McQuaid gets UCI nod

The UCI has a new man at the helm, following Pat McQuaid's election in Madrid on Friday morning. McQ

The UCI has a new man at the helm, following Pat McQuaid’s election in Madrid on Friday morning. McQ

PIC BY TIM DE WAELE MADRID – As had been widely forecast, Pat McQuaid was elected as the new president of the UCI by a clear margin in Madrid on Friday. McQuaid takes over from Hein Verbruggen, who had held the position since 1991 and who had publicly backed McQuaid to be his successor. The Irishman prevailed over his only rival for the position, Spain’s Gregorio Moreno, by a margin of 31 votes to 11. Darsan Singh Gill of Malaysia and Verbruggen, both of whom had been nominated to stand, both withdrew their candidature before the election on Friday morning. “It’s a wonderful moment for me,” commented McQuaid after the result of the election was announced. “I want to thank the voters who voted for me and also my family that is here.” “My shoulders have just become very heavy”, the Irishman was later heard to confide, his thoughts probably already cast ahead to the UCI’s ongoing battle with the organisers of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana over the ProTour. McQuaid is indeed a man under pressure even before he begins his four-year mandate. Nine formal complaints have been lodged with sporting or civil authorities against the UCI this summer, the majority of which concern McQuaid’s alleged acceptance of a salary from the UCI. Happily for McQuaid and his bosses, the IOC ethics commission earlier this week rejected complaints about this matter presented by ex-German Cycling Federation president Sylvia Schenk, Darshan Singh, and the Spanish Cycling Federation. The IOC commission announced that “the plaintiffs have not brought forward the proof that the UCI and its President have violated fundamental ethics principles as prescribed in the Olympic Charter.” If McQuaid could afford himself another celebratory drink in Madrid tonight, he gave the grand tour bosses at war with the UCI at least one reason to welcome his appointment : “I am a little bit different to Hein, and the Irish are a little different from the Dutch” he said. “Maybe in future, some of the negotiations might take place in the bar. It might help things along.”