Cookson’s 100 Days

It might be round number from the decimal system but over the years various political administrations and managerial careers have been reviewed after just 100 days. In this spirit it was 100 days ago that Brian Cookson rode the train from Florence to Aigle to start work as UCI President. What’s happened and what’s next?

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One Year On from the USADA Verdict

One year ago the UCI gave its response to USADA’s reasoned decision and the ban imposed on Lance Armstrong. The media was convened to a hotel in Switzerland where Pat McQuaid announced the UCI accepted USADA’s verdict and it would ban Armstrong and strip him of almost all his results.

For a moment it prised open the UCI and its decision-making process but in the weeks and months that followed the UCI seemed to regress back towards obstruction and bizarre press releases. What’s happened since?

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Debating Ideas, Not People

There’s a lot of focus on the likely re-election of Pat McQuaid for a third term as the UCI President. Rightly so because the job is an important one, both in terms of the political power but also the symbolism of being the boss of competitive cycling.

But I can’t help thinking there’s too much talk about the man and not enough about the job and the organisation itself.

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How to Replace Pat McQuaid

UCI Pat McQuaid

Recently the appearance UCI President Pat McQuaid at a race has coincided with boos from the crowd. Perhaps it could be said the Dutch fans last Sunday were slightly annoyed at a Belgian victory and were taunting Gilbert. But this can’t explain the noise when McQuaid appeared at the Olympics.

Sadly Pat McQuaid has not got a great reputation. Some of it’s bad PR but there are some fundamental concerns too. Take your pick from the chaos in the sport, murky dealings, bizarre public statements and much more and, rightly or wrongly, the President takes the heat.

Not many are making the case for the defence, least of all the UCI. For what it’s worth, I tend to think McQuaid’s got a mixed record. Let’s not forget he’s overseen the introduction of the toughest anti-doping rules, that the sport is spreading around the world too. Although before you leap the comments, yes the anti-doping techniques had to be introduced because cycling has resembled Lord of the Flies on wheels. And if globalisation of cycling is great, the way the UCI is handling it raises a lot of questions yet we can’t get answers. But there’s a lot of behind the scenes activity where his chatty ways can work wonders.

But if you wanted to replace the UCI President how do you do it? What’s the mechanism and who’s involved? People often ask so here’s the explainer.

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Paul Kimmage Defence Fund Passes $20,000

Covering the malfunctions of cycling’s governing body is like riding into a headwind. It is tiring, progress is slow and sometimes you’d much rather turn around and go the other way. But the story of the UCI suing Paul Kimmage matters because it’s becoming more than a legal dispute.

With the right defence – aided by new revelations in print – it is possible Kimmage could win case. But sadly the UCI is fast-approaching a point where it will lose no matter what the court verdict is because the case looks selective and vindictive. But there’s still time to fix this.

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Lance Armstrong’s Lawsuit Dismissed

Judge Sam Sparks

Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit has been dismissed by a judge in Texas. The case saw Lance Armstrong challenge the US Anti-Doping Agency, claiming they could not have jurisdiction over him and therefore any case against him was invalid.

Judge Sam Sparks ruled that whilst USADA’s charging letter was “woefully inadequate”, there was sufficient grounds to expect a just arbitration hearing given the arbitration panel would follow a due process and besides, Armstrong can always appeal there verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

I don’t want to give a running commentary of this case as it’s seemingly never-ending saga. But today is the equivalent of a mountain stage in the stage race that is the USADA investigation and so it’s worth checking the standings.

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The UCI vs. President McQuaid

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation into doping practices at the US Postal cycling team continues. Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, originally said it was a matter for USADA but since changed its mind and tried to take control of the matter, sending USADA a poorly-drafted letter. USADA replied, denying the UCI and in fact upping the stakes with requests for more documentation, creating a stand-off.

Now the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has backed USADA and gone public with criticism of the UCI, stating, amongst other things that “the UCI had misinterpreted its own rules“.

Something has gone very wrong at the top of the UCI.

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UCI President Mistaken Over USADA Case

I’ve read what they’ve said but as they’re not licence holders so I don’t know how they can ban them or what they can be banned for

From the UCI’s point of view we can’t see how these guys can be sanctioned for life,” said McQuaid. “They are not UCI licence holders, so under what grounds can they be sanctioned?

Those are the words of the Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s governing body, the UCI. The first quote is after speaking to, the second is after speaking to Velonews. He was commenting today on the lifetime ban issued by the US Anti-Doping Agency to Luis Garcia del Moral, Michele Ferrari and Jose “Pepe” Martí, all three staff or helpers of the US Postal Cycling team.

Only President McQuaid needs to check the UCI rulebook . The anti-doping code applies to all licence holders, that is obvious. But Article 18 says it applies to all team staff as well, even if they have no team licence. So there are good grounds for the UCI to apply USADA’s ban worldwide.

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Is the UCI threatening team sponsors?

Pat McQuaid gun

The UCI is traditionally the governing body of the cycle sport but, via a subsidiary called Global Cycling Promotions, is now also staging the Tour of Beijing, making it not merely a governing body that sits above the sport but also a player on the ground with its own business interests.

This conflict of interest has worried some for a while. But now there could be evidence of the extraordinary steps the UCI is taking in order to further its commercial activities.

The Velocast has obtained a copy of the letter that appears to be sent from UCI President Pat McQuaid directly to team sponsors:

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UCI to ban doped directors?

McQuaid Valverde
Prizes, yes. Management role, maybe not

I was alerted by a reader this morning to the BBC’s two-part look at doping in cycling. The second part features a brief interview with UCI President Pat McQuaid where he mentions the prospect of banning riders involved in doping scandals from working in the sport. Here’s a snapshot:

“I’m not happy there are team managers who have been doping as athletes themselves… …Any cyclist who is involved in a doping infraction in their career cannot come back into management of a team in the future”

This is an idea that McQuaid will present to colleagues at the next Management Committee meeting in June, the UCI’s high-level decision making forum. It would mark a big change. But would it work?

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