Anthony Moran, who resigned from the board of Cycling Ireland over its attempt to nominate Pat McQuaid for a third term as president of cycling's global governing body, has warned the sport will be "lost" should no candidate be found to oppose McQuaid's re-election in September.
McQuaid has been forced to seek nomination from Swiss Cycling, his country of residence, after Irish Cycling decided to reconsider backing their countryman. Moran, Cycling Ireland's vice-president, stepped down in protest after the initial decision to nominate McQuaid by the board. It will now be determined by a vote of the entire membership at an emergency general meeting in Dublin next month.
Instead McQuaid himself approached Swiss Cycling, who revealed their support, and accused the Irish process of being "politicised by a small group of people." It is a claim dismissed by Moran, who suggests there is evidence that more than 90 per cent of the Irish membership oppose McQuaid's nomination. McQuaid though remains the only declared candidate for the presidency despite wide-spread criticism of his stewardship during the Lance Armstrong scandal.
"I think Usada [the US anti-doping agency report into Armstrong] and Wada [the World anti-doping agency] politicised it for the good of the sport," said Moran, who was on the board of Cycling Ireland for four years. "If nobody stands the cycling world is sending a message which is very damaging for the sport. We have had scandal after scandal and after Usada still nobody can step up and give assurances that they will move it forward on all levels. If nobody stands against him cycling is lost."
McQuaid has held office since 2006, when he succeeded Hein Verbruggen, who was president in the Armstrong era. Verbruggen remains honorary president.
The presidential election takes place during the road world championships in Florence in September. A number of potential opponents have been identified, including former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling. Cookson has denied he will stand and as yet no-one has made a commitment to run against McQuaid.