UCI president Patrick McQuaid, the head man in charge of the entire sport of professional cycling, is running out of road and real estate.
In his increasingly desperate and last ditched attempts to stand for re-election against rival Brian Cookson, McQuaid has tried everything he can think of to save his bid.
First, he gained and then lost the approval of his home federation, Irish Cycling. A procedural snafu caught him out and on the second round the vote was opened up to all the cycling clubs. McQuaid crashed harder than Jens Voigt on the Col du Petit St Bernard in the 2009 Tour.
When your countrymen give you the thumbs down, most people with any dignity will slink out of sight until the embarrassment wears off but McQuaid pressed on.
Yes, on to Switzerland, the headquarters of the UCI, and where McQuaid has resided for a number of years. Insisting he didn’t need Ireland — and that it wasn’t against UCI rules — he claimed to have the approval of the Swiss Cycling Federation.
Not to fast, however. Several members disagreed and then Jamie Fuller, head marketing guy at compression wear company SKINS, promised to bankroll a full legal challenge to McQuaid’s Swiss Plan B.
That legal battle has yet to play out but with the election date set for September 27th, McQuaid began searching for another solution. Most people who’d been turned down by their home country and facing a hotly contested second attempt, would slink away out of embarrassment, but not Pat McQuaid.
Then came the extraordinary news from McQuaid that he had the support and approval of the cycling federations in Malaysia, Moroccan and Thailand. Not only that, his good friends in Malaysia had decided that with just two months to go before the election, the rule on federation approval of candidates needed amending.
Not just amending, but also much more critically, back-dating. Given the outrage from everyone in the world of cycling in Europe and North America, it seems highly unlikely that the proposed measure would pass. The amendment requires a 2/3rd’s majority and by anyone’s calculations, McQuaid loses that vote.
Still, McQuaid battles on despite the derision, laughter, outrage, lack of ethics, and damage to the sport he claims to represent so well.
It’s simply a measure of how desperate and craven and bizarre McQuaid has become in his final months in power. Finally, to the great relief of all the stakeholders in a sport. Patrick McQuaid has run out of road.
He has reached a dead end and the game is up.