UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson has launched his six-point manifesto at a press conference in Paris, France, on Monday.
The manifesto, which is titled "Restoring Trust, Leading Change", contains six broad pledges which all centre around the improvement of the governance of the sport and restoring the UCI's credibility.
First and foremost, Cookson hopes to "rebuild trust in the UCI". In the last two years, the governing body has faced renewed and far reaching criticism for their handling and reaction to the USADA report into doping in the US Postal team. The UCI has also faced allegations of corruption and the cover up of positive tests, although current UCI President Pat McQuaid has already rebuffed the allegations.
Cookson’s second pledge ties neatly with his first, with the head of British Cycling planning to "transform anti-doping in cycling". In addition, he plans to "grow cycling across the globe, develop women’s cycling, overhaul elite road cycling and strengthen cycling’s credibility and influence within the Olympic Movement."
“I believe the most important challenge for the new President is to restore trust in the UCI, and most importantly to rebuild people’s faith in the way that anti-doping is dealt with. We need to give people reasons to believe that the future will be different from the past. We must build a culture of trust and confidence,” he said.
“If elected, my first priority will be to establish a completely independent anti-doping unit, managed and governed outside of the UCI and in full cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This unit would be physically and politically separate from the UCI, responsible for all aspects of anti doping, and report to a board totally independent from the UCI.”
With regards to the USADA report, Cookson reaffirmed his position to set up an independent investigation into the allegations and quell the growing tensions that have arisen between the WADA, AFLD, USADA and the UCI.
“It is critical that the UCI embraces a more open and transparent approach in the way it conducts business. Leading by example, I will introduce a range of good governance measures, including the publishing of all my financial interests, remuneration package and any potential conflicts of interest relating to the office of President. Once we have restored trust in cycling and the UCI, it will make our other tasks of developing the sport worldwide so much easier.”
“It is through these pledges that I hope to begin a new era of collaboration, openness and transparency in cycling and restore the trust that has been lost in our great sport. I passionately believe that I can steer the UCI to a much firmer footing and, in full partnership with the cycling family, help grow our sport at every level across the world.”