Swiss Cycling has confirmed that it has withdrawn its nomination of Pat McQuaid to stand for a third term as president of the UCI, just days before an arbitration panel was due to rule on its validity following a legal challenge that could have seen the national federation hit with crippling legal costs had it lost.
The news will come as a blow to McQuaid's hopes of securing re-election to the top job at world cycling's governing body at the UCI World Congress to be held in Florence at the end of next month, where his sole opponent is British Cycling president, Brian Cookson.
It comes on a day when a legal opinion from the Geneva office of international law firm Baker & McKenzie suggests that there is nothing untoward in the retroactive application of a proposed change to the UCI's constitution, due to be voted on in Florence, that would allow McQuaid to be nominated by the Thai and Moroccan federations.
British Cycling has challenged the legality of that proposed rule change through its own lawyers, and Baker & McKenzie's opinion should be viewed as a response to that, rather than a legally binding judgment, which some media outlets are reporting it as.
Originally, McQuaid had been nominated for this year's election by the board of Cycling Ireland, which had also backed his candidacy in 2005 and 2009.
Amid and outcry from many of the federation's members, it was found that there had been a procedural irregularity with the nomination, and when it was put to the vote at an Emergency General Meeting in Dublin in May, delegates voted not to endorse his nomination.
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.