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Resounding victory for British Cycling president in battle for UCI top job

British Cycling president Brian Cookson will lead the UCI for the next four years following a UCI Congress at Florence's Palazzo Vecchio replete with plot and intrigue the likes of which the historic building has not witnessed since the power struggles of the republican faction and the Medici family at the turn of the 16th Century. He defeated incumbent president by 24 votes to 18, a resounding margin in the light of earlier expectations that the vote would be too close to call.

The events that formed the background to that historical period underpinned Machiavell's Prince, written 500 years ago this year, and today Cookson acted on advice from the Flornetine statesman, who once had an office in this very building, in that work - "It is better to be impetuous than cautious" - as he cut short arguments between delegates regarding the validity or otherwise of McQuaid's nomination and suggested they go straight to a vote on the presidency.

Speaking after his victory, Cookson said: "It is a huge honour to have been elected President of the UCI by my peers and I would like to thank them for the trust they have placed in me today.

"I have said throughout my campaign that we must embrace a new style of governance and a collegiate way of working so that a new era of growth and commercial success for the UCI and our sport can begin.

"My first priorities as President will be to make anti-doping procedures in cycling fully independent, sit together with key stakeholders in the sport and work with WADA to ensure a swift investigation into cycling's doping culture.

"It is by doing these things that we will build a firm platform to restore the reputation of our International Federation with sponsors, broadcasters, funding partners, host cities and the International Olympic Committee.

"Ultimately this is how we grow our sport worldwide and get more riders and fans drawn into cycling."

By acceding to the top spot at the UCI, Cookson will have to step down as president of British Cycling, the organisation he help rescue from the brink of bankruptcy in 1997.

“My election as President of the world cycling federation - the UCI - means that I can no longer continue as President of British Cycling," he went on.

“I am sorry to leave an organisation which I have seen make extraordinary progress over the last 16 years, but I am absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to bring about the changes that cycling needs worldwide.

“I know that I am moving on from British Cycling with the organisation in fantastic shape, and I am already looking forward to the challenges ahead as President of the UCI.”

Earlier, delegates had voted 21-21 on whether or not to adopt the controversial proposed change to the UCI Constitution that would have allowed a presidential candidate to be nominated by any two national federations.

That amendment, proposed in July by the Malaysian national federation and intended to be backdated to apply to today's election, would have meant that McQuaid would automatically have been eligible to stand for today's vote; having had nominations from Cycling Ireland and Swiss Cycling withdrawn, he has since been nominated by the Thai and Moroccan federations.

McQuaid insisted that he is a member of both those federations and that his nominations by each were made before the 29 June deadline and comply with the UCI's Constitution - or at least, his interpretation of it, backed up by a legal opinion obtained by the UCI from international law firm Baker & McKenzie.

After hearing a lawyer explain why McQuaid's nomination was believed to be valid, delegates rose to speak for or against it and the issue was due to go to a vote on whether the incumbent president could stand until Cookson made his dramatic intervention and suggested they should go straight to the issue of determining who should be president for the next four years.

It was a gamble, one that paid opff handsomely, and one that Machiavelli, who had in his mind when writing the prince an ideal ruler who could unite an Italy torn apart by factional in-fighting and threats from outside, would have approved of.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

47 comments

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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The twitter feeds on this are really building the tension!

Think PMcQ's going to get back in though. Horrific.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

The twitter feeds on this are really building the tension!

Think PMcQ's going to get back in though. Horrific.

My gut feeling is that he is almost nailed on to get back in, by hook or by crook.

Embarrassing and disgraceful are the two politest words I can muster regarding this.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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Well they just gave the floor to a lawyer-paid for by the UCI- to say that his nomination was valid! Oh, really? Who'da thought you'd say that?!

No time afforded to any opposing lawyer, mind.

Then 5 minutes each for a randon 9 feds to give their opinion.

WTF is going on here? Even *I* run meetings better than this.

AARRGGHHH

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Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 2 years ago
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YEEEES!!!!

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Metjas [359 posts] 2 years ago
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Cookson's won!!!!

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graphite [63 posts] 2 years ago
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Cookson 24, PMQ 18 - is this true? He's got a big job ahead of him.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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BC gets it! 24-18

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thorolf [69 posts] 2 years ago
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If the boil never gets lanced now, it never will.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done the UCI (for once). What happens now? Does he take office immediately like a UK Prime Minister, or is there a date of transfer like the US President?

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Mr hoppy [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Goodbye Pat, don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.  103

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zedbedboy [25 posts] 2 years ago
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Thank the lord!

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Beaufort [270 posts] 2 years ago
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The only surprise here is that McQuaid received 18 votes.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 2 years ago
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 36 - BC

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thorolf [69 posts] 2 years ago
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Unlimited overtime for the document shredders at the UCI.

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theclaw [73 posts] 2 years ago
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BYE BYE YOU FILTHY CROOK.

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Not KOM [79 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh ... thank god for that. Sanity reigns again, the baddie is defeated and the bearded, Obi-wan Kenobi figure of Cookson is in charge.

Now, can we have four years of sensible, progressive, quiet governance please? I'm tired of watching the politics, I'd rather watch the racing :)`!

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andyspaceman [241 posts] 2 years ago
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phew. there is now hope.

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andyspaceman [241 posts] 2 years ago
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thorolf wrote:

Unlimited overtime for the document shredders at the UCI.

That's a good point. Cookson has announceed that his first task will be to engage WADA and ensure that all anti-doping is independent.

That should be his second task, once he's changed all the computer passwords and filing cabinet keys.

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Sharpie [26 posts] 2 years ago
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And so begins the bonfire of paperwork and the smashing of hard drives at UCI HQ.

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badback [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Could be an interesting few months coming up if the rumours are right.

I wonder if McQuaid's going to move to Thailand now ?

Where / what impact will this have on Hein Verbruggen's position ?

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Sudor [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Good outcome - Cookson needs now to look to understand the perspective of McQuaids voters and win their confidence - good luck to him

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 2 years ago
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thorolf wrote:

If the boil never gets lanced now, it never will.

Since the Lance has now been boiled, I'm relatively hopeful  4

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Not KOM [79 posts] 2 years ago
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Sadly Biggins wrote:
thorolf wrote:

If the boil never gets lanced now, it never will.

Since the Lance has now been boiled, I'm relatively hopeful  4

Nice!

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SevenHills [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Taxi for McQuaid!

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 2 years ago
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The King is dead. Long live the king!

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nemysys [45 posts] 2 years ago
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Does anyone really believe that McQ will go quietly...?

The real infighting has now started... there be appeals... "I pressed the wrong button" etc

It'll will be dragged out for months and months, long enough for everyone to forget why they were voting in the first place.

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Roberj4 [214 posts] 2 years ago
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Can't wait to see Brian dish out the medals this weekend just hope we see British ladies/gents take the podium to receive them  41

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ilderracer [13 posts] 2 years ago
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One word sums this up:

Good.

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Colin Peyresourde [1637 posts] 2 years ago
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nemysys wrote:

Does anyone really believe that McQ will go quietly...?

The real infighting has now started... there be appeals... "I pressed the wrong button" etc

It'll will be dragged out for months and months, long enough for everyone to forget why they were voting in the first place.

I do. This isn't Florida and they don't have chads. There are hardly thousands of votes, not even hundreds, so I don't think McQuaid can pull that stunt.

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 2 years ago
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Good job Mr Cookson, good luck and never let the sport be like this gain please  41

I reckon 18 votes must have cost McQuaid about $400k easy

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