• Cycling news

Cookson elected new UCI president

ESPN staff
September 27, 2013
Brian Cookson defeated Pat McQuaid - who was vying for a third term as UCI president © AP

Brian Cookson has been named new president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) following a dramatic election in Florence on Friday, where he defeated fellow Brit Pat McQuaid.

Cookson beat the incumbent McQuaid by 24 votes to 18 at the Palazzo Vecchio, but the election was thrown into chaos when delegates began to argue over McQuaid's eligibility to stand.

The Irishman was seeking his third term as UCI president, a position which he has held since 2005, but discussions over his right to stand lasted over four hours until Cookson stepped in to acknowledge it.

Cookson called for a straight vote and was soon rewarded with election as world cycling's most powerful man, before issuing his intention to completely liberate the sport's anti-doping procedures.

"It is a huge honour to have been elected president of the UCI by my peers and I would like to thank them for the trust they have placed in me today," he said.

"My first priorities as president will be to make anti-doping procedures in cycling fully independent, sit together with key stakeholders in the sport and work with WADA to ensure a swift investigation into cycling's doping culture.

"It is by doing these things that we will build a firm platform to restore the reputation of our international federation with sponsors, broadcasters, funding partners, host cities and the International Olympic Committee. Ultimately this is how we grow our sport worldwide and get more riders and fans drawn into cycling."

Cookson will now step down as president of British Cycling, where he has overseen 19 Olympic gold medals and 28 Paralympic golds for Great Britain - plus successive Tour de France winners in Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

He also held the role of International Commissaire for the UCI between 1986 and 2009.

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