Cookson speaks after election loss: ‘I depart with my head held high’
Beaten in Thursday morning’s UCI presidential election, outgoing leader Brian Cookson has responded to the shock 37-8 defeat he suffered to challenger David Lappartient.
The Briton was elected four years ago when he beat then-incumbent leader Pat McQuaid. His defeat on Thursday means he is the only one-term UCI president. Despite his disappointment, he said that he is proud of what he has done during his four years in office.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate David Lappartient on winning today’s election at the UCI Congress,” said Cookson. “The UCI I leave behind is unrecognisable from the organisation I took over in 2013, and I depart with my head held high.
“Someone needed to stand up and take on the previous regime, who had dragged cycling into the gutter. I leave the UCI knowing that I have delivered all the promises I made four years ago. I am proud of the work that I have overseen and I am proud of the tireless work that my team and I have undertaken to make the UCI an International Federation that is respected around the world.”
Under Cookson, the UCI delivered the Cycling Independent Commission Report and made progress in a number of areas. Cookson’s manifesto pointed out what had been achieved but also accepted that more work lay ahead. He now won’t have a chance to implement that, with Lappartient taking over the reins.
Cookson underlined what was achieved during his term. “Our beloved sport of cycling is in a healthier condition than for generations. Our relationships with key stakeholders such as the IOC, WADA, sponsors, race organisers, teams, riders and, most importantly, our fans, is stronger than it has ever been,” he said.
“Our work to promote gender equality, our drive to broaden the appeal of our sport and ensure greater opportunities and support for developing nations means that cycling now inspires and excites millions more around the world.”
Cookson has been living in Switzerland since his election, but will now move. He will head back to Lancashire and said that he will spend more time with his family while ‘maintaining his passion for cycling.’
“I am tremendously disappointed not to have been given a mandate to complete the work we began four years ago,” he admitted. “I hope that David Lappartient will continue to move cycling in the right direction.
“I will no doubt be in the Manchester velodrome or on the hills around my home in Lancashire in the weeks to come and will continue to serve my sport in any way I can.”