DUBLIN (AP) — Pat McQuaid derided the election manifesto of his challenger for the UCI presidency on Tuesday, describing Brian Cookson's pledges as "half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical."
Cookson, president of British Cycling and the only candidate so far to challenge McQuaid ahead of September's election, launched his campaign for the leadership of world cycling's governing body in Paris on Monday.
Among the pledges in Cookson's manifesto were promises to establish an independent anti-doping unit as well as a policy of transparency regarding any allegations that implicate the UCI over historic doping cases.
"Brian Cookson's election manifesto is half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical," McQuaid said in the first line of a statement released by his advisors. "Just telling people what they want to hear is easy. He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen."
McQuaid is seeking a third term as president — a position he has held since 2005 — but his future has been clouded since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report last year that led to Lance Armstrong being banned for life from cycling and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
McQuaid denies allegations by USADA that UCI helped cover up some suspicious samples from the American, but his reputation has still been hit and he has been accused of closing his eyes to the endemic doping culture in the sport.
That is one of the key issues Cookson vowed to tackle when he launched his manifesto in Paris, in a building located yards from where UCI was founded in 1900. "Brian Cookson's manifesto is proposing nothing new on independent anti-doping, because the WADA code simply does not permit the UCI, or indeed any other international federation, to create an independent anti-doping body," McQuaid continued in a strongly worded statement.
"Brian's proposal," the Irishman added, "that the 'UCI must remove itself from the management of anti-doping' is a nice sound-bite, but it demonstrates how little he understands about the WADA code and the UCI's responsibility as a signatory to the code."
Cookson's other pledges included developing cycling worldwide, developing women's cycling and overhauling the structure of elite men's road cycling In his statement, McQuaid called on Cookson to provide more thorough explanations on his pledges for independent testing and establishing a Truth and Reconciliation commission, and questioned how Cookson would fund his proposals.
British Cycling said Cookson wouldn't be responding immediately to McQuaid's remarks.