• Cycling news

Cookson wants independent anti-doping unit

ESPN staff
June 25, 2013
Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France titles in 2012 © Getty Images

President of British Cycling Brian Cookson says he will look to establish an independent unit to oversee anti-doping matters, if he is chosen as the next president of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Cookson, 62, will challenge current UCI leader Pat McQuaid when elections are held in September, and believes the sport is suffering a crisis of confidence in the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

"The reality is that the UCI is not trusted, our anti-doping is not seen to be independent and we don't have the trust of the World Anti-doping Agency [Wada] and the other key anti-doping agencies," Cookson told BBC Sport.

"At the moment, the anti-doping service within the UCI headquarters is just down the corridor of the president's office so that can't be right.

"If elected president, I would rapidly establish a completely independent anti-doping unit, in cooperation with Wada. It will be managed and governed outside of the UCI so people can have absolute confidence in our sport."

Irishman McQuaid, who is seeking a third term as president, was quick to criticise his opponent's manifesto, dimissing it as "fundamentally flawed".

"Brian Cookson's election manifesto is half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical," McQuiad said."Just telling people what they want to hear is easy.

"He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen. He must also make a clear statement on whether he believes that cycling has changed, as many of today's riders have said loudly and clearly."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.