BRITISH Cycling president Brian Cookson has stressed he is fully supportive of under-pressure UCI chief Pat McQuaid.
Cookson has been mentioned as a possible successor to unify the sport if McQuaid, president of the UCI, is forced to resign over the world governing body's handling of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
The UCI has appointed an independent commission to look at its handling of the case.
Cookson, who would attract support both within the International Olympic Committee and within cycling, said today: "I have read reports that I am considered to be a potential candidate for the presidency of the UCI. I would like to make it clear that there is not a vacancy and I am not a candidate.
"I am fully supportive of UCI president Pat McQuaid who since his election in 2005 has done an impressive job in frequently difficult circumstances.
"Any speculation at this difficult time is particularly unhelpful, and I think it is absolutely vital for the future of our sport that we all remain united.
"The important thing now is for all the relevant bodies to co-operate in agreeing the way forward, for the various investigations to run their course and for the independent commission to do its job over the next few months."
One of the key issues for the commission in terms of McQuaid, who is from Dublin, is over the UCI's decision in 2007 to pursue a 100,000 US dollar [£63,000 on current exchange rate] donation from Armstrong that the Texan cyclist had committed to two years previously.