Int'l Cycling Union Elects David Lappartient As New President
Brian Cookson "suffered a crushing defeat" in his efforts to be re-elected as president of the Int'l Cycling Union (UCI), according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. The Englishman was beaten by David Lappartient, who "promised to ban corticosteroids from the sport." Cookson lost by a vote of 37-8 in the election in Bergen, Norway, in "what was almost certainly the biggest election defeat of an incumbent president" of an int'l sporting federation. The 44-year-old Lappartient promised "radical changes" including banning the out-of-competition use of corticosteroids, the drug taken by Bradley Wiggins under a therapeutic use exemption to treat a pollen allergy. Lappartient also said that he will ban the use of tramadol, the "powerful but legal painkiller" that British cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke claimed was offered “freely around” at the '12 world championships by a team doctor. The Frenchman also promised to "introduce thermal imaging sensors and X-ray scanners to test bikes for hidden motors, and to crack down on possible race-fixing" (LONDON TIMES, 9/21). In London, Sean Ingle reported Lappartient vowed to rid the sport of the "corruption" that he said had left the UCI with a "disastrous reputation." Cookson was "left licking his wounds." In a speech to delegates before the vote, he "promised to double the UCI’s investment in women’s cycling and appealed to be allowed to continue the work he had started." Yet he "failed to win them over." Reports suggested he "did not get a single vote from the 15 European delegates." Afterward, he "fiercely defended his presidency, insisting he had lifted cycling out of the gutter" during his reign and had changed the UCI for the better since replacing Irishman Pat McQuaid. Cookson: "The UCI I leave behind is unrecognizable from the organization I took over in 2013 and I depart with my head held high." He added that he was "most proud of his work in promoting gender equality and supporting nations," which he claimed "inspired and excited millions more around the world" (GUARDIAN, 9/21).
OUTPLAYED: In London, Tom Cary reported Cookson's camp had become "increasingly nervous" in the final few days of campaigning that its man had been "outmanoeuvred politically." McQuaid's presence in Norway "lent the election an air of intrigue," with rumors that Lappartient had promised the Irishman an honorary role if he helped to get him elected. Whether "that happens, time will tell." But either way, the result "was overwhelming." Lappartient, a man who had been a supporter of Cookson's campaign four years ago and was a UCI VP under Cookson, "proved by far the more popular candidate." Lappartient announced his intention to run in June, "arguing that Cookson had been weak and ineffective" as president and possessed neither "ambition" nor "vision" (TELEGRAPH, 9/21).