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Pat McQuaid's status as the favourite to take over from Hein Verbruggen as President of the UCI faces a challenge from two new candidates, it has been revealed in the French media.
Verbruggen's successor will be chosen in Madrid at the end of September and Irishman McQuaid, head of the UCI's road racing committee, has long been seen as the obvious choice to take over the presidency.
But in the past three weeks, two new candidates have emerged: Gregorio Moreno, organiser of the Tour of Burgos and head of the association of Spanish race organisers, and Dato Seri G Darsan Singh, a Malay, and former president of the Asiatic Confederation.
According to L'Equipe, these new candidatures have provoked President Verbruggen's wrath, but both Moreno and Singh have become vociferous critics of the presidential selection procedures. "We have never been listened to," said Moreno of the current president.
Singh, meanwhile, has claimed that McQuaid has flown in the face of the UCI's electoral regulations, by already establishing a salaried role within the direction of the organisation. According to the Malaysian, McQuaid has already moved his family home to Switzerland, with costs paid by the UCI, and is also receiving a monthly fee from the federation.
"I want to see more transparency," said Singh. "I have received a letter from Mr Verbruggen confirming that Pat McQuaid has received funds to make it possible for him to familiarise himself with the work of the presidency of the UCI and that this has been validated by the director of the UCI committee. This is not true."
McQuaid has responded saying "I have always respected the regulations - my candidacy is legal and will be sustained through to September," but it is current president Verbruggen who has given the most biting response.
Verbruggen, currently in Beijing assisting with preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games, accused Singh of being a "great liar".
"Since everybody supported Pat McQuaid's candidature, I suggested that he moved closer to us to familiarise himself with the role and the UCI committee agreed. I even announced this at the last congress.
"We're not financing an electoral campaign," countered Verbruggen. "I am happy with my conscience and Pat McQuaid can also feel the same, even more so. There is no scandal."
And Verbruggen was scathing about the candidature of McQuaid's rivals. "Moreno's candidature is being pushed along by the organisers of the Grand Tours. I've nothing against him, but he didn't have the courtesy to tell me that he would be a candidate."
So what about Darsan Singh? "He has no chance of being elected. All of the committee is behind Pat McQuaid. He's not Verbruggen's stooge and I think that he will easily be elected president of the UCI."
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