the website Inside The Games at the weekend, Plant confirmed that he had withdrawn his support for McQuaid, who on Saturday had his nomination to stand for a third term rejected by a vote at an Emergency General Meeting of Cycling Ireland.
The UCI president is now relying on a nomination from Swiss Cycling, the national governing body for the country where the UCI is based and where he lives; however, that itself is subject to a legal challenge.
"I can no longer support the current President of the UCI," said Plant, who was unable to give details of the specific contents of the dossier and instead confined himself to speaking about his general thoughts.
"This is a critical turning point in the history of our sport, and strong, credible leadership has never been more important,” he said.
"The impact of the decisions being made today will be felt for generations to come.
"What the sport of cycling needs most at this crucial time in its history is to be guided by a consistent set of values.
"This isn't a time for self-interest; this is a time for doing what is in the best interest of the sport.
"That's my primary objective for the sport I have been a part of for 40 years.
"I learned long ago that ethics and integrity cannot be situational; they must be constant and unwavering," he added.
Cookson meanwhile is on the campaign trail this week, revealing in his blog that he was travelling to Morocco for the meeting of the African Cycling Confederation, as the work to secure support for his candidacy among delegates at the UCI Congress in Florence in September begins in earnest.
“My visit to Africa will be invaluable as it will give me an opportunity to hear first-hand the changes that need to be made to strengthen competition structures and increase participation at all levels across the continent,” he said.
“We need to ensure that we, as a sport that still has so much potential across the world, make the most of the opportunities that may come our way.”
Cookson also confirmed that he had stepped down from representing British Cycling on Team Sky’s operational board after announcing his intention to stand for election as UCI president.
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.