UCI Presidency – Time for Change

UCI President, Pat McQuaid

UCI President, Pat McQuaid – © Simon MacMichael

Today, the UCI votes on its future in a presidential vote. McQuaid should go. He has presided over one of the most controversial eras of cycling in his three terms and has been dogged with accusations of cheating, corruption and bribery pretty much since he started. Even when he was a professional cyclist himself, McQuaid was undermined by cheating and, famously, when he breached the anti-Apartheid rules in world sport at the time by turning up in a professional event in South Africa under a false name. Even today, his nomination for president relies on votes from Thailand and Morocco; even his native Ireland have abandoned him.

I have commented before on the disconnection of the professional game from its grass-roots, which I believe is a greater divide than in almost any other sport. The UCI is a distant body, doing little to promote cycling and operating as a remote gentleman’s club which owes its existence purely to history. It is as relevant to modern cycling as the MCC is to cricket. McQuaid must take responsibility for this. Professional cycling could do itself a favour today and vote for change.

Edit: The UCI has rejected Pat McQuaid and installed Brian Cookson, former head of British Cycling, as president after a somewhat farcical election process. I’m glad to see the change, but I still question the role of the UCI. Time will tell.

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