UCI president Brian Cookson says that his predecessor, Pat McQuaid, is "actively lobbying" against him ahead of next week’s election. McQuaid is not standing, but is said to have emailed delegates urging them to support Cookson’s French rival, David Lappartient.
The BBC reports that McQuaid has emailed at least one delegate to say that "cycling stakeholders; teams, riders, organisers have no respect for UCI under Brian.”
He reportedly went on to say: "Having been president for eight years I know what is involved and how a president should act and lead his sport. Unfortunately I haven't seen any of this from Brian these past four years. Indeed, he has abdicated his responsibilities.”
Cookson deposed McQuaid as UCI president in 2013 after the two had led somewhat colourful campaigns against one another and he doesn’t seem to have developed a great deal of affection for the Irishman since.
In a statement, he said: "I am aware of the rumours that Pat McQuaid has been actively lobbying on behalf of UCI Presidential candidate David Lappartient.
"I have of course seen the declarations Pat McQuaid has made recently in support of David in the media and I have also been shown proof that Pat is actively lobbying on David's behalf.
"Only they know if Pat has been offered a senior role at the UCI, which would be a grave concern for anyone who can recall the disastrous situation that the UCI was in just four years ago under his leadership.
"I am focused on running my own campaign with the support of people who have contributed to restoring trust in our sport, to take cycling forward and build on the great achievements we have had over the past four years.
"It is, however, disappointing that David Lappartient has not come out renouncing the support of Pat McQuaid, but having hosted Pat and other former executives at the first Elite European Road Championships in France last year, I am not surprised.
"It speaks volumes for the devastating direction David would take the UCI in if he wins next week's election."
Lappartient responded: "From information I gathered, it has been reported that Mr McQuaid has sent an email to a couple of delegates, whom he knows, by telling them his personal opinion about Brian Cookson and therefore calling on them to support my candidature.
"This was a personal act of McQuaid and not on my demand. By saying "Only they know if…" seems to me, once again, Brian Cookson is certain of nothing. Making false comments like these is unsportsmanlike behaviour.
"To set the records straight, during the Elite European Road Championships in France last year Brian Cookson is referring to, McQuaid called and asked if he could stop by since he was nearby. I immediately informed Brian Cookson, then McQuaid was of course given access to see the race as he asked to.
"It is pitiful that Brian Cookson is not concentrating his time and energy on explaining any vision he may have for cycling development in the next four years. That is what delegates are expecting, and not to delve into and hide behind old stories from four years ago.
"This act is undoubtedly a clear sign of despair from Brian Cookson and his languished campaign."