Brian Cookson gets down to business

Brian Cookson

Brian Cookson has settled quickly into his new role as UCI President and is already implementing manifesto commitments just two weeks into the position.

Speaking publicly about the new post ahead of the Tour of Beijing, Cookson announced a number of staff changes at the UCI, notably the departure of Director General Christophe Hubschmid and legal counsel Philippe Verbiest.

The move ends almost 30 years of association between the UCI and Verbiest, who worked closely with former presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid.

Other changes include the end of legal action against Paul Kimmage and steps to further the growth of women's cycling as the 62-year-old continues his shake-up.

After naming three new vice-presidents shortly after his election win on 27 September, Cookson has said he is keen to continue to make further changes as well as increasing the UCI's working relationship with the anti-doping agencies.

"We have started the work of establishing a high level dialogue with WADA to plan how we will proceed with the independent investigation into the UCI's past," said Cookson.

"We have also been making contact with other key stakeholders in this area, including USADA, other national anti-doping organisations and the French Sports Ministry.

"On the issue of staffing, some changes are needed and I can confirm that former Director General Christophe Hubschmid has left the UCI and that Antonio Rigozzi of Levy Kaufmann-Kohler is now assisting us as external legal counsel.

"I would like to thank Christophe for his contribution to the UCI and wish him well for the future. I would also like to thank our previous legal counsel Philippe Verbiest for his many years of hard work and commitment to the UCI.

"We have also confirmed the decision to revoke the age limit of 28 that existed for UCI Women's Teams and to form a new Commission for women's cycling to help facilitate the growth of women's elite racing.

"And earlier this week I called Paul Kimmage to tell him that the UCI has withdrawn from the legal action against him.

Cookson has enjoyed a busy first fortnight with the UCI and says he has been pleased with the progress they have made in such a short space of time and is encouraged by the future of the sport.

"These early days are very important for the UCI," he added.

"We have embarked on the process of implementing our manifesto commitments so that we can re-establish our International Federation's reputation and make it the best and most respected in the world. I believe that we have made a good start.

"An extraordinary Management Committee meeting will take place on 29 October where we shall assess our progress in implementing my manifesto pledges and plan for the important period ahead of us.

"Over the coming weeks I am looking forward to meeting with my friends and colleagues in the Olympic movement, including the new IOC President, Thomas Bach, and Rio 2016 President, Carlos Nuzman.

Yesterday Cookson also addressed his concerns over the financial state of a number of the pro teams pior to the start of the Tour of Beijing.

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