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Cookson: Swiss withdrawal of support for McQuaid "of real significance"

British Cycling's UCI presidential candidate also downplays "legal bluster" around the Thai/Moroccan nominations...

British Cycling president Brian Cookson has hailed the decision of Swiss Cycling to withdraw its nomination of his rival in the UCI presidential election next month, Pat McQuaid, as being “of real significance to the Presidential election process.”

Swiss Cycling formally confirmed this morning in a brief statement published on its website that it had withdrawn the nomination.

Cookson said: “It leaves Mr McQuaid in a very difficult position, particularly when viewed alongside his failure to receive a nomination from his own national federation as required under the constitution of the UCI.

“It also places further question marks against his other 'nominations' whose validity is in serious doubt and remain a matter of genuine concern to many in the cycling world.”

McQuaid’s attempt to secure a third term as UCI president now rest on the UCI World Congress voting to adopt a proposed rule change that would allow candidates to be nominated by any two national federations.

Controversially, that rule change would be applied retroactively, if the proposals, made by the Malaysian federation, are adopted in full.

The Thai and Moroccan federations have nominated McQuaid, whose endorsement by Cycling Ireland was rejected at an emergency general meeting in Dublin in May.

Yesterday, it emerged that law firm Baker & McKenzie’s Geneva office had provided a legal opinion to the UCI in which it maintained that the proposed rule change was lawful and did not conflict with the UCI’s constitution.

However, Cookson insists that such manoeuvres undermine the electoral process.

“No attempts at manipulation and legal bluster can take away the doubts and questions,” he explained.

“The important principle in any democracy is that you must respect the rules as they are, not how you'd like them to be.

“My hope remains that we have a democratic process based on the rules of the race when it started rather than those made up half way through.

“For my part I remain focussed on setting out the policies and the vision that I believe is needed for the UCI and the sport of cycling to move forward.

“I am proud of the total support I have from my own federation, British Cycling, and the growing support I am receiving from the international cycling community as this election unfolds,” he concluded.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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