LONDON: Brian Cookson, who is seeking to oust controversial Pat McQuaid as president of the international cycling federation, has criticised the Irishman’s latest salvo.

McQuaid had demanded that British Cycling, on which Cookson is chairman, should halt its legal opposition to his bid to bend the rules for this autumn’s election.

But Cookson refused, saying: “Sadly we have seen yet another attempt by the existing UCI President, Pat McQuaid, to denigrate the current presidential election process. I want nothing more than an open and properly conducted democratic election and vote for the UCI presidency. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.

“It is also true that I, and many in our sport, have legitimate and growing concerns about the retrospective rule bending and attempted manipulation that is taking place at present.

“In my view it is therefore absolutely correct that British Cycling and others have raised concerns regarding proposed rule changes which have a direct impact on the election process now under way. These concerns need to be addressed.

“Far from ducking these issues, for the good of cycling and the reputation of the UCI, it is critical that openness and transparency guide our procedures and not desperate manoeuvres and outbursts by Mr McQuaid.”

McQuaid, who had struggled to find a proposer, had sought to change the nomination process by scrapping the original deadline.