Brian Cookson has been quick to change a number of the personnel at the UCI, but no news has been issued regarding Hein Verbruggen and the Dutchman’s position as Honorary President of the sport’s governing body. At a press conference on the eve of the 2013 Tour of Beijing, Cyclingnews asked Cookson whether Verbruggen - a former President of the UCI and ally of Pat McQuaid - had retained his position.
The newly appointed UCI president said that Verbruggen was not voted in as a member of the management committee, but didn’t go as far as to deny that the 72-year-old had retained his title.
“Mr Verbruggen being named honorary UCI president was conferred to him by the congress of the UCI and it wasn’t my personal gift to him,” said Cookson. “Mr Verbruggen wasn’t voted a member of the management committee and doesn’t attend any of the meetings at the UCI any longer and that’s all I can say on the matter.”
While the UCI Congress voted in favour of Cookson the pressure is on to steer away from the “chum-ocracy” driven UCI, as described by Graeme Obree.
Head of that so-called “chum-ocracy” were McQuaid and the UCI’s honorary president Verbruggen. Despite being succeeded by McQuaid eight years ago, the former president still presided over important matters.