It has been claimed that senior UCI officials are behind the controversial proposed changes to the governing body’s constitution that could see its president, Pat McQuaid, nominated by the Thai and Moroccan cycling federations in next month’s election.
The Irishman, who has been in office since 2005, is seeking a third term and has just one rival candidate, British Cycling president, Brian Cookson.
Yesterday, a press release from McQuaid criticised British Cycling for challenging the proposed rule change, with Cookson responding by accusing his opponent of seeking to manipulate the electoral process through amending it retrospectively.
Last month, the UCI announced that its World Congress in Florence in late September would vote on an amendment to Article 51.1 of its constitution that had jointly been proposed by the Malaysian Cycling Federation and its continental governing body, the Asian Cycling Confederation.
Currently, that rule states: "the candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate;" the proposed amendment would add that they could also be nominated by “two federations other than the federation of the candidate."
The most controversial aspect of the issue, however, is not that intended change, but rather the fact that if adopted, it will be applied retrospectively to the current election, with nominations open until 30 August instead of the original date of 29 June.
Telegraph.co.uk says it has seen letters dated 27 June 2013 that it says provide evidence that the UCI’s director general, Christophe Hubschmid as well as Amina Lanaya, its head of legal services, were involved in drafting the final version of the proposed rule change, with their input thought to favour McQuaid’s position.
Those letters came two days before the nomination period for the elections closed.
McQuaid’s original nomination by Cycling Ireland was withdrawn on procedural grounds, then rejected when it was put to a vote at an Emergency General Meeting.
Officially, his nomination is from Swiss Cycling, the federation of the country where the UCI is headquartered, and where McQuaid is based, although that is subject to a legal challenge.
The national federations of Thailand and Morocco have both nominated McQuaid and, if the rule change were adopted in full at the UCI World Congress with retrospective effect, that would be sufficient for him to stand, even if the Swiss Cycling nomination were withdrawn.
McQuaid himself claims that he is a member of both the Thai and Moroccan federations, and that their nominations were made before the deadline – although certainly at the end of June, when it expired, their had been no public statement of that.
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.