British Cycling's Brian Cookson Defeats Pat McQuaid 24-18 In UCI Presidential Vote
British Cycling President Brian Cookson has been elected Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) president at the UCI's annual congress in Florence, Italy. Cookson won with 24 votes out of a total of 42 voting delegates, compared to 18 for outgoing UCI President Pat McQuaid. Cookson said, "I would like to thank-you for all of the trust that you have placed in me today. The real work starts now. I would call on the global cycling community to unite" (UCI). In London, Robin Scott-Elliot reported after more than four hours of "chaotic, occasionally angry and frequently confusing toing and froing among the delegates" over whether McQuaid was eligible to "even stand again for office, Cookson dramatically stood up and declared he had had enough and the vote should proceed." Inside Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, delegates from around the cycling world "argued over the election process and, at one stage, even over the method of voting, taking a vote on whether the next vote should be made in secret." There were "regular interruptions as lawyers rushed off stage" to consult the UCI's constitution (INDEPENDENT, 9/27).
ROBERTSON FIRST TO CONGRATULATE: The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson "was among the first to congratulate Cookson." Robertson said, "I congratulate Brian Cookson on becoming the president of the UCI. Cycling in Britain has never been in a better place as it is right now, on both participation and elite fronts, and Brian deserves a lot of credit for that" (PA, 9/27).
ARMSTRONG REINSTATEMENT POSSIBLE: In London, William Fotheringham reported Cookson, "in his first moves as UCI president, has said that disgraced Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong might be able to return to the cycling fold if the Texan should divulge all that he knows about past doping activities." Cookson: "I hope that he is going to tell the complete truth" (GUARDIAN, 9/28). The AP's Andrew Dampf reported Armstrong "sent a one-word tweet" that said, "Hallelujah." Cookson also "wants to set up a so-called 'truth and reconciliation' commission to encourage riders, team officials and others with knowledge of cycling’s doping past to come forward." He has "warned that team managers who have been tied to or admitted doping during their careers as athletes could no longer have a place in the sport" (AP, 9/27).
'THAT'S LIFE': The BBC reported McQuaid, 64, "was seeking a third term in the role he had held" since '05. McQuaid: "That's life, that's the way it goes. Congress has decided" (BBC, 9/27).
POWER GAMES OVER: In London, Owen Slot reported the election of Cookson "may turn out to be the moment that cycling at last started to win back its credibility." McQuaid's problem was that his presidency "was rooted in the troubled past, synonymous with cycling’s ills and peppered with allegations that he was party to the cover-up and corruption that allowed the Lance Armstrong era to survive so long" (LONDON TIMES, 9/28).
VP'S APPOINTED: CYCLING NEWS reported Cookson "has announced the three vice presidents he has entrusted to help reform the sport under his watch." For the next four years, the Oceania Federation's Tracey Gaudry, the European Federation's David Lappartient and the African federation's Mohamed Wagih Azzam "will serve under Cookson" (CYCLING NEWS, 9/29).