After what the media reported as a chaotic UCI Congress, Brian Cookson took the UCI presidency with a 24-18 vote margin.
24 delegates chose to pick Cookson in spite of conclusions from the UCI Ethics Commission, which condemned the actions of Mike Plant and Igor Makarov surrounding the Bergen Dossier as reported by Inside the Games.
UCI vice president Artur Lopes also pointed out the Swiss Cycling nomination withdrawal was illegal under Swiss law, after a long debate about the validity of Pat McQuaid’s nomination. According to same Inside the Games article, a Swiss lawyer also spoke to the validity of McQuaid’s nominations from Thailand and Morocco.
Cookson, showing backbone for the first time in the campaign, stood up and demanded a straight vote between the two candidates, a move which may have swayed a few delegates in his direction. Could it have been the defining moment of his victory, or was it all the alleged payolas made by his support staff which sealed his victory?
At the conclusion of the election, we see how successful the public relation campaign by Vero Communications was, and how influential Igor Makarov has become in the sport of cycling in a very short period of time.
While many are rejoicing with the supposed change at the UCI, it remains to be seen if we will see a change beyond a different power group presiding over the sport. If the election of Tracey Gaudry and Daniel Lappartient as vice presidents are any indication, there may be a steady stream of rewards coming to the Cookson camp members.
On the topic of rewards, the first deal signed by the newly elected president was to award a clothing contract to Italian-based REMO, run by former pro rider Martin Havik. The obscurity of Havik’s company makes the decision curious.
Cookson begins his presidency with a clothing deal deserving investigation, a scandal in the making with Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s dodgy blood profile, an alleged payoff to the Greek Cycling Federation, and staff who attempt to bribe and intimidate the St. Lucia Cycling Federation. Is it an omen of the future for Cookson with his presidency beginning with a British doping investigation and the other drama? How will the new president handle these situations?
It is the hope of those who contributed to this blog that social media, the press, and the public hold Cookson as accountable as they held McQuaid. Will they continue to turn a blind eye towards Makarov and the rest of the Cookson camp and their activities?