By Duncan Mackay

Bradley Wiggins in yellow jersey with GB flagJanuary 22 - Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins has accused Pat McQuad of damaging cycling as pressure continues to increase on the International Cycling Union (UCI) President because of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

But some backing for McQuaid came from Wiggins' coutryman Brian Cookson, President of British Cycling, who has claimed he is "100 per cent" behind the Irishman.

Wiggins, who last year became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and followed it up with a gold medal in the Olympic time trial, warned that the Armstrong scandal was continuing to harm his sport.  

"I'm not interested in what happens to Lance," Wiggins said.

"My worry is in what state this scandal leaves cycling.

"Where have Pat McQuaid and all the others brought this sport?

"Certainly not in a great position, especially for the riders racing now.

"Our credibility is on the line."

Cookson has reportedly been identified as a candidate to replace McQuaid, who is due to face election later this year. 

Cookson has transformed British Cycling from the verge of bankruptcy in 1997, when he and a group of others took over, to a position now where it is the most successful national governing body in the world.

Not only do British cyclists dominate both on the track and on the road, but British Cycling's stance on doping has been put forward as an example of best practice among sports bodies.

But 61-year-old Cookson, who is a member of the UCI's Management Committee, has distanced himself from the speculation.

Brian Cookson head and shouldersBrian Cookson has offered his backing to under-fire UCI President Pat McQuaid

"There's not a vacancy and I'm not a candidate," Cookson told Cycling Weekly.

"I'm 100 per cent supportive of Pat McQuaid and I think speculation is unhelpful at this stage when there are some delicate negotiations underway."

Indeed, Cookson highlighted the progress the sport has made under McQuaid, who has been head of of the UCI since 2005. 

"When you think what the UCI has done in the last few years, pursuing offenders when other sports have let people off on the flimsiest of excuses," he said,

"I think the UCI has got a good record in anti-doping that Pat can be proud of.

"I know that's not a popular line but its true."

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