British Cycling President Brian Cookson 'Boldly' Predicts Victory For UCI Presidency
British Cycling President Brian Cookson has "boldly predicted an emphatic victory" over Int'l Cycling President Pat McQuaid for UCI presidency, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Cookson needs 22 of the 42 votes at the election in Florence on Sept. 27 to be elected UCI president. He claimed that he "had been pledged enough support to win comfortably." Cookson has spent the last month traveling around the world lobbying continental confederations, a policy "that paid off spectacularly" on Sunday when European federations voted 27-10 to back him over McQuaid. All 14 of their delegates are "now mandated to vote for Cookson," something that "would leave him needing eight more votes." Cookson: "It's not guaranteed. And what we've still got to do is keep the pressure on. Elections can be won and lost in the last few days and it's very important that we don't take any of that for granted." Cookson was expecting his European support "to be bolstered" by that of Oceania, which has three votes, parts of Pan-America, which has nine, and at least some of Africa, which has seven (TELEGRAPH, 9/17).
LIVELY CAMPAIGN: In London, Donald McRae wrote sports governance "usually features dry exchanges between anonymous administrators." However, this contest's "bruising machinations, leaked dossiers and accusations of corruption and 'gangster politics' underline why the outcome is much more significant than a typical bureaucratic vote." Cookson "smiles when it is pointed out that his apparent electoral lead is partly built on the 'Anyone But McQuaid' ticket." Does he "mind being dismissed as the 'Vanilla' candidate?" Cookson: "Well, who else put their head above the parapet? All 170-odd federations had the opportunity to nominate someone -- but no one else has done. I've got the confidence of lots of people." In sometimes choosing not to answer simple questions, Cookson has been criticized as a career politician when he strives to be a genuine cycling man who "shares the overwhelming distaste for corruption and subterfuge." McQuaid and Cookson "stress their resolve against doping and argue that the sport has made substantial progress." Cookson, however, "differs from McQuaid in campaigning for an anti-doping agency that operates independently of the UCI." McQuaid's removal "would seem to be crucial in rekindling respect for the UCI" (GUARDIAN, 9/17).