Current UCI president Pat McQuaid has released his manifesto for his bid to be re-elected to the post.
McQuaid’s claim to be selected to continue at the helm of cycling’s world governing body rests heavily on his achievements of the last eight years, including an increase in the organisation’s anti-doping budget from $1.75 million in 2005 to $7.5 million today. On McQuaid’s watch, the UCI also introduced the biological passport programme, a blood-monitoring system that was instrumental in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s case against Lance Armstrong.
McQuaid said: “Cycling has changed since I was first elected as UCI President in 2005. It is now a global sport. It is now possible to race and win clean. We have travelled a great distance together and we must never turn back from cycling’s bright future.”
Main themes: anti-doping, women, media & globalisation
As well as developing and extending cycling’s anti-doping activities, McQuaid says he will focus on three other main areas: improving the status of female athletes in cycling; modernising the way cycling is presents as a global sport and continuing the global development of cycling.
In women’s racing, McQuaid claims credit for overseeing the introduction of equal prize money for men and women at all UCI World Championships, the extension of that principle to Continental championships from 2014 and the introduction of gender equality in Olympic cycling, so that men and women have the same number of events.
On the modernisation front, McQuaid says that bring BMX into the Olympic Games has been “a huge success”, attracting large numbers of young riders to join national federations through BMX. McQuaid was also responsible for the restructuring of the race calendar into the various continental tours, the creation of the athletes’ commission for consultations with riders on topics including safety.
McQuaid claims the globalisation of cycling has continued apace on his watch. There are now more races in the Asia and America Tours than previously, and more teams racing the Europe, Africa and Oceania Tours.
McQuaid puts forth an extensive program of continuing improvement and reform to the way the UCI and world cycling operate. SIgnificant points include:
- Increasing the independence of the UCI’s Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF). Completing the process to appoint an independent board and locating the CADF outside of the UCI
- Increasing UCI World Tour teams’ contributions to anti-doping to fund and increase the independence of the CADF
- Establishing an independent audit of the UCI’s actions during the years when Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour de France
- Separating women’s cycling from the UCI Road Commission and to establishing an independent UCI Women’s Commission with responsibility for developing all disciplines of women’s cycling.
- Developing a new global women’s elite race calendar that is easy to understand
- Seeking to ensure that events and teams seeking World Tour status are given priority if events have a women’s race and team’s have a women’s team
- Re-organising the existing race calendar to promote the ideal of “the best riders in the best races”
- Reforming the system that allocates and distributes UCI World Tour points
- Introducing cameras on bikes and helmets, introducing GPS rider tracking and communicating real time data for race fans
Brian Cookson’s reaction
McQuaid’s rival for the UCI presidency, British Cycling’s Brian Cookson, was quick to react to the publication of McQuaid’s manifesto.
Cookson said: “Pat has been President of the UCI for two terms. While his Manifesto outlines what he believes still needs to be done for the UCI, I think that many people will judge him on his record, and ask why those things haven't been done in the last eight years. Unfortunately under his Presidency far too much energy and resource have been devoted to destructive feuding and conflict rather than grabbing hold of the issues, listening to the right people and delivering solutions.
“In his Manifesto he talks about the UCI Stakeholders Consultation but I think he fails to address the number one critical recommendation – that the UCI ‘must take the steps necessary to restore cycling’s and its own credibility, in particular in relation to the public perception of cycling’s anti-doping measures and current UCI leadership’. It is my belief and that of many others that we need a complete change of leadership in order to successfully achieve this.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.