Brian Cookson will award medals in the World Championships and begin making changes immediately if elected cycling’s president on Friday morning. The president of British Cycling is running against Pat McQuaid, UCI President for the last eight years.
“I’ll take over immediately, Friday morning,” Cookson told Cycling Weekly. “The president changes after the end of congress.”
The UCI Congress meets Friday morning at 9:00 to discuss several issues and to hold elections. According to Paddy Power, Cookson is favoured to win at 1.25 to 1. It lists McQuaid at 3.5 to 1.
McQuaid presented medals this week at the UCI’s World Championships, which is now in its 80th year. If he loses, however, Cookson would be on the podium. His first official act could be to present the hardware and rainbow jersey in the UCI’s crown event, the men’s road race on Sunday. The UCI’s press office was unavailable when contacted today to confirm the medal ceremony procedures.
The congress meets in central Florence, not far from where Cookson spoke with press this morning. Several items are on its agenda, including deciding if McQuaid can even stand for election. After Ireland and Switzerland refused, he received a dual nomination from Thailand and Morocco. The Malaysian federation proposed the joint nomination process, which has to win congress’s vote on Friday.
If the proposal is allowed, the congress would then hold the elections. Delegates from five confederations vote, the winner needs a majority, 22 of 42.
“It’ll be a bad day for cycling if I’m not elected,” Cookson said in the press conference. “It’s been a troublesome era; if I’m not elected then that era will continue.”
Cookson, if elected, will begin work immediately on changing cycling’s credibility. He rated cycling five out of 10, but said that cycling can reach eight or even 10.
“It’s going to be a long process, no doubt,” Cookson said. “The first thing I’ll do on Monday morning is to put a call in with WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] to get a commission [into alleged UCI fraud] underway. We want to get it underway very quickly. Let’s begin an independent anti-doping agency, start to build trust in our sport.”
Cookson has a busy 48 hours as a member of the UCI Management Committee, head of British Cycling and UCI presidential candidate. (British Cycling Stalwart, Bob Howden is slated to lead the national federation if Cookson becomes UCI President.) He said that he feels confident in winning and hopes McQuaid plays by the rules.
“I think the UCI has seen too much of these shenanigans, these kind of machinations,” Cookson said. “In the future, I want to run a UCI that’s not marked by these kinds of things.”