Cycling election hopeful Cookson hits back at Pat McQuaid criticism

McQuaid dubbed his plans “half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical”.

BRIAN COOKSON HAS responded to criticism of his International Cycling Union (UCI) presidential manifesto by incumbent Pat McQuaid.

Cookson has declared clamping down on doping as one of his highest priorities in the sport, but McQuaid dubbed his plans “half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical”.

In response to Cookson’s vision for tackling the use of performance-enchancng drugs, McQuaid believes more details are required from the would-be president as to how it would be achieved and questioned how much his pledges would cost.

Cookson, however, will not be drawn into a war of words with McQuaid and insisted the Irishman’s stinging criticism was why the sport needed change at the top.

“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,” he said.

“His bullying and haranguing style seems designed to antagonise everyone who does not share his approach to the governance of world cycling. Tuesday’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.”

Cookson also claimed that his manifesto had recieved backing from various figures within the sport and that he would not be swayed from his vision for cycling.

“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,” he continued.

“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.”

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