Well done Brian Cookson who yesterday became the president of the UCI. He was elected after a 24-18 vote over Pat McQuaid, but the vote could only take place after Cookson himself took to the stage and said he would face McQuaid in the vote. For those who don’t know McQuaid has failed to gain a nomination for the vote from his home cycling union and he tried to change the UCI constitution to allow him to stand. In my opinion this is one issue Cookson needs to sort out so we don’t witness this farce again. It took about 4 hours for the vote to happen after debates if McQuaid should be allowed to stand. From an outsiders perspective well done Cookson for saying enough was enough and forcing a vote. It was a risk as he could have lost, but he didn’t and as said yesterday the work starts this weekend.
It certainly is a big job to clean up the image of cycling due to its past and the high profile drugs issue which has dogged the sport in the past. I think a culture shift is happening within the sport lead by world pro teams such as Garmin Sharp, Orica Greenedge and the total zero tolerance approach of Team Sky, and this will help but the UCI need to take a close look at its internal operations and get its own house in order. Evidence of this can be seen from the debates or debacle of the congress yesterday which we only know about as the media were allowed in to witness the events.
The public now know much more about what went on in the past, Tyler Hamilton and David Millar have shared their personal accounts of how doping affected their careers and finally Lance Armstrong admitted on TV that he had doped during the Tour de France which resulted in his name being removed from the record books. However when Chris Froome is booed when on one of the stages of this years tour and then a 41 year old (Chris Horner) wins the Veulta, one of the first questions is we’re they doping, or what have they used to get around the tests? If nothing else this proves the UCI has a long way to go to restore the image and confidence with the public worldwide that cycling is clean.
It will be interesting to see how Brain Cookson does with his goal to repair cycling and it’s image. It has to be said that he has done a superb job in transforming British Cycling over the past 16 years and hope he can do the same with the UCI. It is certainly going to be a difficult job but I have the belief if you want the job done then get the right person in to do it. I think they have. Well done Brain and we look forward to the UCI and cycling becoming a sport with a reputation it should be proud of, one for great sporting challenges and fantastic sporting moments.