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Malaysian sport minister slaps wrists of cycling federation over support for Pat McQuaid

MNCF action "has to benefit the development of Malaysian cycling" says minister...

The Malaysian cycling federation (MNCF)has had its wrists slapped by the country’s sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin over its involvement in an attempt to change the rules governing presidential elections in cycling’s governing body the UCI.

“I don’t wish to interfere in the MNCF’s choice of who it wants to support in the UCI elections,” said Khairy. “But I wish to remind them that the focus of their efforts and priorities should be towards the wellbeing and development of our national cyclists and the events under their care, like our premier event Le Tour de Langkawi.”

The MNCF has tabled a motion for the UCI Congress in Florence on September 27 that would permit any two national federations to nominate a candidate for the UCI presidency. If approved, the rule change would be back-dated to allow Thailand and Morocco to nominate incumbent UCI president Pat McQuaid.

Mr McQuaid has so far been unable to secure an undisputed nomination. His home federation, Cycling Ireland, initially put him up for the job, but that nomination was quashed on procedural grounds and a vote of Cycling Ireland’s member clubs declined to support him.

The Swiss cycling federation then stepped in to nominate Mr McQuaid, but that nomination is subject to a legal challenge from three members of Swiss Cycling, financially supported by Jaimie Fuller of the clothing company Skins. Mr Fuller, founder of the Change Cycling now group, has been a vocal critic of Mr McQuaid and the UCI’s handling of the Lance Armstrong affair.

Mr McQuaid claims he did not solicit the proposed rule change.

Russian cycling federation president Igor Marakov has threatened to use all possible legal means to overturn the rule change if it gets up, and Mr McQuaid’s rival for the presidency, Brian Cookson of British Cycling, has called it “an attempt to change the rules during the game.”

Khairy acknowledged the debate that has surrounded this UCI presidential election, and reminded the MNCF of its primary role.

“As it is, this is a highly controversial issue, so I would not want to interfere in the political choices of the MNCF, or whoever they wish to support in this elections. They must remember that whatever they do, it has to benefit the development of Malaysian cycling,” he said.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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