UCI election intrigue to end in Florence

Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:57pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - It is fitting that the International Cycling Union (UCI) presidential election on Friday is being held in the Italian city of Florence, theatre of so many political intrigues.

Incumbent Pat McQuaid, who hopes to secure a third term, and his challenger Brian Cookson have been trading bitter blows for months, accusing each other of bending the rules as cycling still reels from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Irishman McQuaid, who was first elected in 2005, is seeking another four-year term to, he says, get rid of the doping culture in the sport.

Cookson, the British Cycling president backed by Russian oligarch and Katusha team owner Igor Makarov, has promised to change the way the sport is governed, with notably the creation of an independent anti-doping authority.

"The riders are the last ones to be asked. We're just pawns in their games," said Briton Bradley Wiggins when asked about Friday's election.

The 2012 Tour de France champion, however, believes Cookson "is already in".

Not quite.

The election will be decided in a vote by 42 delegates at the UCI Congress at Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.   Continued...

Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) President Pat McQuaid speaks to reporters as he leaves a procedural hearing in London January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett