Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Cookson asks for investigation ahead of UCI vote
LONDON -- British cycling president Brian Cookson asked for a quick investigation on Tuesday following the latest string of allegations of corruption targeting UCI boss Pat McQuaid.
Cookson, who is challenging McQuaid in an intense contest, said he hopes any truth can be revealed before the UCI congress, which will elect the world governing body's next president on Sept. 27.
A document anonymously leaked to Velonews.com accused McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen again of corruption and collusion with Lance Armstrong.
The summary document also alleged the UCI tried to cover up a failed doping test by Spanish rider Alberto Contador in 2010 in exchange for money. Contador tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour.
"These allegations, which appear to be similar to those made to the UCI management committee in June, are clearly very serious," Cookson said. "For the good of the UCI and cycling, they should be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the relevant authorities."
According to the document, which sums up a 54-page dossier, most of the report's findings are based on testimonial evidence.
McQuaid, whose candidacy's legitimacy is being challenged by several national governing bodies, denied any wrongdoing.
"The claims in this so-called dossier are a complete fabrication," he said in a statement. "They are totally untrue and are not supported by a scintilla of evidence. This is a scurrilous and libelous attack on my character, with a political agenda that is both nakedly transparent and totally contemptible -- and unfortunately one that is completely in character with the tactics of my opponents."
In a separate letter sent to the presidents of national federations, McQuaid accused Mike Plant -- the U.S. delegate on the UCI board -- and Russian cycling president Igor Makarov of leaking the document to the press.
"Both of them have trumpeted their support for Brian Cookson in this presidential election," he wrote. "That is entirely their prerogative, but this sort of despicable behavior is not."
McQuaid added that the UCI's ethics commission already tried to investigate the matter but came up against Plant's and Makarov's refusal to hand over the dossier.
"That fact alone speaks volumes," said McQuaid, who also accused the Cookson camp of using "gangster politics" in their bid to derail his campaign for re-election.
"If Brian Cookson does not now condemn these tactics utterly, then we can only assume that he supports them -- and we will all have a graphic preview of how the UCI will be run for the coming four years under his leadership and with his henchmen," he said.
Plant told VeloNews that the points in the leaked summary were the same ones he stressed when he delivered the full dossier on McQuaid's and Verbruggen's activities to the UCI management committee at a meeting in Norway last June.
On Sunday, Plant wrote a letter to McQuaid and UCI director general Christophe Hubschmid asking that they let the Court of Arbitration for Sport decide whether McQuaid can stand for re-election.
McQuaid claims he has valid nominations from governing bodies in Thailand and Morocco, where he is a member, even though his home federations in Ireland and Switzerland withdrew their support.
Plant's letter was written in response to the UCI's executive board unanimously voting to reject an American-led request to allow to CAS decide whether McQuaid's nominations are valid.
McQuaid's credibility has been damaged by the demise of Armstrong, who has admitted to doping en route to his seven Tour de France titles. Cookson is enjoying the full support of several national federations and is backed by high-profile anti-doping figures like David Millar and Jonathan Vaughters.