Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) presidency candidate Brian Cookson has released his manifesto, outlining how and why he would change professional cycling and the organisation that governs it.
Currently president of British Cycling and a member of the UCI management committee, Cookson announced his intention to run for UCI president on June 4. He will run against current president Pat McQuaid, who is seeking a third term in the post.
Cookson’s manifesto is entitled ‘Restoring Trust, Leading Change’. In it, Cookson sets out what he will bring to the role of UCI President.
“I am a cyclist. Cycling has been at the heart of my life for as long as I can remember. It has shaped my personality and I will always be grateful for the sheer enjoyment, inspiration and opportunity that cycling has given me,” Cookson says in the opening paragraph.
“The UCI must take the steps necessary to restore cycling’s and its own credibility, in particular in relation to the public perception of cycling’s anti-doping measures and current leadership.
“The passion I and many others have for cycling cannot hide the fact that our international body, the UCI, remains hugely distracted, continuing to flounder in waves of damaging historical controversies.
“For far too many people our sport is associated with doping, with decisions that are made behind closed doors and with ceaseless conflicts with the cycling family and key stakeholders. This situation is deeply damaging for our sport, and it has severely compromised the UCI’s ability to develop and communicate much of the good work that is happening across the world.”
Brian Cookson’s six pledges
1. Revolutionise our approach to anti-doping
2. Embrace openess and transparency
3. Grow cycling worldwide
4. Develop women’s cycling
5. Overhaul the structure of elite road cycling
6. Embrace the future together
The manifesto then goes into greater detail on each of these points. For anti-doping, Cookson proposes using completely independent anti-doping testing, and pursuing and punshing those that assist riders to dope, rather than handing sanctions purely to the riders themselves. He also wishes to seek a swift reconciliation with the World Anti-Doping Agency to help in the fight against drugs.
Cookson also seeks to overhaul the role of President, including publishing the President’s salary and any conflict of interests. He also proposes an independent investigation into allegations of corruption within the UCI.
The development of women’s cycling is also singled out, with Cookson wishing to create a Women’s Cycling Commission and creating new events for women. He would also ‘appoint at least one woman on every UCI commission’ and introduce modern employment standards for women pro riders.
Professional cycling as a whole would also get a ‘more cohesive events calendar’ and establish a more structured, tiered system of events. He would also clarify the role of the UCI’s Global Cycling Promotion arm to prevent conflicts of interest with other events and event organisers.
Cookson concludes: “This is my manifesto and I am proud of it, but I am determined to be a listening President, and so I welcome communication with anyone who has a positive contribution to make to our great sport.
“I believe we need a new UCI defined by genuine collaboration and a strategy to deal with the issues we face rather than reacting to situations as they arise. I hope you are able to support me in embracing the future together.”