McQuaid’s Poison Pill Strategy

Yesterday saw the news that the UCI will vote on a special amendment to its constitution at its annual congress in September. The proposal allows presidential candidates to secure nominations from around the world and extends the deadline for nomination from late June to the end of August.

It’s hard not to see this as a bold move to ensure Pat McQuaid secures a nomination after he lost out in Ireland and his Swiss nomination faces a legal challenge. If the idea to broaden the nomination process is worthy, the backdated element looks like a rearguard move to save Pat McQuaid, as if the rules are being changed to suit an individual rather than the UCI.

But as tragic as the proposal appears, its chances of being adopted look slim. In fact it could all backfire and undermine the UCI’s reputation.

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McQuaid: “I don’t know exactly where we are”

I don’t know exactly where we are with cases but having said that there was a discussion that did take place in this building about a number of athletes that are being studied because of their parameter data by the experts because we think that there should be cases opened against them. We have to wait for the process to happen and I can’t tell when or if that will happen, the decision hasn’t been made yet. I can’t say if it’s one, two or three athletes. It’s all at a late process but I don’t know exactly where. It could be weeks or days.

That’s UCI President Pat McQuaid speaking to What is going on?

We have the President who does not know “where we are with cases” but confident enough to brief the media that “cases should be opened“, to say he believes some riders have been doping. Then we hear that we have to “wait for the process to happen” and he doesn’t know if this will go ahead.

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What next?

Tour of Poland
That empty feeling

Cycling cannot simply be one race in July. The Tour de France must be one episode in the middle of a saga.

So says Christian Prudhomme, organiser of the Tour de France. You’d half expect him to say this given ASO runs the Tour de France but it runs many other races from the Tour of Qatar in February to the Vuelta a Espana in September, where it recently bought a controlling stake in the organisation. Not to mention the likes of Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

But Prudhomme is right. If the Tour de France is the biggest and, arguably, the best race of the year then there’s plenty more to look forward to this year. This Saturday sees the Classica San Sebastian, a great one day race in the Basque country, the heartland of Spanish cycling. Sunday sees the start of the Tour of Poland, not exactly a rival to the Tour de France but one with World Tour points at stake and some hilly finishes in the Tatra mountains later in the week. There are also the post-tour criteriums, a series of lucrative exhibition races about which I’ll write more soon.

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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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The UCI shoots itself in the foot (again)

The Swiss voted recently on a referendum for tighter gun controls. They rejected the proposal. The small Alpine state has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, a figure especially high for Europe. I can’t help wonder if a ready supply of firearms explains why the UCI is limping. The Swiss-based governing … Read more

Save the UCI

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” Il Gattopardo, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa It’s open season on the UCI. I’ve been following the sport for some time and frustration from all sides with the performance of cycling’s governing body is common. Riders see their jobs and health at … Read more

How the UCI bike rules should work

I covered the subject of the new UCI bike rules on Monday. To summarise, new rules are coming that require anyone racing to have a frame that has been approved for use by the UCI. The manufacturer has to submit their wares to Switzerland for approval. Anyone in a UCI-sanctioned road race, from the Tour … Read more

McQuaid strikes again!

If it’s fashionable to dismiss Pat McQuaid outright in some circles, I think the story is more nuanced. With his background in race organisation, especially the Tour of Langkawi, the UCI President brings experience to open up the sport around the world, something that might not have happened if, say, a Frenchman or Belgian was … Read more

UCI World Tour – another fail?

Only a few days ago I was singing the praises of the UCI World Tour as an idea that had its merits given the way the ProTour flopped. For me the biggest attraction of the new World Tour is a calendar finally including all the big races like the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Paris-Roubaix … Read more

McQuaid Blunders Again

“You need to clean up your act” UCI President Pat McQuaid can be a soft target. It’s too easy to pin all the sport’s problems on him, if anything it credits him with a power, reach and ability that he simply doesn’t have. But speaking to Reuters, he seems to have blundered again: “Fifty percent … Read more