August 31 - Pat McQuaid has written to the heads of all 175 member federations of the International Cycling Union (UCI) to "clarify" his position and assure them that he will definitely be standing for a third term as President, even though he claims rival Brian Cookson is trying to engineer "a coronation and not an election".
Swiss Cycling last week followed Cycling Ireland and withdrew their nomination of McQuaid, leaving him to rely on endorsements from Morocco and Thailand, which opponents claim is against the UCI's Constitution.
But McQuaid, UCI President since 2005, has claimed there is no doubt over whether he will be able to stand in the election at the UCI Congress in Florence on September 27.
"I am sure that you have read and observed the many media reports concerning the UCI elections...particularly the stories which relate to the election of the UCI President," McQuaid writes in the letter obtained by insidethegames.
"These news reports have left many within the cycling family questioning what is truly happening where I stand.
"I would like to clarify my own position and, more importantly, to assure you that I will be standing for election for the position of UCI President, despite what you might be reading or hearing."
McQuaid claims Cookson, President of British Cycling, is trying to prevent him from even appearing on the ballot paper, with the help of Jaimie Fuller, founder of the pressure group Change Cycling Now and chairman of clothing manufacturer Skins, who the Irishman claims has "a vested interest in the outcome of the election".
"Events of recent weeks have left me seriously questioning whether Brian and his campaign supporters are trying to avoid an election by putting all their efforts into eliminating me from the race and so refusing Congress a choice between two candidates," writes McQuaid.
"This was particuarly [sic] evident this week when Swiss Cycling, who had nominated me last May, made a last minute decision to withdraw my nomination following a legal challenge to that nomination which was orchestrated and bank-rolled by Australian businessman Jamie Fuller.
"Mr. Fuller, who is the chairman of a global sportswear company, founded the Change Cycling Now pressure group and has a vested interest in the outcome of the election. He has publicly declared his support for Brian Cookson and his campaign.
"Swiss Cycling's last-minute decision came in the face of mounting pressure from Mr. Fuller and his company whose actions threatened to condemn the Swiss Cycling Federation to financial ruin had it proceeded to an abritation [sic] hearing and lost.
"Mr. Fuller was also a prime mover in a sustained campaign to ensure that Cycling Ireland did not maintain my nomination. I do not need to recount all of the events which occured from the time that the board of Cycling Ireland voted to support by nomination.
"Mr. Fuller has made a number of statements to trumpet his success.The first even came almost a full day before Swiss Cycling offfically [sic] announced its decision. He was quoted in one interview as saying:
"You will find tomorrow that Cookson's phone will be ringing off the hook with people telling him: we really want to support you".
"Commenting on the decision by Swiss Cycling he also said: 'Just remember, you not only have to drive the stake through the heart but cut off the head too".
"To me this was a clear reference to his success in ensuring that Cycling Ireland, in the first instance, withdrew my nomination and that Swiss Cycling did likewise.
"For his part, Brian Cookson is threatening an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if the election does not go his way and Congress vote to elect me as President.
"When the question of a possible appeal to CASwas put to him in a recent interview he stated: 'I think we at British Cycling have expended enough on lawyers for the time being but I wouldn't rule anything in or out.'
"It is clear that Brian's wants a coronation and not and election. I am frankly astonished that he is already showing such disrespect for Congress and its right to chose and elect its President. There are others also who are motivated to ensure I do not stand for election and will stop at nothing to achieve their objectives.
"I have respected and adhered to the UCI rules at all times while my opponent and his supporters have been content to mire the election in legal cases and legal argument in an attempt to discredit me and to overthrow me.
"However I wish to assure those who support me that I will continue to defend my right to be a candidate, under the rules. I have worked very hard for our sport this past eight years as UCI President to bring the sport of cycling to new countries around the world so that they too can come to experience all that we love about the sport, and to combat doping.
"My mission now is to complete my strategy to globalise cycling and to ensure that we continue to have a clean sport where riders can race and win clean and where they are never faced with having to make the same choices as past generations. We must never stop moving towards cycling's bright future."
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