Pat McQuaid slams Brian Cookson's "half baked" UCI manifesto

UCI president questions rival's perceived inconsistencies and asks where the cash is coming from

by Simon_MacMichael   June 25, 2013  

Pat McQuaid © Simon MacMichael.jpg

UCI president Pat McQuaid has described the manifesto of his rival in September’s election, British Cycling president Brian Cookson, as “half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical.”

In a statement emailed to press outlets this afternoon, McQuaid, who is seeking re-election for a third term, responds to the some of areas Cookson touched upon in the key points made in his manifesto, called Restoring Trust, Leading Change, which was launched in Paris yesterday.

In response, McQuaid, whom understands will be publishing his own manifesto in the coming days, said: "Just telling people what they want to hear is easy. He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen.

"He must also make a clear statement on whether he believes that cycling has changed, as many of today's riders have said loudly and clearly.

"He must also clarify whether he believes cycling is leading the fight against doping, in order to reassure the cycling family that he is prepared to stand up for the sport against those who attack it."

Cookson’s manifesto set out how he would set about fulfilling key pledges in six areas, namely:

  • Rebuild trust in the UCI
  • Transform anti-doping in cycling
  • Grow cycling across the globe
  • Develop women’s cycling
  • Overhaul elite road cycling
  • Strengthen cycling’s credibility and influence within the Olympic Movement.

McQuaid’s statement, which you can read in full below, focuses on just some of those areas – one omission being that it avoids addressing Cookson’s pledge that if elected he would make it a priority to investigate whether the UCI colluded in covering up doping.

Instead, it focuses on areas such as changing the approach to anti-doping, with the UCI president claiming that the Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (based at the UCI’s World Cycling Centre), already has enough independence. Cookson insists that the process must be entirely separate from the UCI.

He also calls into question how Cookson intends the UCI to pay for the reforms he is suggesting, and indeed whether he has carried out any detailed costings, as well as querying how his rival candidate’s plans to further cycling at a global level and promote women’s cycling differ from the policies in those areas that McQuaid himself has followed in his time as UCI president.

The style is one that some might see as familiar from some official UCI press releases, including earlier this year when the UCI published private correspondence between its current president and his counterpart at the World Anti-Doping Agency, John Fahey, with McQuaid seeking to undermine Cookson’s manifesto by pointing out inconsistencies with other opinions said to have been expressed by him.

The choice by Cookson of a hotel in Paris located just yards from where the UCI itself was founded to launch his manifesto was a symbolic one, with the document underpinned by a desire to create a fresh start for the body.

But while British Cycling, the organisation Cookson currently heads, wouldn’t come into existence for almost half a century after the UCI was formed in Paris 100 years ago, McQuaid took a swipe at what he described as his rival’s ignorance of the UCI’s history.

He also claimed that it owed its existence to the fact that the existing International Cycling Association was felt to be “too dominated by Great Britain,” adding that the country would be “specifically excluded from joining the newly launched UCI for a number of years.”

McQuaid's original nomination by Cycling Ireland to stand for a third term as UCI president was rendered void on a technicality, and last weekend an Emergency General Meeting of the organisation voted against backing him.

Swiss Cycling, the national governing body of the country where the UCI is based and McQuaid is resident, has also nominated him, but that is the subject of a challenge by some members and is set to be determined by an arbitration panel.

Pat McQuaid statement, 25 June 2013

Cookson must explain half-baked manifesto

Brian Cookson’s election manifesto is half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical.

Just telling people what they want to hear is easy. He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen.

He must also make a clear statement on whether he believes that cycling has changed, as many of today’s riders have said loudly and clearly. He  must also clarify whether he believes cycling is leading the fight against doping, in order to reassure the cycling family that he is prepared to stand up for the sport against those who attack it.

Independent Testing:

Brian Cookson’s manifesto is proposing nothing new on independent anti-doping, because the WADA Code simply does not permit the UCI, or indeed any other international federation, to create an independent anti-doping body.

As a signatory of the WADA Code, the UCI is responsible for all anti-doping in cycling. While it may delegate responsiblity to a third party, any third party must comply with the UCI rules and the WADA Code – and so its operations must remain part of the UCI’s anti-doping programme.

What Brian is proposing, when you examine the detail, is simply to relocate the existing Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF) unit, which is as fully independent as the WADA Code permits, outside of the UCI building in Aigle.

As Brian should know, much of the testing in cycling is already independent as the UCI shares responsiblity for anti-doping with organisations such as WADA, USADA, AFLD, CONI, amongst others. And as Brian should also know, no anti-doping test result is ever seen solely by the CADF. The results of every single test are seen by multiple anti-doping organisations.

Brian’s proposal that the “UCI must remove itself from the management of anti-doping” is a nice soundbite, but it demonstrates how little he understands about the WADA Code and the UCI’s responsibility as a signatory to the Code.

My own position, and that of the UCI, as we have said many times, is that we are in favour of independent anti-doping if WADA changes its Code to faciliate that for all international federations.

Brian must immediately explain:

  • Why he is proposing to establish a new anti-doping unit when the CADF already exists, whose independence he has vouched for, voted on and approved in numerous management committee meetings?
  • If he is now abandoning his decision at the very recent UCI Management Committee to support a recommendation from the UCI Stakeholders Forum to increase further the independence of the CADF?
  • How his proposal to establish an independent anti-doping board is any different from the recent decision of the UCI Management Committee to approve the appointment of a fully independent board for the CADF, a process which is already underway?
  • What is the fundamental difference between the independent CADF that exists and the new unit that he is now proposing?
  • How his proposed new “unit” will be staffed and funded and by whom?
  • How far geographically must the UCI relocate the CADF away from its President’s office to guarantee its independence?

Truth and Reconciliation

Brian must explain why he has two versions of where he stands on the subject of establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

His manifesto states that he supports Truth and Reconcilation if “a number of practical legal issues that require consideration” can be overcome. Yet Brian was absolutely clear in telling RTE Sport, as recently as 12 days ago, that cycling does not require a Truth and Reconciliation Commission if the people who have been involved in doping simply came forward and told the truth.

He also used his RTE interview (transcript attached) to present a detailed personal opinion of all the “practical and legal issues” that would need to be resolved to establish such a Commission, but said he was not confident these issues could be overcome.

Brian Cookson must explain:

  • What of the two versions of his position on Truth and Reconciliation should people believe?
  • What in his view are the “practical legal issues that require consideration”?
  • Whether he believes these legal issues can be overcome.


Brian Cookson’s proposals to create new international departments, to increase the World Cycling Centre budget, to roll out new World Cycling Satellite Centres, to create a new UCI Commission and new internal UCI positions while also instigating independent investigations and a possible Truth and Reconciliation process bear no relation to the existing budgetary constraints and the financial resources available to the UCI.

He has prepared his manifesto as if money were no object. This money has to be found and he has given no indication from where it will come or how he proposes to generate new revenue streams to finance the multi-million cost of his aspirations.

Brian Cookson must explain:

  • Whether he has costed all of the proposals he has made?
  • How he proposes that the UCI will fully meet the cost of his proposals?

Other issues:

Brian Cookson should also explain:

  • How he can justify his assertion that cycling has lost its influence in the Olympic Movement when the sport has just been selected by the IOC Executive Board as one of the core sports at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games?
  • How he can claim that he can affect policy within the Olympic Movement when he is neither an elected member of the IOC, nor well known by the membership?
  • Why he is only now showing any interest in ‘growing cycling in the rest of the world’ and in women’s cycling when he has shown so little interest before? How do his plans in these two areas differ significantly from what I have been doing successfully for the past eight years? And what is his credibility and track record in the globalisation of cycling and in promoting women’s cycling?

Finally, the irony of Brian’s choice of historic venue to launch his manifesto suggests he doesn’t actually know the UCI’s history. The UCI was indeed launched in Paris by cycling federations from France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA. It was launched specifically to replace the then International Cycling Association which these countries felt was too dominated by Great Britain, hence the choice of Paris. Britain was even specifically excluded from joining the newly launched UCI for a number of years.

27 user comments

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Am I the only one getting the feeling that McQuid may be just a touch anti-British? That last bit seems totally irrelevant...

posted by pwake [363 posts]
25th June 2013 - 18:20


Cycling will be a better place when he disappears, bigoted, untrustworthy and self serving!

posted by TheDoctor [135 posts]
25th June 2013 - 18:28


pwake wrote:
Am I the only one getting the feeling that McQuid may be just a touch anti-British? That last bit seems totally irrelevant...

Was 'McQuid' just a Freudian slip or a suggestion of the UCI taking back-handers?

Chris D

posted by wingsofspeed68 [59 posts]
25th June 2013 - 18:35


God I hate Pat Mcquaid. Get ye to a nunnery, sir, and never return.

posted by Not KOM [79 posts]
25th June 2013 - 18:43


Pat, it will be paid for by all the backhanders you have squirraled away over the years, there should be more than enough in that bank account Big Grin

He's also being a bit premature in announcing his manifesto tomorrow, the Swiss inquiry hasn't been finalised yet so he might not even get to stand, fingers crossed !!!

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3197 posts]
25th June 2013 - 18:57


I am REALLY waiting for the final toss of the coin.

McQuaid makes a new ruling that the incumbent president can stand for re-election without needing a nomination from any national association....

Mark my words, its coming Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9355 posts]
25th June 2013 - 19:27


"Brian must explain..."
What happens whenever Pat is asked to explain?

posted by shot18 [55 posts]
25th June 2013 - 19:29


UCI History 101:
The British domination that Pat refers to was the notion that the four Countries comprising the United Kingdom should have their own teams. Does Pat, as an Irishman (when it suits him), think that was a bad idea?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th June 2013 - 19:40


How do we as the cyclists in the street, get invloved in supporting Cookson and helping get McQuaid out. Or is this totally above grass roots cyclists?

posted by thefatcyclist [584 posts]
25th June 2013 - 20:05


shot18 wrote:
What happens whenever Pat is asked to explain?

...he shouts and stamps his feet like a spoilt, petulant child who has just been threatened with a ban from the playground. His response is entirely as I expected it would be - a paranoid, aggressive fight. Perhaps his 'at all costs' efforts to remain in charge is basically a desperate attempt to hide the Pharmstrong facts for as long as possible... I'd question whether he'd come out looking good after that goes public! Thinking

posted by fatty [74 posts]
25th June 2013 - 20:07


@thefatcyclist I'd like to know that too. McQuaid has to go (I fail to see how anybody could possibly consider voting for him?!)

posted by fatty [74 posts]
25th June 2013 - 20:09


That's right Pat, that's right.


djcritchley's picture

posted by djcritchley [180 posts]
25th June 2013 - 20:38


The only people that could possibly vote for McQuaid are those that have something to hide. The possible (likely) true extent of bribes and backhanders must be worrying them a tad Thinking

posted by Griffsters [26 posts]
25th June 2013 - 20:54


He's scared - attack is the best form of defence. He'll be calling every bribe / backhander related favour he can, and some. Still, if by some remote chance he loses, FIFA would love to have him - he'll be right at home with Sepp and his cronies in their cesspit Devil


posted by pastaman [256 posts]
25th June 2013 - 22:29


Still my favorite medal ceremony involving Pat......

posted by techsmechs [7 posts]
25th June 2013 - 22:42


And he wouldn't even have to move house... Devil


posted by pastaman [256 posts]
25th June 2013 - 23:24


Um, who's asking whom about the cash source?

Gerard the Kiwi

GerardR's picture

posted by GerardR [93 posts]
26th June 2013 - 3:00


Pat is quite right to slam Brian Cookson's objective "Rebuild trust in the UCI"... as I can see that in his eyes, with McQaid still at the helm this is totally unacheivable.

When will McQuaid wake up and realise that he is one of the most hated characters in cycling and that for the good of the sport itself, he should go and shut up?

spindoctore's picture

posted by spindoctore [50 posts]
26th June 2013 - 5:18

1 Like

As far as I can see, McQuid's "two versions of truth and reconciliation" don't need explaining. If "version one" (everyone stepping up and teling the truth) doesn't happen, Cookson wants to impliment "version two" (a truth and reconciliation process). These are the illogical rantings of someone papping themselves with fear.

posted by Pondo [19 posts]
26th June 2013 - 8:33


The challenge for Cookson is not to get involved in the name calling and mud-slinging. The anti-British sentiment is an interesting play though. It has certainly worked in footballing circles (and Eurovision!) Any chance of seeing a third candidate throw thei hat in the ring?

posted by barongreenback [21 posts]
26th June 2013 - 8:34


McQuaid... sound-bites of a desperate man, you have no followers, backers or believers... go away and crawl back under your rock and leave cycling alone.

posted by mikeprytherch [220 posts]
26th June 2013 - 8:38


If anyone else does want to put their hand up, think they only have 2 more days to do so. Doesnt seem likely...

posted by Sam1 [220 posts]
26th June 2013 - 9:28


Its a difficult one. I'm sure lots of us have the same question.

Simon: any thoughts?

posted by Sam1 [220 posts]
26th June 2013 - 9:31


A sad stae of affairs when someone can't get nominated by their own country, and has to look elsewhere. Then it will be something to see a published manifesto, which so far as I can recall has never happened before. Then before, the succession always seemed to be well sorted out before the congress came around, so it was just a "coronation", as recently when HB handed the crown on the PMcQ, then remained in the background - still pulling the strings?
However this campaigh goes, BC should stand above all the dirt and stay positive, because even if the unexpected happens, he can hold his head high as a decent and fair person.
What happens to the UCI if it does, though, is not likely to be pleasant or help the sport in any way at all.
If only the ordinary people in the sport had a way to influence the continental delegates, who really hold the power.


posted by doc [167 posts]
26th June 2013 - 10:35


he really is a nasty c**t isnt he

posted by mrchrispy [406 posts]
26th June 2013 - 11:14


Mmmm and Pat has done how much to promote women's cycling? How about putting pressure on the media, such as Eurosport to show more womens racing.

It does make you wonder how Armstrong managed to get away with doping for all the time that McQuaid has supposedly been in charge. Devil

David Palmer
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posted by djpalmer32 [69 posts]
26th June 2013 - 13:45


When will it be about cycling for you Pat? Of course never it is just about power and money.

It is so easy, just like in real politics, all McQuaid had to do was wait for Cookson's manifesto and say it is impractical because of finances, so where are his detailed costing to show it can't be financed? All he has to do is say it, funny that is exactly what he accuses Cookson of at the start.

Of course there will never be change unless someone tries to make it happen.

So nice to see that McQuaid as always remains a politician of the Thatcherite school, which is exactly where most of his ideas belong, back in the 1980s.

I guess some of the finances might come from not paying him and his like their salaries.

Is this the reason that many Presidents aren't allowed more than two terms of office? Is it because they get corrupt?

The sad answer to those who ask what can you do to impact things if McQuaid somehow stays in at the UCI? Abandon your national cycling membership and cease supporting UCI events as it is a lot of this money that funds it. If no one watches the UCI events or joins national cycling, no corporate sponsorship, no finances, and there would have to be change.

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posted by Rigobear [84 posts]
27th June 2013 - 7:30