42 national federation delegates at the UCI Congress in Florence voted to see who would become the next president of the Union Cycliste Internationale. And the winner was Brian Cookson in a vote of 24 to 18.
Cookson takes up his UCI position with immediate effect.
Speaking after the result was announced, Cookson said:
“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.
"The campaign to get to this point has been intense but I am under no illusion that the real work starts now. So I call on the global cycling community to unite and come together to help ensure that our great sport realises its enormous potential. This is the vision that will drive and focus my activities over the next four years.
“I have said throughout my campaign that we must embrace a new style of governance and a collegiate way of working so that a new era of growth and commercial success for the UCI and our sport can begin.
"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.
“Finally, while there have been some difficult moments between myself and my opponent Pat McQuaid during this election contest, I would like to thank Pat for the contribution he has made to cycling during his long career. I wish him well in whatever he goes on to do.”
Cookson’s election means that he can no longer continue as president of British Cycling.
As British Cycling’s President since 1997, Cookson has overseen the transformation of an organisation on the brink of bankruptcy to one which is among the world’s leading national governing bodies.
Under Cookson’s leadership, British Cycling has seen multiple road, track, mountain bike and BMX world championship gold medals, 19 Olympic gold medals, 28 Paralympic gold medals, and two Tour de France winners. British Cycling has also inspired over one million people to take up recreational cycling since 2009.
Cookson’s appointment has been welcomed by the UK Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson.
He said: “I congratulate Brian Cookson on becoming the president of the UCI. Cycling in Britain has never been in a better place as it is right now, on both participation and elite fronts, and Brian deserves a lot of credit for that. I am sure he will do a fantastic job taking the sport forward globally.”
British Cycling has appointed board member Bob Howden to the role of Chairman until the election of a new president at National Council in November.
Speaking of Cookson’s tenure at British Cycling, Bob Howden, vice chair of British Cycling, said:
“I have had the pleasure and the privilege of working alongside Brian for 14 years, and have seen first-hand how his collegiate and honest approach to leadership has helped transform not only British Cycling, but also the sport of cycling in this country.
“I have no doubt that Brian is exactly the kind of leader that our sport needs at the highest level, and that he will be able to make a significant contribution to the sport at a global level as UCI President.
“I look forward to continuing to build on the foundations Brian has laid for cycling in Great Britain.”
Nominations for a successor to Brian Cookson will be announced on September 30th.