Cycling chief McQuaid slams ‘smear campaign’

Pat McQuaid on Monday launched his manifesto for re-election for a third term as head of the Swiss-based International Cycling Union (UCI), saying he was the strongman needed to defend the sport.

Cycling chief McQuaid slams 'smear campaign'
Patrick McQuaid: seeks re-election as cycling "strongman". Photo:Pierre Andrieu/AFP

But he 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 Irishman said.

"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," he said.

"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," McQuaid said.

"It is now possible to race and win clean," he said.

"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."

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VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

But 2021 will not be an easy year to buy a bike in many European countries, especially if you have a particular model in mind. 

Firstly, there's been a huge surge in demand for bikes during the pandemic, as Europeans looked for ways to stay fit and move around more freely without having to worry about being exposed to Covid-19 on public transport.

On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.


In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.