Anto Moran Interview: Cycling Ireland board member speaks about his decision not to back McQuaid
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Anto Moran Interview: Cycling Ireland board member speaks about his decision not to back McQuaid

by Shane Stokes at 6:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
Lone dissenting voice talks about why he differed from Cycling Ireland’s position

Anto MoranWhen Anto Moran became the sole member of Cycling Ireland’s board not to back Pat McQuaid for nomination for his third term as UCI president, he didn’t imagine the response that he would receive.

Since that decision just over a week ago, Moran [pictured right with world scratch champion Martyn Irvine] has been given numerous messages of support. Those who believe that it is time for change in the UCI applauded his stance, a decision which took conviction in that he was going against the grain of a board which gave five yes votes to the current president.

In one day alone this week Moran said that he received approximately 100 messages via SMS and email, both from Ireland and further afield. He was described by Paul Kimmage as being the one board member with the sport’s future at mind, although the others will justify their own positions.

Even out of those in Irish cycling who support McQuaid, Moran said that he has also had some positive feedback.

“People who are pro McQuaid have come up to me and asked me not to resign. So I guess I must have done something right during my time in Cycling Ireland,” he told VeloNation.

Ultimately, Moran decided to go through with his decision to walk away. He was due to finish his term on the board later this year, but was so disillusioned after the decision on Friday April 12th that he felt he couldn’t continue.

He’s clear on his reasons why he feels there should be a new president; he believes that the UCI, and Pat McQuaid, are compromised by their previous dealings with Lance Armstrong, by the governing body’s defending of the Texan against doping allegations in the past, by the UCI’s handling of the USADA investigation and also by the scrapping of the Independent Commission which Pat McQuaid had promised would be allowed fully investigate the governing body.

McQuaid denies any wrongdoing, and said that he is fully committed to becoming president again.

Moran explained why he personally believes this would not be good for the sport. “In global companies governance is key. If something goes wrong in the organisation, then somebody has to be accountable for that,” he stated. “It is usually the leader…they are there to lead. Right now, I think the stakeholders have also lost a lot of confidence in the leadership.

“What I want to say is that I don’t have an axe to grind with the McQuaid family. Some people are jealous of him but I’m not – this is nothing to do with that. I’m just very concerned about some of the things that happened in the past.”

With McQuaid now nominated by Cycling Ireland’s board – which had been said to be divided beforehand over the matter, but which ultimately backed him – the 63 year old will go forward to the UCI elections at its Congress in September and will try to secure his third term as president there.

Thus far no others have said that they will run against him. That’s something that Moran feels is regrettable, saying that even in terms of democracy, that there should be an alternative for people to consider.

“I would like to see a really good, strong candidate coming forward, maybe someone from the strong cycling nations,” he said. “They have to offer some alternative, though - there is no point in the same thing happening all over again. They need to have a really good vision for where pro cycling is going to go.

“In the interests of democracy, someone needs to be opposing him anyway. People need a choice in elections.”

VeloNation: You were the one member of the Cycling Ireland board who voted no to Pat McQuaid’s request for nomination last Friday. On Tuesday Cycling Ireland then announced that you were stepping down from the board. Can you talk about your reasons for doing so?

Anto Moran: It is a culmination of a few things. I said in my resignation letter to the guys that I had fallen out of love with the sport. I don’t ride my bike any more, I don’t coach. I just want to try to get that back. Maybe I took on too much. But I must really admit that I was disappointed on Friday night, I was angry. I hoped that we would vote for change, to vote for the sport, as Kimmage, would say. But the board didn’t, and that is democracy.

VN: So it’s fair to conclude that vote was a big part of you walking away?

AM: It is part of the reason, certainly it is. As I said to Pat McQuaid when I met him in Dublin [note: McQuaid met all the board members in the days prior to the vote, presenting his reasons why he felt they should back him – ed.], I’ve lost confidence in professional cycling. I’ve lost confidence in the UCI, and I’ve consequently lost confidence in Pat running cycling.

Even this week there was more stuff coming out about Armstrong in 1999 [the report that he had tested positive four times for a corticosteroid, not just once – ed.]. I know that Pat wasn’t president at the time but it shows the problem.

I got into cycling in 1985 – ironically it was from watching the Nissan Classic, which Pat organised. I started racing, I got more involved. I started doing coaching and eventually ended up in Cycling Ireland for five years, where I think I have done a good job. For example, I feel I was instrumental in setting up the development programme.

Being on the board is a non-paid position, although I didn’t want pay to do it. It was like second job. I’ll be glad to have more time now, but it is a pity that things ended up this way after so long in the sport.

VN: If the outcome of the vote had been different, would you have stayed on for longer?

AM: My term is up later this year, but yes, I’d have waited until then. And even if the board had called an EGM and the EGM then fully backed McQuaid, I would still be in Cycling Ireland.

VN: What sort of feedback have you been getting?

Anto MoranAM: Unbelievable reactions, to be quite honest. Everything positive. In the race last Sunday [the Stamullen GP – ed.], I was standing by the side of the road. People in the cavalcade were stopping, shaking my hand. Others were coming up to me, saying well done. I’ve been getting emails all the time….today I had approximately 100 messages, between emails and SMS.

I had an email from Betsy Andreu, just complimenting me for the stance I took. There’s been a lot of people thanking me for having integrity. That feedback has been nice.

I would like to add that people who are pro McQuaid have also asked me not to resign. So I guess I must have done something right in my time in Cycling Ireland.

Looking back, I think I was shocked last Friday night by the way that things turned out. Maybe I just thought for a minute that we were going to go another way. When the board voted the way it did, I was very surprised.

VN: What would you personally like to see happen next?

AM: I would like to see a really good, strong candidate coming forward, maybe someone from the strong cycling nations. They have to offer some alternative, though - there is no point in the same thing happening all over again. They need to have a really good vision for where pro cycling is going to go.

In the interests of democracy, someone needs to be opposing him anyway. People need a choice in elections.

If Pat McQuaid goes through and gets elected, so be it. It is up to him to prove people like me wrong and to transform the sport, to bring us towards more credible cycling.

The ball is back in other people’s courts now. In Ireland, if they really want to get an EGM, they can try to do it. If that’s called and if the members vote that they don’t want Cycling Ireland to back Pat McQuaid, my understanding is that vote then becomes a policy of Cycling Ireland.

VN: How do you feel about the general situation about the UCI leadership?

AM: Well, in global companies governance is key. If something goes wrong in the organisation, then somebody has to be accountable for that. It is usually the leader…they are there to lead.

Right now, I think the stakeholders have also lost a lot of confidence in the leadership.

What I want to say is that I don’t have an axe to grind with the McQuaid family. Some people are jealous of him but I’m not – this is nothing to do with that. I’m just very concerned about some of the things that happened in the past. For example, the UCI had information about the 2001 test [that Armstrong’s samples from that year’s Tour de Suisse were suspect], yet they still allowed him to come back early, racing before the six month requirement of out of competition tests was fulfilled.

Pat McQuaid has been saying that he wasn’t there at the time [before 2005 – ed.]. But why is Hein Verbruggen still in the UCI, why is he its honorary president? He should be completely gone from the sport. He shouldn’t be there.

I’ve also got concerns about the Alberto Contador case. After he tested positive, he said that the UCI had told him ‘this is a food contamination issue, Mr Contador,’ in relation to the Clenbuterol in his system. But it is not their place to do that, to tell him what to say - it is up to him to defend himself.

VN: How do you feel about more recent matters?

AM: Well, if you look at the whole relationship between USADA/WADA and the UCI, it asks questions. Both of those agencies want to catch professional cyclists who are doping. The UCI appears to be going against them all the time, so it looks like they don’t want to catch professional cyclists doping.

It seems that every second thing the UCI does opens a can of worms.

I’m also very concerned about the Independent Commission. Everything we were supposed to do in cycling was nailed to that commission. The initial position several months ago from Cycling Ireland was that we would wait for the commission to go ahead, and not make a decision on Pat McQuaid’s nomination until then. But then the commission was scrapped.

VN: Pat McQuaid spoke to board members in the days before the meeting, then gave a talk just before the vote. When referenda are held in Ireland, there are clear rules that each viewpoint must be aired equally. Do you think someone should have spoken to the board about their reasons why its members should not have backed the nomination?

AM: Yes, I think it would have been useful to have somebody presenting the opposite view, It didn’t necessarily have to be Jaimie Fuller [the Change Cycling Now founder who had sought to speak to CI’s board – ed.], just someone to present the facts.

If you don’t have a smoking gun, how do you expect a volunteer on the board to come to an informed conclusion, if Pat McQuaid is the only one to speak to them? That's not balanced.

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