International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid has insisted he will fight to the bitter end to keep his position despite suffering the embarrassment of the Swiss federation withdrawing their nomination.

The announcement by the Swiss follows Ireland, McQuaid's home federation, also refusing to support him and has led McQuaid's opponent for the presidency, Britain's Brian Cookson, to question whether the election should be allowed to go ahead.

McQuaid said however that he will push ahead with nominations from Thailand and Morocco - which need to be validated by the UCI Congress in Florence next month.

"I would remind Brian Cookson and his campaign supporters that the UCI Congress will ultimately decide who should lead the UCI for the next four years," said added.

"Federations all over the world want me to stand for re-election. I am standing as a candidate for re-election. That is not going to change.

"I am calling on Brian Cookson and his campaign supporters to accept that and to put an end to their concerted attempts to refuse the Congress a choice between two candidates."

McQuaid claimed the decision of Swiss Cycling was due to the federation facing possible bankruptcy.

He added: "This was apparently a snap decision in the face of mounting pressure from the company who financed the challenge to my Swiss nomination and whose actions threatened to condemn the Swiss Cycling Federation to financial ruin had it proceeded to an arbitration hearing and lost."

Both McQuaid and Cookson have emphasised their readiness to take the increasingly hostile battle to a vote, but the Briton again questioned the validity of the process.

Cookson, president of British Cycling since 1996, said in a statement: "The important principle in any democracy is that you must respect the rules as they are, not how you'd like them to be.

"My hope remains that we have a democratic process based on the rules of the race when it started rather than those made up half way through."

Cookson was making reference to the proposed amendment of article 51.1 of the UCI constitution, which states that "the candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate". In McQuaid's case Ireland.

The suggested new wording reads that candidates should be nominated by their federation, or "two federations other than the federation of the candidate", which McQuaid has received, from the Thai and Moroccan federations.

The UCI yesterday announced the legal opinion of Baker & McKenzie that the proposed constitutional amendment was valid and will be incorporated in next month's election.

The change, coming during a presidential tussle, is certain to be challenged, particularly as evidence has come to light - seen by Press Association Sport - which shows the UCI insisting nominations must be received in writing by June 29; the Thai and Moroccan nominations were made by email.

Opponents of McQuaid celebrated Swiss Cycling's decision, but there is some way to go in their quest to remove the Irishman from power.

Skins owner Jaimie Fuller, who funded the Change Cycling Now pressure group, said in a statement: "Mr McQuaid should now accept that the writing is on the wall.

"His latest stunt of attempting to introduce retrospective changes to the UCI constitution reflect a man who is both delusional and despotic; his arrogance knows no bounds." 211847