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Brian Cookson's leadership of UCI slammed by presidential rival

David Lappartient says Briton lacks "clear vision" in how to take world governing body forward...

David Lappartient, who is standing against Brian Cookson in September’s UCI presidential election, has criticised the Briton’s leadership of world cycling’s governing body over the past four years.

The Frenchman, who is a UCI vice-president as well as president of the European Cycling Union (UEC) said in an interview with BBC Sport that Cookson “lacked a clear vision” and was out of touch.

A key supporter of Cookson in his successful campaign to replace Pat McQuaid at the head of the UCI in 2013, Lappartient is the only challenger to the incumbent president who is seeking a second term.

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

He told the BBC’s Dan Roan: "I think that we need some changes in the UCI, and specifically we need strong leadership, it is not at the level we were expecting.

"It's a leadership without a clear vision about what we want to do with cycling.

"The president can't be involved in everything, of course, but he must make sure things are happening, and the right people are in place.

"But at the UCI, the administration puts barriers around the president, so he is not informed of key elements of the organisation. I think that's a fault of the organisation but it's his responsibility.

"And when I read about the situation at British Cycling, it seems that the sport was far away from the board - that's not the right way to lead."

That point was a reference to the report of the independent review into British Cycling published last month and much of which related to issues that happened when Cookson was president of the national governing body, a role he relinquished upon his election to the top job at the UCI.

Due to his position at British Cycling, Cookson also sat on the board of Team Sky’s management company.

That is something his critics have seized upon due to the ongoing controversy regarding the issue of Therapeutic Use Exemptions to Sir Bradley Wiggins and the Jiffy Bag containing medicine for him that was taken to the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné by a British Cycling employee.

Lappartient told BBC Sport that he had raised concerns about Cookson’s style of leadership at the UCI, saying: "I voiced my concerns over some points inside of the UCI, but they were not always taken into account.

"I've complained that the president has not been informed about some key points of the institution and that's not normal ... sometimes it's important statements from stakeholders, sometimes financial points, and he has only one vision coming from the administration, and he must have information coming from everywhere."

In response, Cookson told the UCI: "I have always been a consensus-based president, both at British Cycling and now at the UCI.

“Collaboration is far more important than a dictatorial approach but the progress the UCI has made under my leadership is there for all to see.

"The UCI is not a small business and cannot be run that way,” he continued.

“I promised in 2013 to have appropriate separation of governance and management, which is one of the reasons the UCI got into the problems it was in. I have delivered that.

"A big international institution needs a strong president and an effective director-general, which is what we've got now."

However, Lappartient believes that Cookson will not be able to command the simple majority of the 45 voters that would see him re-elected at the World Cycling Congress in Bergen, Norway in September.

"I know that some of the nations are disappointed with the situation and he won't receive the same support he had in 2013," he said.

Simon joined 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.

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dottigirl | 6 years ago

What has Cookson actually done?

The manifest promises regarding a minimum wage have never materialised.

Stumps | 6 years ago

So he supported Cookson when he stood for president and agreed with his views on taking the UCI forward yet he now disagrees with Cookson and has different this the type of person you want running the sport we love ? someone who quite happily jumps ship just to make personal gain, can he be trusted to not change his mind yet again ? 

In my opinion Cookson has done well to get to where we are now considering the previous incumbents and another 4 years will see a lot of his aims fullfilled and the sport will be better for it. 


BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago

£250k/350k CHF a year he earns, about £245k a year too much!

davel | 6 years ago

Was he dressed in his best banker outfit, looming down on you with a UCI plaque in the background?

davel replied to davel | 6 years ago

The UCI is not a small business and cannot be run that way

Other things the UCI isn't and cannot be run that way, that Brian may or may not have mentioned:

- a South American cathedral
- a 54/39
- a dwarf-throwing Olympics
- an MDMA bender.

Other than that, game on.

don simon fbpe | 6 years ago

Met him once, seems like a nice enough fella.

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