Brian Cookson wins UCI Presidency - gamble pays off as he beats Pat McQuaid 24 votes to 18

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

by Simon_MacMichael   September 27, 2013  

Brian Cookson at the site in Paris where the UCI was founded (source Brian Cookson Images, Flickr)

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.

47 user comments

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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.

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [213 posts]
27th September 2013 - 13:48

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And so begins the bonfire of paperwork and the smashing of hard drives at UCI HQ.

posted by Sharpie [16 posts]
27th September 2013 - 13:49

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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 ?

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [264 posts]
27th September 2013 - 13:57

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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

Sudor

posted by Sudor [179 posts]
27th September 2013 - 14:03

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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 Big Grin

posted by Sadly Biggins [264 posts]
27th September 2013 - 14:05

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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 Big Grin

Nice!

posted by Not KOM [79 posts]
27th September 2013 - 14:14

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Taxi for McQuaid!

posted by SevenHills [144 posts]
27th September 2013 - 14:27

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The King is dead. Long live the king!

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1092 posts]
27th September 2013 - 14:36

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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.

Cycling Blog: www.amanonabike.co.uk
Twitter: @amanonabike

nemysys's picture

posted by nemysys [38 posts]
27th September 2013 - 14:45

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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 Applause

posted by Roberj4 [185 posts]
27th September 2013 - 15:20

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One word sums this up:

Good.

ilderracer's picture

posted by ilderracer [13 posts]
27th September 2013 - 15:51

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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.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1092 posts]
27th September 2013 - 15:52

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Good job Mr Cookson, good luck and never let the sport be like this gain please Applause

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

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
27th September 2013 - 16:05

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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 think the sh*t is now going to hit the fan, for sure.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [2965 posts]
27th September 2013 - 16:08

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Party time ! Party

Lets hope the new brush sweeps clean and we never have to tread this path again.

In 4 years lets hope the next elections are contested by Cookson and another person with cycling at their heart.

It would be nice to see a few women in UCI.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2677 posts]
27th September 2013 - 16:12

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Ding dong the witch is dead!

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [142 posts]
27th September 2013 - 17:06

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Sooooo happy Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Applause Applause

Cookson turned round BC, what can he do at UCI with all that extra resource? Give the man a noble award like Obama got Smile

posted by kitkat [193 posts]
27th September 2013 - 17:37

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Party Wave

posted by FMOAB [230 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:11

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Great news. Now sort it out Cookson.
Byeee Pat the Twat.

posted by Chrisc [138 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:22

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The link to this article was 'Aug Wiedersein, Pat'. Aargh! The word is 'Wiedersehen'. What they have written makes no sense.

posted by arowland [79 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:24

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"Lance has been boiled." Better than nice. Brilliant!

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [62 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:28

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Not KOM wrote:
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 Big Grin

Nice!

Better than nice. Brilliant! Applause

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [62 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:29

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I wonder if the lawyer's who supported McQuad were supplied by his chum Lance ???

Thank god in the end the UCI got rid of him I hope Morocco and Thailand do the same and McQuad is left with no place in cycling at any level.

The UCI need to clean in house just as much as they wish to do so within the peleton's, so lets see them pass a lifetime ban on McQuad.

yes I know I have spelt his name wrong but there is no place in his name for an "i" which stands for integrity.

posted by SPEED098 [7 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:43

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Sorry Brian this should be more about your well deserved victory not about the person you are taking over from.

Good luck in the job and congratulations cycling really can say it has turned the corner now.

Wave Wave Party Party Big Grin Big Grin

posted by SPEED098 [7 posts]
27th September 2013 - 18:56

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well done brian, now sack every senior and middle ranking bureaucrat that works there. They were complicit either via silence, turning a blind eye or both. Clean slate, no history.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [122 posts]
27th September 2013 - 21:09

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Excellent! I thought Cookson was brave to take McQuaid on.

posted by saddlebag [3 posts]
27th September 2013 - 21:27

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No doubt Pat (and the 18 delegates who voted for him) will have now managed to shred, burn and destroy quite a lot of files by now...

If wrong doing can be proved, I really hope P McGabe gets dragged, face down, through as much shit as they can find. Pat nearly destroyed cycling but now I believe there is genuine hope for it to recover. Get to work Brian, there's lots to fix..!

posted by fatty [69 posts]
27th September 2013 - 22:39

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Not bad for a Lancastrian Smile the tied vote could have left McQuid with the casting vote for his own rule change, and Brian Cookson's call for a vote on the Presidency was very brave in those circumstances.

If he continues to show such bravery and determination for the next 4 years then cycling will be the better for it

Wonder how much UCI resembles Yes Prime Minister ?

posted by langsett [18 posts]
28th September 2013 - 0:02

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Phew. Best wishes to Brian.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
28th September 2013 - 0:20

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Well done BC. But please, let there be a debate on doping within cycling, between the UCI, race owners, sponsors, team owners, DS's, riders, and doctors (including the dodgy ones). It's a much more complicated issue than signing up to the WADA rules and then enforcing and policing them. If this doesn't happen, then nothing will change!

posted by daddyELVIS [384 posts]
28th September 2013 - 8:01

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