Cycling Ireland members debate McQuaid presidency
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Cycling Ireland members debate McQuaid presidency

by Shane Stokes at 5:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Federation doctor calls for vote of no confidence in Irishman

Pat McQuaidActing independently of his role as the medical officer of Cycling Ireland, Dr. Conor McGrane has queried Pat McQuaid’s running of the UCI and is looking into the possiblity of calling an EGM to debate the issue.

McGrane, a rider with the Swords cycling club, was one of several speakers on the topic which took place at the end of CI’s AGM in Clonmel on Saturday. A motion calling for a vote on McQuaid’s governance of the sport was unable to be held there as the motion was submitted outside the timeframe for consideration, but CI permitted McGrane and others to speak as part of an informal discussion on the matter.

Opinions were split as regards criticism and defence of McQuaid, who became UCI president in 2005, was re-elected four years later and will face re-election next September.

McGrane has been vocal in his concerns about McQuaid’s running of the UCI, highlighting the Lance Armstrong case and its investigation, plus several other issues.

“I was there as a Swords cycling club delegate but speaking on my own behalf,” McGrane explained to VeloNation. “I strongly think we need a change at the top of the UCI. It is not a personal vendetta against Pat McQuaid, it is more a expression of dissatisfaction with the way the UCI has dealt with the whole doping issue over the past twenty years.”

Asked to explain the issues that are concerning him, he elaborated on the various points. “My dissatisfaction as a doctor is the health risks that riders are being put under due to the lack of the containing and control over doping, and the effective legalisation with the haematocrit rule in the 90s,” he said.

“Also, the conflict of interest being brought on by the accepting of money from Lance Armstrong, plus the exemption shown to him from the six month out of competition testing when he returned in 2009. When you have such a high profile rider with suspicions over him being exempted from those regulations, it doesn’t send a great signal down to the rest of the sport.”

While a vote did not take place on Saturday, McGrane and others are looking into calling an EGM at some point in the future. If a sufficient number of clubs get on board, he wants the issue to be debated properly at such a meeting and then a vote to be held.

McGrane and others have argued that, given the criticism of the UCI and the issues the USADA investigation has brought up, that it is important that Irish clubs communicate their feelings in advance of next year’s elections.

“There has been a suggestion that Pat McQuaid might seek nomination from the Swiss federation as he is a resident there,” he told VeloNation. “However he was definitely nominated by the Irish federation last time.

“To be able to run for president, he just needs to be nominated by any federation,” he continued, agreeing that a negative vote would be a symbolic gesture rather than something which would block the Irishman altogether. “However if the Irish federation refused no nominate him or were instructed not to [by the members], it would be a very strong symbolic gesture and an indication of no confidence.”

Other speakers at the AGM were more complimentary of McQuaid, with some estimates putting the split between the two lines of thought at approximately 50-50. One of those who spoke in favour of the former pro was race organiser Gabriel Howard, who said that Irish clubs should back the current president rather than seek to bring him down.

It ensures that if an EGM does indeed go ahead, that there will be lively debate on the subject. For McGrane, this is the most important thing. “Whatever the outcome, we are at such a crucial point for cycling that I think it is important that there is a real discussion.”

The UCI has said that it will agree to an independent review of the Armstrong/USPS situation and its handling of it, although the composition of those who will conduct it has not been determined. It provided a timeframe on October 26th and under it, news is due in the coming days.

“In the week of 5 November 2012…the Management Committee will announce which independent sports body will nominate the members of the Commission and, with the UCI Management Committee, agree appropriate terms of reference,” it stated.

It is not yet known who the independent sporting body will be. WADA director general David Howman told VeloNation recently that WADA would like to be involved if the UCI was in agreement with this.

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