Cookson responds to McQuaid’s veiled threat that cycling could be dropped from Olympics if he is not re-elected
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Cookson responds to McQuaid’s veiled threat that cycling could be dropped from Olympics if he is not re-elected

by Shane Stokes at 8:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Says claim sport could go is ‘poor quality scaremongering’

Brian CooksonPat McQuaid’s rival for the position of UCI president, Brian Cookson, has responded to the Irishman’s recent intimation that if he is voted out, that cycling could lose its place in the Olympic Games.

Cookson has described the claim as ‘scaremongering’ and said that the biggest threat to the sport is a lack of trust and credibility, not a change in leadership. In fact, he argues that a change would make the sport’s ongoing presence in the Games as more rather than less likely.

McQuaid’s suggestion of a threat to the sport's place was made as part of his manifesto, which was announced four days ago.

“It is of vital importance that the UCI President is an IOC member. There have been some calls in recent years for cycling to be dropped from the Olympic programme,” McQuaid wrote in his document. “I have always stood up for cycling in the face of such proposals. My position as an IOC Member has been an asset for cycling and my influence and good standing within the IOC has protected cycling’s reputation and safeguarded its place as one of the core sports at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

“I will be clear in stating that the UCI will lose its IOC member and my voice and influence within the IOC if I am not re-elected. This is a reality and taking the IOC’s selection protocols into account, it is almost certain that it will be many years in the future before a UCI President is once again selected as an IOC member.”

The excerpt from the manifesto seems clear in what it is saying: a vote for Cookson, and therefore against McQuaid, could pose a threat to the sport.

Cookson has now responded by rubbishing that insinuated claim. “The Games have done a lot for cycling and we must never take the sport's ongoing inclusion for granted. However, to suggest - as Pat McQuaid did this week in his manifesto - that without him, cycling is at risk of losing its status as a key Olympic sport is poor quality scaremongering,” he wrote in his online blog.

“Cycling has been a feature of the modern Games since 1896 but simply maintaining its inclusion ought to be regarded as the lowest bar for a UCI President to clear, not a matter for celebration.”

Cookson has been clear in his assertion that McQuaid has not done enough during his time at the top of the UCI. Indeed, he believes that the unanswered questions about the UCI and Lance Armstrong mean that McQuaid has a question mark over him that has never been resolved.

He feels that this plus the various doping scandals in recent years are two reasons why change is needed.

“If we're honest, we all know what has been holding cycling back; it is the fundamental issue of trust and the credibility of the sport, particularly the road disciplines,” he wrote. “I don't believe that we can restore people's trust in the sport without a radical change in the way the UCI operates and for that we need a change of leadership.

“Restore people's trust in what we do and the sport's influence will grow - both within the Olympic Movement and the wider international sporting family.”

The UCI presidential elections will take place during the week of the world road race championships at the end of September.

Cookson and McQuaid are the sole candidates for the position.


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