Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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An Open Letter to Mr. Pat McQuaid


Pat McQuaid
UCI President Pat McQuaid has threatened legal action in the past against those who bring cycling into disrepute.

Dear Mr. Pat McQuaid, I’m so glad you’ve decided on VinoKolGate that:

“Yes, there are rules about that.

“It is clear, if there is evidence, there could be penalties after an investigation on our part.”

I’m sure that you’re aware that there have been arrests in the UK for the hacking of mobile phones and email accounts, and that there’s not a court in Europe which would accept evidence obtained by hacking, but I realise that these are mere bagatelles to the might of the UCI and those Eastern riders have to be sorted out.

Anyway, back to my personal situation; in 1973 I was a junior racing cyclist with the Kirkcaldy and District Cycling Club in Scotland.

I had the club’s junior time trial championship in the bag with a 1:02 for a 25 mile TT and a 2:12 for a ’50.’

But I had bigger dreams; I wanted the club junior road race title, too.

Since I was the only junior competing with the club for both titles, I had calculated that I had a good chance of pulling of this historic ‘double.’

But a storm cloud appeared to cast a shadow on my dream, in the shape of a ‘comeback’ by club and school mate, Rab Spiers.

Rab had been a schoolboy protégé, winning medals in the Scottish schoolboy road race championships and Scottish hill climb championships.

But the pleasures of the flesh and his academic future had gone to the top of Rab’s priorities list.

I had no such clash of interests, being fat and untrendy — much the same as now — and boys from Cross Street didn’t go to college.

But Rab had designs on a share of glory at the club’s dinner and dance — and this is where it would be best if you start taking notes on your legal pad — he approached me and proposed a deal.

He would ‘allow’ me to win the club junior time trial championship, on condition that I allowed him to win the club junior road race championship.

Naive though I was, I was aware that Rab would probably end up in hospital if he attempted to ride a 50 mile time trial on a training regime based on Guinness and Kirkcaldy YMCA discos.

I declined and duly dropped Rab on the cruel slopes of the Langside climb out of Kennoway, in the Kennoway Road Club APR – where the club championship was to be decided.

[APR stands for Australian Pursuit Race, a handicap race where riders go off in groups according to ability – but I’m not sure if such things still exist].

I can’t remember where I placed, almost definitely well down — but at least I finished, which was more than Rab did.

The glory was all mines at the club dinner; but here’s my point — Spiers attempted to affect the outcome of the race.

I know that I didn’t succumb to his proposition, but the intent was there, and surely that’s what matters?

I’m happy to face Spiers across a courtroom of your choosing and expose him.

I know it’s wearing on for 40 years ago, but I see you’re still chasing Jan Ulrich for offences allegedly committed a decade ago; so surely going a year or two further back will be worth it to see people like Spiers brought to justice.

In closing I’d just like to say that it’s refreshing to see that the UCI has its priorities well in order, the pursuance of ten year old doping cases and investigating deals done on the road between professional cyclists has to take precedence over trying to find a solution to the dozens of professionals who have no team for next year or the butchering of the Olympic cycling programme.

But anyway, I’m looking forward to my trip to Aigle,

I remain, yours in sport,

Edmond Hood
Kirkcaldy & District Cycling Club junior time trial and road race champion 1973.