PAT MCQUAID HAS launched his manifesto for re-election for a third term as head of the International Cycling Union (UCI), saying he was the strong man needed to defend the sport.
But the Irishman also slammed what he dubbed a “contemptible smear campaign” against him in the run-up to the election between him and British Cycling president Brian Cookson.
“The congress has to make a decision as to what type of president it wants,” McQuaid told AFP.
“I have been a strong president for the past eight years.
“The congress knows that I am the type of president who will stand up and defend the sport rigidly and strongly if I had to defend it were it to be attacked unfairly and strongly. It happens in cycling a lot.”
McQuaid added: “I do think there is a certain movement out there against me, which doesn’t want me to be the president of the UCI for their own political reasons, or for their own personal reasons.
I would like this to be a campaign based on two individuals with their programmes for the future, but there are others involved who seem to have a different agenda.
“I have seen evidence of a smear campaign which has developed against me which I think is unfair and contemptible.”
McQuaid’s manifesto for re-election, called “A Bright Future for a Changed Sport”, is based on a “new culture and era of clean cycling” in the wake of the highly damaging Lance Armstrong doping affair.
“Cycling has changed since I was first elected as UCI president in 2005,” he said. “It is now a global sport. It is now possible to race and win clean. We have travelled a great distance together and we must never turn back from cycling’s bright future.
“My mission now is to preserve the changed culture within the peloton and team entourage. I have introduced the most sophisticated and effective anti-doping infrastructure in world sport to cycling. Our sport is leading the way and I am proud that other sports are following in its footsteps.”