Cookson, the British Cycling president, is challenging McQuaid, the current incumbent at the UCI, for the leadership of the sport's governing body, a process which is still in dispute after McQuaid failed to secure a nomination from either his home country, Ireland, or Switzerland, his current place of residence.
McQuaid wants the UCI congress to vote in a rule change to allow him to be nominated by Thailand and Morocco. A number of federations, including the United States, have asked for the UCI to take the dispute to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a decision on whether that should be permitted. McQuaid issued a strongly worded statement in response to the corruption allegations, and has written an open letter to all of the national cycling federations, in which he calls for Cookson to help protect the "democratic process" of electing a new leader.
The letter read: "The claims in this so-called dossier are a complete fabrication. They are totally untrue and are not supported by a scintilla of evidence. The UCI Ethics Commission has already tried to investigate this dossier. This is a scurrilous and libellous attack on my character. This is not democracy. This is gangster politics. If Brian Cookson does not now condemn these tactics utterly, then we can only assume that he supports them. I am proud to stand before you as a candidate in this election. I will be prouder still if you choose me as your next President. But if you do not, I will accept your choice with good grace and I will leave Florence with my head held high. I will know that I have given my all to the UCI over the past eight years and that I have done everything possible to protect our democratic process. I challenge Brian Cookson to say the same thing."
Cookson has yet to respond to the McQuaid letter, but has insisted he remains committed to a "democratic election under the constitution of the UCI", and is understood to be planning to write to the cycling federations himself later this week.