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Candidate Cookson confident ahead of election

Brian Cookson is confident he will shortly overthrow UCI President Pat McQuaid as cycling world's most powerful figure.

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 14:47
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Longtime British cycling president Brian Cookson has been disappointed by public mud-slinging of recent weeks [AFP]

With 10 days to go until the UCI presidential election, British challenger Brian Cookson believes he has easily secured enough backing to oust incumbent Pat McQuaid.

Cookson, who is the president of British Cycling, needs to secure a simple majority of 22 votes from the 42-member voting delegate of the UCI congress to become world cycling's most powerful figure.

"I'm confident that I will get a vote that is at least in the high 20s," Cookson said Tuesday ahead of the election in Florence, Italy, on September 27.

"I believe that I've got that level of support but I have to make sure that transmits into actual votes on the day."

Two months of fierce campaigning seems to be paying off for Cookson, who has pledged to rebuild cycling's image and governance after the Lance Armstrong doping affair that has stained McQuaid's two-term tenure.

The European Cycling Union said on Sunday that its members will instruct their delegates to support Cookson, giving him 14 votes. Oceania, which has three votes, has publicly backed Cookson. And Cookson said he's had good feedback from Pan-America (nine votes) after visiting last week. 

The block of African votes could be in the balance but Asia - the one continent where Cookson hasn't travelled during his campaign trail - looks to be behind McQuaid.

"I think I'm more than just the 'not Pat McQuaid' candidate," said Cookson, speaking at the headquarters of British Cycling.

"Clearly, I acknowledge there is a massive appetite for change out there and I certainly intend to live up to that and deliver on that."

100% dedication

The election battle hasn't been pretty, with Cookson admitting he has been 'really disappointed' by the public mud-slinging in recent weeks.

The latest accusation from McQuaid is that Cookson, if he wins, would be a part-time leader based in his home town in northern England.

"I will be moving to Switzerland and will be giving 100 percent to this role,'' Cookson responded on Tuesday.

I'm not very comfortable with offering Lance Armstrong much hope for the future but I guess that wouldn't be in my hands anyway, that would be in the hands of WADA

Brian Cookson, UCI presidential candidate

McQuaid, who was elected in 2006, has been accused of not holding a valid nomination to be a candidate after federations in his home country of Ireland and Switzerland, where he lives, withdrew their support. Thailand and Morocco have both put his name forward, but that would only be legitimate if amendments to UCI rules are passed in a vote in Florence.

If they are, Cookson said he wouldn't accept it and hasn't ruled out taking legal action.

"You cannot change the rules of an election once the election is under way, by any international standards of any democratic organisation," he said.

"So it's a bizarre situation that someone has even allowed that to get on the agenda."

Increasing transparency and stepping up the fight against doping in cycling would be high on Cookson's to-do list if he is voted in.

Armstrong's revelation in January that he doped for most of his stellar career, in which he won the Tour de France a record seven times, further rocked a sport already in desperate need of credibility.

Cookson said Armstrong has only told 'some of the truth' and would want the American 'to come clean with everything as soon as he can'' to stand any chance of a reduction of his life ban.

"I'm not very comfortable with offering Lance Armstrong much hope for the future but I guess that wouldn't be in my hands anyway, that would be in the hands of WADA,'' Cookson said.

"Certainly ... I think others have been treated more generously than he's been treated and I would like a more level playing field. But that doesn't necessarily mean I want to see him back.

"I certainly don't think there's any room for him in elite cycling any longer."

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Source:
AP
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