Cycling: Brian Cookson takes on Pat McQuaid to 'rescue' UCI's reputation


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The Independent Online

Brian Cookson, the British Cycling president, will challenge Pat McQuaid for the presidency of the UCI in what he claims is a bid to rebuild the world governing body's battered standing.

Cookson, who had previously backed McQuaid's re-election bid, said in a statement provided by British Cycling that the "widespread absence of confidence in the integrity of the organisation" led him to stand against the incumbent.

The 61-year-old also promised to carry out a fully independent investigation into the allegations of corruption "which have so damaged the UCI's reputation".

"The first priority for the new UCI president must be to change the way that anti-doping is managed so that people can have confidence in the sport," Cookson said.

McQuaid is seeking a third four-year term in September despite criticism of his leadership in the Lance Armstrong doping case.

"The passion I and many others have for cycling cannot hide the fact that our international body, the UCI, remains hugely distracted, continuing to flounder in waves of damaging historical controversies," Cookson said.

"For far too many people, our sport is associated with doping, with decisions that are made behind closed doors and with ceaseless conflicts with important members of the cycling family and other key stakeholders.

"Cycling is not the only sport with problems but if we don't have a sport that parents can send their children to with absolute confidence then we are failing," Cookson said.

"If elected I will devote myself to rebuilding relations with Wada [the World Anti-Doping Authority] and establishing with them a completely independent body to deal with anti-doping in cycling so that no one can doubt that it is being tackled without fear or favour."

Meanwhile, Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen won a bunch sprint at the end of the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné as Britain's Chris Froome remained in touch with the overall leaders.

Boasson Hagen powered home after being led out by team-mates Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas. Froome finished safely in the peloton as the 167km (104 miles) stage ended in Tarare, just west of Lyon.

The Briton remains one minute and 57 seconds behind leader David Veilleux, but has slipped to 11th overall.

Stage four today features a 32.5km (20 miles) individual time trial from Villars-les-Dombes to Parc des Oiseaux.