Brian Cookson has claimed scepticism over doping at the Tour de France is undermining the race and has promised measures to restore its credibility if he is elected as president of the sport's international body UCI.
Tour winner Chris Froome had to deal with questions and innuendo during the race leading to his Team Sky to make his power data statistics - which can indicate doping - publicly available to try to end the accusations.
Cookson, British Cycling's chairman who is challenging the UCI's incumbent president Pat McQuaid, said he would bring in several measures to tackle doping and deal with the past.
Cookson said in a statement: "This year's Tour de France has seen many heroic performances yet there has been a mood of scepticism and doubt in some quarters.
"This is deeply frustrating for the riders but, if you look at the past and what our sport has been through, it is not a surprise.
"We must act to change this situation so that the public can feel confident and cycling's great performances can be heralded not disparaged.
"After a magnificent end to the 100th Tour de France, the UCI owes it to all the clean riders to show leadership on anti-doping."
Cookson promised an independent investigation into cycling's doping past and an independent body to test for drugs.
He added: "The UCI has rarely seemed willing to take the initiative and it is critical that this changes as a matter of urgency. Looking ahead, the UCI must demonstrate true leadership and show a real desire to deal with the past and properly tackle doping in the future.
"I believe this is essential for the sport, for the riders, for the fans and for the sponsors."
Cookson said the release by Team Sky of Froome's power data "showed the need for more transparency, data sharing and co-operation" and that he would ensure the UCI requires teams and organisers to share data and intelligence with anti-doping organisations.
Froome himself declared his victory as proof the sport was entering a new, clean era.
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford praised how Froome had handled the questioning.
"For someone to be accused of being a cheat with the venom that he has at times I think is completely unacceptable," Brailsford said.
"The way he has dealt with that has been absolutely first class. He hasn't snapped, he has been patient and tolerant. He will be a lot more experienced, wiser and more robust for this experience. I think he has all the making, all the ingredients of a multiple champion."