UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson has hit back at what he describes as a “bullying and haranguing” statement issued in response to his manifesto yesterday by the governing body’s current president, Pat McQuaid, who described the document as "half-baked." Cookson says McQuaid's response is typical of his "sometimes absurd and entirely counter-productive feuds."
McQuaid, seeking re-election for a third term but yet to outline his own manifesto, had attacked perceived inconsistencies in British Cycling president Cookson’s manifesto, in which he had outlined six key areas that he would focus on if elected in Florence in September.
It’s not the first time McQuaid has gone on the offensive against Cookson since the latter declared his intention to stand last month – previously, he has accused him of effectively being a puppet of Russian billionaire and fellow UCI management committee member, Igor Makarov.
Yesterday’s missive from McQuaid, who must overcome a legal challenge to his nomination by Swiss Cycling if he is to be able to run for a third term, focused principally on issues such as Cookson’s proposed reform of the UCI’s role in anti-doping and how he planned to finance that and other planned initiatives contained in his manifesto, launched in Paris on Monday.
While declining to engage in a point by point rebuttal of the questions raised by the UCI president, Cookson said: “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.
“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.
“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.
"On Monday I set out a new agenda for the UCI and cycling which has already received very strong support from around the world. I have been truly encouraged by the messages I have received following the launch and the serious and considered way which members of the cycling family and the media have responded to the direction I want to set.
"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.
“I continue to hope the Presidential contest can be one in which cycling can take pride,” he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.