Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Cycling Chief Faces a Fight to Get Name on Ballot ; National Federations Refuse to Nominate Incumbent for Re-Election

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Cycling Chief Faces a Fight to Get Name on Ballot ; National Federations Refuse to Nominate Incumbent for Re-Election

Article excerpt

Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, has reached out to nations that he has no personal connection with to nominate him for a third term.

Allegations of underhanded dealing, sinister plotting and cheating are nothing new in cycling. For a change, though, the sport is mired in a controversy that has nothing do with doping or racing, at least directly.

Instead, the issue comes from a series of involved steps by Pat McQuaid, the international cycling federation's president, to retain his post through retroactive rule changes. Already a polarizing figure after two terms as president and 15 years in senior positions at the International Cycling Union, which is most widely known by its French abbreviation, U.C.I., McQuaid has baffled and angered prominent members of the cycling community with his latest maneuvers.

Perhaps more surprising is the prospect that McQuaid, who as president since 2005 has led the sport during a period of crisis that undermined the sport's credibility, could still be re-elected despite widespread opposition.

"I don't think we've ever seen such a period of discontent," said Bob Stapleton, a director of USA Cycling and the owner of the now defunct Highroad professional cycling team. "But the crazy structure of the U.C.I. was created over the years to support the incumbent president in power."

That power is being tested as never before. On Sept. 27, during cycling's world championships in Italy, 42 delegates will gather in Florence to elect the federation's next president to a four-year term. McQuaid's greatest struggle, and perhaps a telling indictment of his tenure, has been his difficulty in simply getting onto the ballot.

Under the cycling union's constitution, McQuaid must be nominated by "the federation of the candidate." Traditionally, that has been interpreted to mean the country of the candidate's citizenship, which is Ireland in McQuaid's case.

But in June, Cycling Ireland, the governing body of cycling in Ireland, turned down McQuaid. Now a resident of Switzerland, where the U.C.I. has its headquarters, McQuaid joined that country's federation and initially secured its nomination. But that nomination, too, was revoked last month, after a challenge by some of the Swiss federation's members.

Undeterred, McQuaid announced that he was being nominated by two nations with which he had no clear personal connection: Morocco and Thailand. …

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