Brian Cookson vows to hunt down cycling's drug pushers if he makes UCI President

British candidate for UCI presidency calls for team staff to face strict rules over doping

Brian Cookson on Monday promised to introduce fit-and-proper person tests for team staff among a raft of anti-doping measures if the Briton succeeds in ousting Pat McQuaid as president of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, in a bid to ensure the “mood of scepticism” surrounding the sport is banished.

Cookson wants to restore a climate where triumphs such as Chris Froome’s performance in the Tour de France can be “heralded not disparaged” and bring an end to the sport’s “on-going credibility” problem.

The head of British Cycling believes the constant questioning of any successful rider’s achievements is damaging the Tour and the sport as a whole. Cookson is challenging McQuaid, a controversial figure seeking a third term as president, on a platform founded on a radical overhaul of how the sport deals with doping, an issue that has dogged it with increasing harm over the last decade.

Cookson wants team managers, doctors and sporting directors to undergo a fit-and-proper person test, a greater focus on catching and punishing “doping enablers”, ie any coaches or other support staff who help a rider to cheat, as well as the sharing of riders’ performance data with anti-doping organisations – as Team Sky have offered to do amid persistent questioning of Froome’s performances on some of the climbs in particular on the Tour.

“This year’s Tour de France has seen many heroic performances yet there has been a mood of scepticism and doubt in some quarters,” said Cookson. “This is deeply frustrating for the riders but, if you look at the past and what our sport has been through, it is not a surprise.

“We must act to change this situation so that the public can feel confident and cycling’s great performances can be heralded not disparaged. After a magnificent end to the 100th Tour de France, the UCI owes it to all the clean riders to show leadership on anti-doping.”

McQuaid, whose tenure at the UCI oversaw part of the Lance Armstrong era, has been heavily criticised for the governing body’s response to the doping scandals, in particular that of Armstrong. McQuaid has vigorously defended his record and remains a narrow favourite for September’s vote in Florence, held during the world road championships.

When Cookson announced his manifesto for the presidency last month it included the establishment of an independent anti-doping body for cycling. Yesterday he added more detail to his plan. Cookson, who has overseen the dramatic boom in British cycling, proposes setting up an independent investigation into the doping scandals and the UCI’s response to them, as well as improving relations with anti-doping organisations.

“In light of the continuing issues arising from the Armstrong era and cycling’s on-going credibility problem, more can and must be done,” he said. “It has nearly always required a third party such as government, the police or a national anti-doping agency to launch major investigations into doping in cycling.

“The UCI has rarely seemed willing to take the initiative and it is critical that this changes as a matter of urgency. Looking ahead, the UCI must demonstrate true leadership and show a real desire to deal with the past and properly tackle doping in the future. I believe this is essential for the sport, for the riders, for the fans and for the sponsors.”

Cookson supports the World Anti-Doping Agency’s proposed four-year bans – which will be in place from 2015 – and their imposition on guilty coaches and medical staff too, but it is his proposed fit-and-proper person test that stands out.

He said: “If elected UCI president I will introduce a fit-and-proper-person’s test in cycling, taking the example from regulations which govern who is fit to be a company director. I want to see the UCI adopt a process by which team managers, team doctors and sports directors are assessed for their suitability to be in a position of authority in the sport.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 HGV Driver - with CPC

£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £40,000

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence