Brian Cookson has rejected claims made this morning that he has been lined up as a replacement for Pat McQuaid as president of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Cookson refuted the speculation linking him to the UCI’s top job and insisted that he is fully supportive of the Irishman, who has been in the role since 2005.

“There’s not a vacancy and I’m not a candidate,” he said. “I’m 100% supportive of Pat McQuaid and I think speculation is unhelpful at this stage when there are some delicate negotiations underway.”

McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen have come under intense scrutiny in recent months following the damning revelations concerning Lance Armstrong. The UCI recently set up a commission to investigate the allegations of corruption that have dogged the governing body, which Cookson believes should be fully supported.

“The important thing is to get everyone behind those negotiations, sat around the table, in agreement, and let the various investigations and commissions run their course,” he added.

Cookson also cemented his personal support for McQuaid, adding that the 65 year-old is “misunderstood in many ways.”

“When you think what the UCI has done in the last few years, pursuing offenders when other sports have let people off on the flimsiest of excuses,” he said, “I think the UCI has got a good record in anti-doping that Pat can be proud of. I know that’s not a popular line but its true.”

In late 2012, before the Armstrong evidence was released by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), Cookson had expressed to CW his reluctance to consider taking up the role. He maintained this was still the case.

“It’s a very demanding job,” he said, “and its not on my agenda to go after it.”

Related links

UCI Independent Commission comes under fire from WADA

WADA chief slams Lance Armstrong interview


  • vendeeu

    I suppose Sam you think Armstrong is clean too

  • dai bananas brother

    Dai’s missus says they had better get a move on and elect somebody because she has just heard that Geraint has won the stage in Australia. So before you look around it will be Paris-Roubaix and they will still be scratching their backsides. Apart from also proposing Nicole to be in charge, she also reckons the HQ should be moved to Aberystwyth, as a full clearout of the present incumbents is required. Aberystwyth would be a perfect venue for meetings, either at the National Library or on the beach. It will also stop that annoying habit of people ‘jetting in and out’ as the nearest airfield is 50 miles away. If readers think this is a ‘spoof’ idea, think again. it’s nowhere near as ridiculous as the idea of Cookson being suitable for the post

  • Robert

    Brian Cookson was more fully reported in The Independent as saying, “I am fully supportive of UCI president Pat McQuaid, who, since his election in 2005, has done an impressive job in frequently difficult circumstances. Any speculation at this difficult time is particularly unhelpful, and I think it is absolutely vital for the future of our sport that we all remain united.” Talk about ‘closing ranks”! The sport, and especially the UCI, needs a thorough housecleaning, and Cookson has now shown the world that he is not man enough for that particular job. As the French say, “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”. Apart from highlighting the complicity of the UCI, the Armstrong case demonstrated the need for everyone, including fans and journalists, to always view the sport with a critical, open mind. However, with the media are still doing their best to ignore many ’embarrassing’ doping related stories, especially in relation to Team Sky, indicating that nothing has really been learned from the past. Cookson, as a member of the Operating Board of Team Sky, has every reason to keep quite on this particular issue as well. Similarly, has the investigation by the UK anti-doping agency into the alleged widespread doping on the Linda McCartney team even been mentioned on here? Unfortunately, it is looking more and more as though the sport of cycling is irredeemably corrupted.

  • Vendeeu

    Excellent Mark,your post sums it up

  • stuart stanton

    Nicole Cooke for President – Intelligent, without fear and most certailnly unbiased Also well- versed in French, German etc. With Dame Tammi -Tanni rather – on the drugs panel that would put two wonderful Wesh women in charge of world cycling, And why not? Merched Bendigedig Iawn.

  • Sam

    Mark: I’m afraid you’ve been reading the Cyclismas garbarge too much. Apart from the rest of the absolute rubbish they spout, including all the ‘hint hint Sky are doping’ rubbish, they published a spoof article end last year pretending that Cookson was proposing Hoy as UCI President.

    Now stop and have a think about that for just a moment. What part of any of that makes sense to you? Engage brain and the answer is: not one iota.

    Cyclismas publish what’s known as snark i.e. satire. It was a fabricated story which they put out to be ‘amusing’.

    As for the Sutton business, what a load of cobblers. Sky announced his new role on their website a full 3 weeks ago. It was commented on at that time. Then last Friday, other people who didnt do their research suddenly noticed it, and decided that Sky had been trying to bury ‘bad news’.

    Again, you’re reading stuff by idiotic journos who dont do their research properly, and by bloggers etc who get themselves whipped up into a ridiculous frenzy.

    And by the look of your comment, and the one you made yesterday, so do you.

  • Mark Evans

    “Does not want the job” like heck he doesn’t ! Cookson is politicking ! Latest ruse is saying Chris Hoy should do it ! My, my, we are just going to have to twist his arm up his back and force the “best man for the job” to do it! Thank you so much !

    Cookson has been on the Board since around 2000. If he had a spine he would have insisted on a proper independent commission years ago and certainly had the finances investigated as soon as the “donation from Lance for “equipment to fight the war on doping” raised its head. If I think of all the people I know who have principles, I doubt any could have stayed on the board over the last 15 months whilst the UCI sued Kimmage and Floyd, as Cookson has. That for me is the defining act. He should have resigned.

    The highly restrictive terms of reference imposed on the current “independent” inquiry were his brainchild, and he was touting this as the panacea for the “new” UCI. From the moment it was announced that their terms of reference were decided by the UCI board, it was obvious it was a whitewash vehicle, before you even read them. Glad WADA and USADA took the stance they did.

    As posted by Barry – Cookson knows the Omerta applies at Board level every bit as it does amongst the foot-soldiers in the peloton.

    He is one of the Directors of Team Sky. Why has he been silent over the hiring of Barry, Yates, Leinders, Julrich and the others? That latest move of Sutton “on a good day to bury bad news” just stank. All this was always going to come back and bite them on the bum, & if I could spot it with my modest involvement in cycling, “team marginal gains” certainly knew what they were doing. If you were serious about being clean – you avoided people like that. Poor management. They just thought they could get away with it.

    I sincerely hope we get a new team at the UCI. Only a fool would contemplate keeping someone like Cookson on the board. Sadly I think he is hot favourite and will be in post in 6 months time. Even more sadly I think we will have yet another drugs scandal rock the sport in the years ahead.

  • barry

    Wonder how long it was after the CW headline ‘Brian Cookson touted as new UCI leader’ that Cookson got the call from El President ??
    Quote ‘ Brian remember the olde boys club rules – you dont spit in the soup’ !!!!!

  • Stephen Mills

    I can understand Mr. Cookson being reluctant or covert about candidacy for UCI President. I cannot understand how an intelligent person, committed to RE-establishing the credibility of cycling’s governance, can be so overt in support of the authoritarian and divisive current post-holder.

    The recent farcical discourse with WADA concerning the remit and objectivity of the UCI’s ostensibly Independent Panel is yet another glaring example of McQuaid’s recurrent failure to keep even the UCI’s friends on-side.

    Credibility for the governance, and ultimately the sport, of cycling will not be achieved without urgent and sweeping change in personnel and culture of the UCI. I fervently hope that this will happen and that British Cycling will demonstrate thoughtful and strong leadership in this regard. The time has never been more opportune for the architect’s of great and clean British achievement in cycling to do so.

  • Peter Goodall

    I quote “McQuaid is missunderstood”un quote.I’m pleased Mr Cookson doesn’t want the U.C.I. job.No more to be said.