He later spoke to the media at the race, answering a range of questions on the planned Team Alonso and the new Hour Record rules. Cookson said the planned reforms of the race calendar for 2017 needs sacrifices and changes from everyone involved but reassured the Italian media that there were no plans to reduce the length of the Giro d'Italia.
Cookson also gave an update on the work of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission that has been created by the UCI to investigate cycling's doping past and gather possible confessions in a kind of truth and reconciliation process.
"It's independent and so I don't know exactly what it's doing, we only provided the budget and chose the three very good people. However I know they are carrying out their work diligently," Cookson said.
"I attended an update meeting a few weeks ago and I understand that some very significant and interesting people have come forward and spoken to the commission. Their work is continuing around the world. There are some very interesting people coming forward. I don’t know their names but I've been advised their work is progressing very well."
No special treatment for Team Alonso
The UCI was irked by recent reports that Fernando Alonso has been trying to obtain some special treatment as he tries to create a new WorldTour team. Cookson made it clear that Alonso, like any new team owner or sponsor, will have to respect and follow the rules and regulations concerning the WorldTour and team registration.
"Everyone has to follow the rules, no one will get special treatment," Cookson said.
"We will be as helpful with Alonso as we are with everyone else. It's great they're interested, we want to support a new team like that because we've lost too many teams but they have to respect the regulations."
"The rules aren't there to make things difficult. Just a few years ago a well-known directeur sportif was fooled by a fake sponsor. The point of the rules is to assure there is a genuine sponsor and that the team is bona fide. That is right and proper thing to do. The rules apply to everyone."
Only Biological Passport holders can attempt the Hour Record
Cookson said the rules for the Hour Record had been updated to attract attempts from some of the best riders in the world. He said that any rider attempting the Hour Record will have to be part of the Biological Passport programme.
"After looking at the old regulations, my feelings and those of colleagues where that there was an outdated set of regulations. It (using a traditional position like Eddy Merckx did in 1972) was nice idea at the time but it's an idea whose time had past," he said.
"We are now accepting applications to go for the record and hope that riders like Cancellara, Wiggins, Tony Martin and even the Australians like Jack Bobridge, who beat Chris Boardman's 4km record, will go for it."
"However nobody can just rock up and have a go, it has to be pre-planned and were likely to insist that it is someone who is in the Biological Passport."
Cookson said he will attend the start of stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia on Friday morning and then return to Switzerland before a trip to Kazakhstan.