Brian Cookson, the current president of British Cycling, has released a manifesto in support of his candidacy for UCI President. In this, he outlines his aims, ambitions and promises, including plans to help develop women's cycling.
He's one of two candidates running for election in 2013 - his rival for the post is the current incumbent Pat McQuaid, who is seeking re-election.
Brian Cookson was awarded an OBE for services to cycling in 2008, and has been President of British Cycling since 1997.
In that time, he has overseen numerous British cycling achievements including 19 Olympic Gold Medals, 28 Paralympic Gold Medals, a British Tour de France winner and a vast quantity of road, track, MTB and BMX championship medals.
He has demonstrated his commitment to supporting women’s cycling through initiatives like the Breeze Champions network, and investment in nurturing talent such as road cyclist Elinor Barker, junior world champion.
The UCI (Union Cycliste International) is cycling’s international governing body. It’s responsible for the organisation, support, promotion and regulation of events and riders. This includes issuing racing licences, race classification, rider ranking and enforcing disciplinary rules.
The President leads the UCI, and the position is held for a term of 4 years.
The UCI’s recent past has contained much controversy, with widely reported doping scandals and accusations of a lack of support for women’s cycling. Candidates in the 2013 election are keen to show their plans to address these issues and move forward.
What is Cookson promising?
With a manifesto entitled ‘Restoring trust, leading change’, Cookson lists his 5 key ambitions, addressing the issues currently facing the UCI;
- Revolutionise the UCI’s approach to Anti-Doping
- Embrace openness and transparency
- Grow cycling worldwide
- Develop women’s cycling
- Overhaul the structure of elite road cycling
Cookson states his intention to develop a clear and rigorous strategy to make anti-doping completely independent of the UCI. This includes heavier penalties not only for riders, but also what he terms ‘doping enablers’.
He also aims to increase the ‘openness and transparency’ of the organisation by, among other elements; publishing the presidential remuneration package, any potential conflicts of interest, and ensuring riders are represented at board level.
Women’s cycling in the manifesto
One of the key elements of his bid is the development of women’s cycling, and Cookson has ambitions to make big changes. These include;
- New opportunities, events and races, particularly in the professional road scene.
- Establishment of a Women’s Cycling Commission within the UCI, to ensure representation and advocacy. This would represent riders, teams, sponsors and the media.
- An increase in the number of women’s events, and increased media coverage.
- Grass roots development for women in cycling.
- Programmes to support talent development.
- A minimum wage for women pro riders and proper terms of employment.
- Have at least one woman holding a Commission Presidency, and at least one woman on each UCI committee.
It is clear to me that equality should exist between young female riders and their male counterparts and the UCI must to do more to provide greater opportunities for female riders to progress.
It’s no secret that women’s cycling is the poor relation of the men’s sport, but in Britain we are starting to see the first signs of a recovery and although there is a long way to go, I’m very optimistic that the principles introduced are relevant to a wider, global audience via the UCI.
BRIAN COOKSON, UCI Presidential candidate 2013
Pat McQuaid is seeking re-election in what would be his third 4-year term. McQuaid introduced stronger anti-doping regulation and testing, stating that it is now possible to race and win cleanly.
In a similar vein to Cookson, he also seeks to initiate a UCI Women’s Cycling commission, and give priority to events and teams seeking ‘world tour’ status if they include women’s events and/or women’s teams.
Cycling is a changed sport and it has a bright future. My mission now is ensure that we never turn back and that we preserve the culture of change within the peloton, that we revolutionize the way that we present our sport and that we continue to develop cycling worldwide in collaboration with all of our stakeholders.
PAT MCQUAID, UCI Presidential candidate 2013
You can read McQuaid's full manifesto online here.
Voting and results
The election itself will take place in Florence, Italy on the 27th September 2013. Votes are cast by 42 members of the UCI Congress, all of who are officials of various global UCI cycling federations. The winner of the majority of the votes becomes president.