By Laura Weislo
American Jonathan Vaughters was elected Thursday as president of the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Garmin-Slipstream manager was voted into the post by representatives of the sport's top teams, and succeeds Frenchman Eric Boyer.
Vaughters said he hopes to use his new role to help bridge some of the gaps which have formed between the teams, race organisers and the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI).
"My first goal is to try to patch up some of the deep wounds which have been inflicted over the past years, and to unify the teams so that we can have a common mission – to present cycling as a professional and unified sport," Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
In the past, the AIGCP president has done everything from demanding riders are put up in decent hotels to fighting to save the season when the political war between Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the UCI threatened to bring it to a halt.
Having raced for a French team and made his residence in Spain during his professional career, Vaughters not only speaks the languages of most professional teams, but also understands their culture – an ideal attribute for someone who's role will be to be an ambassador between the teams and outside organisations.
A noted advocate of clean cycling, Vaughters hopes to get everyone on the same page in the war against doping, and is suggesting to bring the World Anti-Doping Agency into the discussion. "I think everyone is focused on the same goals as far as anti-doping, but they all have different ideas of how to go about it – all valid, but different."
"My hope is to re-unify all of the sides so that cycling can present itself as a professional sport with a common voice."