McQuaid on the attack

June 6, 2013

Election season has started but McQuaid remains the same; he may very well be the only person who sees absolutely nothing wrong with saying one thing one day and the absolute opposite the next. In fact, he regularly does it within the same letter or conversation.

It is the perfect debating tactic. His opponents are so bewildered and confused by the conflicting statements that they eventually give up. Compare this to any regular politician. Sure, they lie and twist as well, but they always try to justify it in some way. Circumstances have changed here, I was misunderstood there, that depends on what the definition of the word “is” is. They feel they still need to be believable, so they attempt to thread all their statements together into a plausible story.

McQuaid is long past that stage, he has no intention to justify his contradictions. He’ll say he cherishes the democratic process and welcomes anybody to run against him, until somebody does. Then he switches to secret letters to the national federations slamming his opponent. Other gems from the last week:

McQuaid wants Cookson to explain why he visited Makarov in Moscow. Since they are both on the UCI board, shouldn’t they regularly meet? Maybe McQuaid should also try to meet with his board members every once in a while. If Cookson reveals details about his meeting with Makarov, will McQuaid reveal details about each of the extensive one-on-one meetings he had with Cycling Ireland board members prior to their decision to support his nomination?

McQuaid is worried that Cookson (and indirectly Makarov) would have a conflict of interest if Cookson were to become UCI president. Because both men are also involved in pro teams (Sky and Katusha respectively), they feel those teams may be at an advantage in the license process once Cookson becomes president. Of course, McQuaid will also tell you that as a president, he had absolutely no involvement in the license process, that it was run entirely by the completely independent license committee. So how could a new president influence it? And if such influence is possible, then surely it is already a potential conflict of interest that Cookson and Makarov are UCI board members? Yet the UCI president never spoke out about his board members.

Strange we never hear McQuaid talk about the conflict of interest between the UCI and its race organizing company Global Cycling Promotion. In a small sport like cycling, conflicts of interest may not always be avoidable. The key is that people know when to recuse themselves from the decision-making process. Whether Cookson will be better at it than McQuaid is simply unknown (although with Cookson I am pretty sure he at least knows the word).

Speaking of conflict of interest, McQuaid has been using the UCI press department to send out news about his candidacy. Enough said.

While McQuaid as the new protector of democracy,  transparency and the avoidance of conflicts of interest is laughable without any further explanation, one little encore that reveals all his self-proclaimed strengths to be weaknesses. You may remember that a few years ago, after side-stepping the issue for many years, the UCI was forced to admit they had received money from Lance Armstrong.

  1. How come McQuaid – now an expert on conflict of interest – didn’t see taking money from an athlete they were supposed to monitor as such back then?
  2. How come McQuaid didn’t see it as an even bigger conflict given that recently, he had to admit that Armstrong’s 2001 Tour de Suisse test results were highly suspicious (remember he was forced to defend himself against the allegation Armstrong tested positive at this race, so he claimed the results were not positive but highly suspicious – annoying but nothing they could do about it). Clearly the avoidance of conflicts of interest are not his cup of tea.
  3. He then claimed the money from Armstrong was used for a test machine. To prove it, he would show the receipts to the media. for several years (and several trips by journalists to Aigle) after that promise, no such receipt was shown to the media. So much for transparency.

17 Responses to “McQuaid on the attack”


  1. Phat the rat , now realises that he is in DANGER ! Perhaps nein fordruggen has told him the GAME IS OVER , unless he can recover aLL the lost ground ?

    Will Cycling miss the Aigle tag team duo ? Let’s hope that suitable candidates will come forward , now that people realise that IT IS SAFE to put their Candidature forward ?

    Several blogposts can be found on parrabuddy.blogspot

    Cycling Ireland will in the next week seal phat’s fate , ALL that remains now , is for the Swiss Authorities , to do their job and act on the Info supplied by Paul Kimmage’s Lawyer , LAST NOVEMBER !


  2. […] Gerard Vroomen explains just how odd the letter is as McQuaid questions all sorts of practices that have happened… during his own Presidency. […]

  3. balkou Says:

    Speaking of COI. If I’m not mistaken Pat’s brother is active in race organizing (eg he was at the presentation of Giro in Ireland 2014 event) and his son is a cyclists’ agent, aren’t they?


    • Well, to be fair, you can’t block people from choosing a career because their brother or father may at some point hold a job that could conflict with it. The point would be knowing how to avoid the conflict of interest and when to recuse oneself.


  4. Good read, Gerard, thank you.

    BTW PMQ uses a classic “Chewbacca defense” debating tactic, as coined by South Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewbacca_defense)

    Cheers

  5. djconnel Says:

    Brilliant. However the one question I have about who is financing the Cookson campaign: PR firms like Vero can’t come cheaply.


    • Vero can’t come cheaply, but neither can Burson Marsteller which is on McQuaid’s side. The only difference is. Vero seems to be a small, highly competent outfit whereas Burson Marsteller … well let’s just say I was not impressed the one time I was forced to listen to one of their representatives. I’d say advantage Cookson here, although Burson Marsteller’s bills may very well be bigger.


    • there is a british cycling budget for this, called ‘overseas projects’ or something, i believe its all above board

      • djconnel Says:

        I hope so. Various theories included Katusha and the Kimmage Defense Fund emerging from the void.

  6. Luis Oliveira Says:

    Man, this is sooooo idle. There is one solution for professional cycling: become professional. Or, put another way, there is no professional sport organized by “amateur” entities such as UCI. Let UCI’s president take care of cycling development, BMX, etc. Heck, UCI may even put out the Worlds once every year. But that’s that.

    Perhaps auto racing serves as a good example. Some 20 years ago, car racing association FIA was running the F1 show and its head-honcho Balestre was playing favorites with French pilots. He was eventually ousted, but the teams figure it out much, much earlier by self organizing around a privately owned company. Simple. Clear.


    • While professionalization is key, there are a few issues. First off, F1 is anything but simple and the teams haven’t figured out anything since they don’t own any part of F1 and constantly fight with F1 about their share of the pie. Secondly, the problem of cycling is not one of professionally run teams fighting against an amateur federation; it’s that of mostly amateur teams fighting an amateur federation.

      • Luis Oliveira Says:

        As simple and clear as these thing get, Gerard. It’s about the money and the show (with some pretense of sportsmanship.) Fighting for shares of the pie is also called doing business.

        But we do agree that teams supported by sugar daddies are not models of professionalism.


        • That’s if you’re view of Cycling is entirely blinkered by the World Tour. Cycling as a sport is almost entirely amateur. F1 does not have any control over the lower classes and is concerned only with F1. UCI is there to represent Cycling as a whole.

        • Luis Oliveira Says:

          EXACTLY! Most (if not all) bitching about UCI comes form its handling of the pro tour. Apparently (and I REALLY don’t know), the amateur portion is doing ok. Let the pros take care of the pro portion, that’s what I’m saying.

  7. Rp Says:

    Greg Lemond said it best when he told Phat Pat to … well you know what he said.
    Keep up the good work Gerard, we need someone to lead cycling, not bleed it for all it is worth.

  8. Bikehound Says:

    I’m impressed by your willingness to speak out Gerard when others in the industry will just follow the status quo for an easy ride and not upset the applecart.

    I’m intrigued that McQuaid will try to smear Cookson by mentioning his trips to Russia when there seems to be plenty of chatter around Pat’s trips to Kazakhstan and *those* photos that keep being hinted at.

    One simple way around this mess for the longer term… limit incumbents to two presidential terms MAX – 8 years and you’re out.


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