Five national cycling federations, led by USA Cycling, are urging the UCI and its president Pat McQuaid to remove uncertainty about the validity of his nominations to stand for a third term of office by letting the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rule on his eligibility.
The issue the federations, which also comprise those of Algeria, Canada, Finland and Russia, want the CAS to make a judgment on relate to the controversial proposed change to the UCI constitution that would allow a candidate for the presidency to be nominated by any two national federations.
Most contentiously, it is proposed that the rule change be applied retroactively, which could if adopted give McQuaid a nomination he would not otherwise have secured.
In a letter seen by the website Inside The Games, USA Cycling president Steve Johnson told McQuaid and UCI director general Christophe Hubschmid:
"The cycling world has been watching the UCI Presidential race carefully and its reaction has varied from amusement to outrage, from bewilderment to astonishment," it reads.
"The loudest voices are frustrated by the uncertainty that will accompany this year's Congress in light of shifting nominations, retroactive laws and midstream changes to the election process.
"We understand that Congress has the power to address the propriety of amending the election process, and it will speak when these matters are addressed in Florence."
It goes on: "This uncertainty does not serve anyone's interests, especially those of the delegates who rely on this year's proceedings to allow the UCI to prove to the cycling world that the governance of their International Federation is ultimately grounded in the Constitution, and that the meaning of the Constitution is predictable and reliable.
"As a group, we believe strongly about the legal principles involved to ask a court to resolve this Constitutional dispute in due course.
"But we also care enough about our International Federation to try everything in our power to avoid a protracted battle that might cast the results of the election into doubt for many months to come."
There is also the threat of recourse to CAS should the appeal in the letter be rejected and McQuaid go on to secure a third term in office when the 42 delegates at the UCI Congress vote in Florence on 27 September.
The proposed change to the UCI constitution is due to be voted on earlier the same day.
Cookson and others have said that McQuaid is acting out of desperation and is seeking to alter the electoral process retrospectively for his own ends. McQuaid insists that the Cookson camp is in turn trying to engineer a situation whereby he accedes to the UCI presidency unopposed.
Commenting on news of the letters, Cookson said: "I can totally understand the desire by a number of National Federations to seek clarity on the UCI Constitution in relation to the nominating procedure and how this applies to the current Presidential election.
"Given the nature of the controversy it does make sense to have this matter adjudicated by CAS so that we can have a sound and fair election that is also genuinely robust.”
McQuaid, whose original nomination by Cycling Ireland was deemed invalid on a technicality, then vetoed when it was put to a vote at an Emergency General Meeting, last month had a separate nomination by Swiss Cycling withdrawn.
Those were the only two nominations made public following the expiry of the deadline on 29 June. Cookson has been nominated by British Cycling, of which he is president.
Almost a month later, it emerged that McQuaid has also been nominated by the Thai and Moroccan federations. He claims to be a member of both, and according to a legal opinion prepared on behalf of the UCI, such nominations were made in time and comply with the governing body’s constitution.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.