UCI president Brian Cookson has come under criticism from Lance Armstrong for a lack of vision and inability to 'take people down'. Armstrong, who risks financial ruin from a federal whistle-blower lawsuit launched by ex-teammate Floyd Landis, made the statements in an interview with journalists at his house in Aspen, Colorado.
Armstrong stated that, despite Cookson's public statements regarding the sport, the president has been underwhelming in his attempts to effect change.
"You guys can decide if he has done a good job, if he's been tough on Astana, whether he's stuck with his mission statement. Plenty of people would argue he's laid down on a lot of things. Whether it's expedited TUEs [Therapeutic Use Exemptions], or Astana, Cookson is not very good at taking people down," he said according to the Irish Times.
Armstrong is due to ride a cancer fundraising charity event with former England footballer Geoff Thomas next month in France, known as One Day Ahead. When the announcement was made in March that Armstrong would join Thomas in riding the Tour de France route ahead of the race, Cookson called him "completely disrespectful."
"I'm sure that Geoff Thomas means well, but frankly I think that's completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Tour, disrespectful to the current riders, and disrespectful to the UCI and the anti-doping community," Cookson said at the time. "I think Lance would be well advised not to take part in that."
Armstrong added that Cookson should be focused on the bigger picture and not his appearance at charity events, even if the American had contributed to on-going issues within the sport regarding doping and creditability.
"I mean, I don't know Brian Cookson," said Armstrong. "I don't know what his vision is for the sport. I don't know if he is even able to form a vision. But I do know that me and Geoff riding in France is the least of his problems."
"If he is making public comments — and this is as strong as I'll go — he needs to be talking about other things because this sport is not in a good place for a variety of reasons. A lot of it has to do — perhaps some would say — with me. But he doesn't need to worry about this."