In the last 24 hours, a pretty hefty letter has been dropping on the desks of some pretty important people. They may not know it but they could hold the future wellbeing of the sport of Cycling in their hands. The letter is the latest action by SKINS as part of a global movement that wants to give professional and competitive cycling a chance for redemption.
Before it’s too late.
It is part of our campaign to retain the True Spirit Of Competition across ALL sports and in this instance, the letter has gone out to each of the nine board members of the Swiss Cycling Federation urging them to reject any plea from UCI President Pat McQuaid for an endorsement to continue in his current role.
Pat McQuaid is struggling for a nomination. The world is quite rightly against him and even his staunch advocates are running scared, but he still refuses to wake up and smell the coffee. This is why we’re determined to keep the pressure on and make sure the Swiss don’t buckle under political influence.
To run for UCI President you need an endorsement from a National Federation to stand and Pat recently went back to his home nation to seek that support from Cycling Ireland (CI). CI held their meeting in private and Pat made his presentation, along with having met with each member prior individually. They refused to hear an alternative argument from any third party (yours truly included) and seven board members, representing tens of thousands of members, voted on a majority basis to say ‘yes.’ Then, amidst the weight of public pressure and criticism, the decision was reversed and an EGM has now been called to allow the Irish cycling members a proper vote. Pat has tried to pass this off as a ‘technicality’ but those in the know, know better.
Put simply, CI got the wind up ‘em and now I fully expect the Irish members to say; ‘no’. If they do, Pat’s only other option is to seek support from the country of his residency and for the sake of Cycling, we don’t want to see the Swiss Cycling Federation opening what should be a locked door. The UCI needs more transparency and much more accountability. It needs to focus on the duty of care to the riders and create a global strategy of responsibility that will impact positively on regional communities and society in general. It needs to finally get to grips with the anti-doping dilemma, admit the past and work in tandem with the good people at WADA and their partners – not against them. Pat is not the man to deliver that and for the last 22 years he and Hein Verbruggen have continually proven it.
Hence the letter.
We wrote it because a request to meet with the Swiss Federation’s President, Richard Chassot, has been ignored – just as my request was by Irish President, Rory Wyley before their meeting. If the Swiss don’t understand it already, this is a watershed moment. It’s a moment when all personal considerations must be cast aside and if Mr. Chassot won’t allow us to make that point to him in person, then we’re going to make damned sure the message gets through to his board members.
World Cycling does not want Pat McQuaid as its leader and endorsing him would leave the Swiss out of sync with the rest of the world.
Throughout the last eight years, with Cycling reeling from one crisis to another, Pat has led from the front, by doing nothing. In fact the Lance Armstrong affair showed how Pat worked against the anti-doping agencies to bring this awful situation to light. The Swiss Federation represents his last lifeline and for the sake of Cycling and for the sake of the anti-doping fight trying to clean up world sport in general, they cannot afford to facilitate his re-election.
If you’re interested in reading the letter, here’s the link (apologies for it not being live; i’m a Luddite – please copy and paste into browser):