Cookson fires back at Verbruggen's 'agreement' claims as UCI feud continues

UCI president Brian Cookson says a confidential agreement made with Hein Verbruggen is now null, with the former president not respecting his commitments

Brian Cookson on stage fourteen of the 2014 Tour de France (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

It's pretty safe to assume that Brian Cookson and Hein Verbruggen are not on each other's Christmas card list this year, with the current and former UCI presidents disagreeing once more - this time on a supposed agreement between the pair.

In March, Cookson asked Verbruggen to step down from his position of honorary president at the UCI in light of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission's (CIRC) report, which didn't paint the Dutchman and his successor Pat McQuaid in a particularly good light.

Verbruggen, unsurprisingly, refused Cookson's suggestions, claiming that he was 'proud' of his legacy and instead set about planning to sue the UCI over the CIRC report.

Come December, though, Verbruggen was claiming that he and Cookson had come to an agreement, telling that “Mr. Cookson renounces definitively from asking me to resign from my Honorary-Presidency and agrees not to mention this question anymore publicly or privately."

Cookson responded to Verbruggen's claims, which also included the fact that the UCI would pay £29,000 towards his legal costs, with a short, but comprehensive statement on Twitter.

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"I was elected to change the way the UCI conducts itself and therefore, following a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), I indeed met with Mr Hein Verbruggen last summer," the statement read.

"We came to a confidential agreement which was to ensure, amongst other things, that he would stop using his influence to criticise and cause trouble for the UCI.

"Since Mr Verbruggen never respected his commitments, the agreement is considered null.

"No money has ever been paid to Mr Verbruggen since I became President."

Something tells me this won't be the last we hear from this feud.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.