July 29/10 12:52 pm - Exclusive Interview: Pat McQuaid, UCI President (Part 1)
Posted by Editoress on 07/29/10
One day after the Mountain Bike World Cup in Champéry, Switzerland, I drove up to Aigle, home to the headquarters of the UCI - the international governing body for the sport of cycling. The UCI, for those who did not know, is the body that sets the rules for bike racing, the international calendars, coordinates the biological passport program and anti-doping standards with WADA, and works with the IOC on cycling in the Olympics.
Pat McQuaid has been the President of the UCI since 2005, when he took over from Hein Verbruggen. I have known Pat for many years, since he was involved with the Tour de Langkawi (Malaysia) as an event manager. His involvement in cycling extends back generations, with both his father and uncle racing through the 1940s and '50s.
Pat himself was a rider for Ireland in the '60s and '70s, with a couple of years in the pro ranks, and studied physical education at university. After teaching, he moved into coaching with the Irish national team, including managing the Irish team for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
He subsequently moved into race organization, including the Nissan Classic, and was involved in bringing the Tour de France to Ireland in 1998. He spent a stint as the President of the Irish cycling federation, and in 1997 went from there to the UCI Board, where he was appointed President of the Road Commission. McQuaid remained head of the Road Commission until being elected President of the UCI in 2005.
"It's not something that I set out to do," explained McQuaid, "it's more of a path, a journey I went along, which ended up as president of the UCI. I think part of the reason I was elected was because of my varied background within the sport, which has certainly helped me in my role."
Our lengthy interview has been broken into five parts:
1. The status of the sport 2. Cycling and the Olympics 3. The evolving regulations on equipment 4. Restrictions on team entries in non-European ProTour races 5. Date conflicts with events such as Commonwealth Games, and plans for the coming 5 years