By Duncan Mackay

Pat McQuaid in officeJune 25 - Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), has claimed that his rival Brian Cookson's election manifesto is "half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical" and warned that if he is elected it would turn the clock back more than 100 years when Britain dominated the governance of the sport.

The President of British Cycling yesterday published a glossy 20 page document headed "Restoring trust, Leading change" in which he detailed six key pledges, the most significant of which was how to deal with the sport's doping problem.

McQuaid, though, was left unimpressed, particularly by his proposal to set up an independent anti-doping unit which would remove responsibility for the management of a drugs control programme from the UCI.

"Just telling people what they want to hear is easy," said the Irishman, President of the UCI since 2006 and who is seeking a third term.

"He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen.

"Brian Cookson's manifesto is proposing nothing new on independent anti-doping, because the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code simply does not permit the UCI, or indeed any other international federation, to create an independent anti-doping body.

"As a signatory of the WADA Code, the UCI is responsible for all anti-doping in cycling.

"While it may delegate responsibility to a third party, any third party must comply with the UCI rules and the WADA Code - and so its operations must remain part of the UCI's anti-doping programme.

"What Brian is proposing, when you examine the detail, is simply to relocate the existing Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF) unit, which is as fully independent as the WADA Code permits, outside of the UCI building in Aigle.

"As Brian should know, much of the testing in cycling is already independent as the UCI shares responsibility for anti-doping with organisations such as WADA, USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), AFLD (French Anti-Doping Agency), CONI (Italian Olympic Commission) amongst others.

"And as Brian should also know, no anti-doping test result is ever seen solely by the CADF.

"The results of every single test are seen by multiple anti-doping organisations.

"Brian's proposal that the 'UCI must remove itself from the management of anti-doping' is a nice soundbite, but it demonstrates how little he understands about the WADA Code and the UCI's responsibility as a signatory to the Code.

"My own position, and that of the UCI, as we have said many times, is that we are in favour of independent anti-doping if WADA changes its Code to facilitate that for all international federations.

"Why he is proposing to establish a new anti-doping unit when the CADF already exists, whose independence he has vouched for, voted on and approved in numerous Management Committee meetings?

"If he is now abandoning his decision at the very recent UCI Management Committee to support a recommendation from the UCI Stakeholders Forum to increase further the independence of the CADF?

"How his proposal to establish an independent anti-doping board is any different from the recent decision of the UCI Management Committee to approve the appointment of a fully independent board for the CADF, a process which is already underway?

"What is the fundamental difference between the independent CADF that exists and the new unit that he is now proposing?"

Brian Cookson on cycle in ParisBrian Cookson gives the thumbs up after launching his election manifesto in Paris yesterday - but current UCI President Pat McQuaid is less impressed

McQuaid also hit back at Cookson's claim that the "anti-doping service within the UCI headquarters is just down the corridor from the President's office, so that can't be right", a clear   insinuation that key officials at the UCI had in the past been involved in helping cover-up positive drugs tests, one of the key allegations made by several top riders in the Lance Armstrong scandal. 

"How far geographically must the UCI relocate the CADF away from its President's office to guarantee its independence?" said McQuaid.

McQuaid also claimed that it was financially impossible for Cookson to keep all of his election promises. 

"Brian Cookson's proposals to create new international departments, to increase the World Cycling Centre budget, to roll out new World Cycling Satellite Centres, to create a new UCI Commission and new internal UCI positions while also instigating independent investigations and a possible Truth and Reconciliation process bear no relation to the existing budgetary constraints and the financial resources available to the UCI," he said.

"He has prepared his manifesto as if money were no object.

"This money has to be found and he has given no indication from where it will come or how he proposes to generate new revenue streams to finance the multi-million cost of his aspirations."

McQuaid also mocked Cookson's choice of Paris to launch his manifesto, choosing a venue just a few metres from where the UCI was launched in 1900. 

"The irony of Brian's choice of historic venue to launch his manifesto suggests he doesn't actually know the UCI's history," he said.

"The UCI was indeed launched in Paris by cycling federations from France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA.

"It was launched specifically to replace the then International Cycling Association which these countries felt was too dominated by Great Britain, hence the choice of Paris.

"Britain was even specifically excluded from joining the newly launched UCI for a number of years."

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