UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson has responded to current incumbent Pat McQuaid’s attack on his election manifesto and decried what he described as his “bullying and haranguing style.”
McQuaid issued a strongly-worked press release on Tuesday afternoon dismissing Cookson’s six-point manifesto as “half-baked” and the Briton responded with a statement of his own twenty-four hours later. Cookson had presented his manifesto at a press conference in Paris on Monday.
"The response from Pat McQuaid to my manifesto has once again demonstrated exactly why restoring credibility to the UCI and cycling in general was the number one recommendation of the recent Deloitte consultation with the sport's stakeholders,” Cookson said.
"His bullying and haranguing style seems designed to antagonise everyone who does not share his approach to the governance of world cycling. Yesterday's release was a reminder of the sometimes absurd and entirely counter-productive feuds in which he has engaged.
“Members of the cycling family and other interested observers can read my manifesto, compare it with the current state and image of the UCI, and make their own minds up as to who they believe best represents the future of the UCI and cycling.”
McQuaid is running for a third consecutive term as president of the UCI and although Cycling Ireland voted not to nominate him for election, he seems to have received the necessary backing from the Swiss Cycling Federation.
While Cookson did not provide specific criticisms of McQuaid’s presidency in his statement on Wednesday, he did allude to the libel proceedings he launched against Paul Kimmage and Floyd Landis last year.
“I will not respond in kind but I will say that the UCI desperately needs transparency and that includes the costs of the President's office and the damaging litigation that has become commonplace during Mr McQuaid's Presidency,” Cookson said.
Tipped as UCI presidential candidate in the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong affair last year, Cookson downplayed the possibility throughout the winter, and as recently as February he told Cyclingnews that McQuaid “has being doing a good job in many ways and he has my support.”
On Wednesday, however, Cookson looked to put clear distance between himself and McQuaid, and warned that September’s election would amount to a choice between two “different visions.”
“As we enter the next stage of the Presidential election, it is clear that the choice that has to be made is between two different approaches to the work of the UCI and two different visions for our sport. I believe in a path based on credibility, trust and change and not one littered with a seemingly endless round of doubts and discrepancies where relations with important stakeholders are conducted by press release and punctuated by legal letters,” Cookson said, adding: "I continue to hope the Presidential contest can be one in which cycling can take pride."