Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Brian Cookson defends record as UCI president in face of leadership challenge

Briton who leads world cycling’s governing body responds to launch of David Lappartient’s bid for presidency

 

Brian Cookson has defended his record as UCI president in the face of a challenge to his leadership launched today by France’s David Lappartient.

Lappartient, former president of the French cycling federation and current president of the European confederation, the UEC, supported Cookson when he defeated the incumbent Pat McQuaid in 2013 to secure the top job at world cycling’s governing body.

But announcing his intention to stand against Cookson at the World Cycling Congress in Bergen, Norway, in September, Lappartient was critical of the reforms undertaken on Cookson’s watch and insisted he could do a better job than the Briton.

> UCI presidency: France's David Lappartient launches formal bid to oust Brian Cookson from cycling's top job

He said: "I have always voiced my concerns on the various challenges I have witnessed at UCI, and as a vice-president of the organisation, I have been made aware of a number of issues that must be urgently addressed if cycling is to remain a credible sport.

"It is crucial that we have at UCI a President with a real leadership, who is truly engaged and with a clear vision for cycling."

In a statement released today, Cookson countered the criticism of his leadership, saying:

I learned that David Lappartient, UCI Vice President and President of the UCI Professional Cycling Council has decided to run against me for the Presidency of the UCI.

I strongly believe that my track record of restoring integrity and credibility to the UCI, and developing cycling over the past four years, together with my plans for a final four-year term as president, will be judged favourably by the cycling family at the UCI Congress in Bergen in September. 

My plans can be read on my campaign website www.briancookson.org together with some of the messages of support I have been proud to receive from across the cycling world, from those most familiar with the work of my administration. 

That website also contains a summary of the many things which have been achieved over the last four years of my leadership of the UCI across anti-doping, governance, transparency, women's cycling, communication and the development of the sport. Having recently had confirmation from the IOC that at the Tokyo Games we will have additional medals for men's and women's events in both the Madison and BMX Freestyle, I am proud that cycling is now the third largest Olympic sport.

Having changed the constitution of the UCI to introduce term limits and improve the election process after the controversial events of four years ago, I respect other people's right to announce their candidature. I note that so far David Lappartient has not set out very much detail in his plan or any vision he may have beyond his well-known personal ambition for the role. I look forward to debating what matters for the future of cycling over the coming months.

The challenge to Cookson’s leadership of the UCI comes days after the Member of Parliament Damian Collins called on UK Sport not to provide financial backing for his re-election campaign.

Collins, who hopes to continue his role as chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media & Sport, was speaking after the publication of the report of the independent review into British Cycling, much of which focused on the period when Cookson was president of the national governing body.

But British Cycling countered his criticism of its former president, saying: “Brian Cookson served as British Cycling president from 1997 until 2013, having joined an emergency committee in 1996 to save British Cycling from insolvency.

“He has made an enormous contribution to the sport in this country and around the world and we wish him every best wish as he seeks re-election for the role of UCI President,” it added.

> British Cycling says MP is ‘ill-informed’ after he suggested its chairman should resign

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

5 comments

Avatar
nnahler | 6 years ago
2 likes

The ASO effectively controls most of the big road races already with the UCI pushed to the side.

Lappartient is known for his close connection to the ASO. His presidency would effectively hand the sport of cycling over to a single private company.

I don't think that can be called a positive development.

Avatar
davel replied to nnahler | 6 years ago
1 like
nnahler wrote:

The ASO effectively controls most of the big road races already with the UCI pushed to the side.

Lappartient is known for his close connection to the ASO. His presidency would effectively hand the sport of cycling over to a single private company.

I don't think that can be called a positive development.

No, speculation about stuff that hasn't happened yet can't be called a development. On that, we agree. Of course, Cookson will have spent his 4 years quietly going about implementing controls to ensure that successors can't just hand cycling over to private companies. No...?

I also agree with the point above about Cookson being an improvement
on the bad old days, as in, they could have put Punch and/or Judy in charge and it wouldn't have been as shit as when it was headed up by McQuaid and Verbruggen.

But he dithered (publicly, at least) over the TUE mess when I expected leadership, given cycling and the UCI's recent history. I'm remembering him for what he didn't do, because I can't think of much he has, over 4 years. For a bloke who blows his own trumpet and poses dressed as a banker beaming down from the UCI logo at every available opportunity, that's damning in itself. It's exactly the kind of lethargy that the UCI doesn't need.

One could argue that some quiet, calm, low-ambition leadership is exactly what is required at the UCI, given his predecessors. But his BC legacy, in respect of similarities with what's needed at the UCI, is an omnishambles regarding governance, and since he bagsied the best lifeboat that ship has been leaking from every rivet.

'we could do worse' when we're really not doing that well isn't a persuasive argument, for me. I prefer 'we could do a fuckton better'.

Avatar
Sniffer replied to davel | 6 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

  'we could do worse' when we're really not doing that well isn't a persuasive argument, for me. I prefer 'we could do a fuckton better'.

Maybe we could do better, but the field is now two.  Cookson's 'quiet, calm, low-ambition leadership' (that is a good summary by the way), or a French politician who has very close links with ASO.  I am not sure he would be a fuckton better.

Avatar
Sniffer | 6 years ago
2 likes

Cookson isn't perfect, nobody is.  Remember his two predecessors and don't tell me it hasn't been an improvement.

Careful what you wish for in terms of change.

Avatar
handlebarcam | 6 years ago
0 likes

If there was ever a building that was crying out for someone to climb to the top of, stretch ones arms out, and shout, "I'm the King of the UCI!", it's that one over Mr. Cookson's right shoulder. Go on, Brian, you know you want to, just in case you lose the election.

Latest Comments