Nothing to see here, it's all legal, says UCI president...

The war of words between Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s governing body, the UCI and challenger Brian Cookson escalated a nortch this afternoon as McQuaid issued a statement “clarifying misinformation” about his multiple nominations.

Accusing Cookson of not “showing an interest in cycling around the world over the years” McQuaid claims his multiple candidature is perfectly legal under the UCI constitution.

“The UCI Constitution permits anyone to be a member of multiple federations - although only one licence may be held by any one individual - and any federation to nominate one of their members as a candidate,” says the statement.

McQuaid said: “No one has changed the rules. No one has broken the rules. I have received enormous support from federations around the world urging me to stand for re-election and expressing their hope that I will continue on as UCI President. These nominations are a testament to that.

“Morocco, for example, is now African’s number one cycling nation qualifying riders for the UCI World Championships and the Olympic Games. I have witnessed the growth of cycling in Morocco on my many visits there since becoming UCI President in 2005 and my membership of that federation goes back to early 2009.

“There was nothing stopping Brian Cookson from showing an interest in cycling around the world over the years by joining other federations that would have allowed him to secure additional nominations when he decided to stand for President. I respect that his horizons however do not stretch much further than British Cycling and that his home is where his heart and ambitions as a Presidential candidate lie.”

McQuaid claims that Cookson and UCI management committee member Mike Plant should not be surprised at the rule change proposed by the Malaysian federation, which would allow any candidate to stand for president with nominations from any two federations.

“The very essence of this proposal was first suggested in an email from the Asian Continental Confederation to all members of the UCI Management Committee on 22 May 2013 as a means of strengthening the independence of the President,” says the statement.

“This proposal should not come as a surprise to anyone on the UCI management committee. It has now been formally submitted in accordance with the rules and it is for Congress to decide whether it should be accepted or rejected. Unlike Mr. Cookson, I have enough confidence in my candidature to respect that,” said McQuaid.

“Whatever the decision of Congress it will not change the fact that I have three valid nominations to stand as a candidate for re-election. While Brian Cookson and his commercial supporters may wish otherwise I am pleased to declare that he will face an election in September and that they can not escape that reality.”

“As Brian himself stated recently:

“Democratic institutions become stronger by having leadership contests, not weaker, so I welcome anybody who wants to stand as a candidate.

“Let’s have the debate - it’s good, it’s healthy and that’s how democracy should be. I’m quite happy to be the only challenger, or one of several challengers.”

“Brian should explain what has changed since he made that statement,” said McQuaid.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.