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Brian Cookson: I don't want Lance Armstrong's endorsement

UCI President Brian Cookson discusses mechanical doping tests with a select group of journalists

UCI President Brian Cookson discusses mechanical doping tests with a select group of journalists
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Incumbent UCI President Brian Cookson has told Cyclingnews he is happy that Lance Armstrong has turned against him on social media, considering it a positive endorsement of the work he has done during his first term to fight the problems of doping and to drag the sport from the "dark old days" when Hein Verbruggen and, later, Pat McQuaid were UCI President and Armstrong was at the height of his powers.

When Frenchman David Lappartient confirmed last week that he would stand against Cookson, Armstrong tweeted "ABC (Anybody But Cookson)" above a message from Lappartient. Armstrong's former team manager Johan Bruyneel, who was also banned for doping offences, also pitched in with criticism.

No Alpha-male

Cookson, formerly a town planner before entering full-time cycling politics, is known for being a mild-mannered man. He occasionally lets slip and speaks his mind when not reading from carefully prepared speeches or one-liners from his communications consultants, but he has preferred a strategy of diplomacy rather than Alpha-male leadership.

The ghosts of British Cycling's past

In his first election bid in 2013 Cookson was able to use his tenure as the president of British Cycling and the success of the sport in Britain at every level as his calling card. Four years on, things are very different after a series of damaging accusations about bullying and poor management. UK Anti-Doping is still investigating possible wrongdoing at Team Sky and there has been little clarity on the Jiffy Bag scandal that embroiled the team, manager Dave Brailsford and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

Nothing personal against ASO

Cookson that he will be in Dusseldorf for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France on Saturday. UCI presidents have been 'persona non grata' at ASO's flagship race in the past but Cookson insisted he has a good working relationship with the management from the dominant French race organiser despite disputes and power struggles about the structure of the men's WorldTour.