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Cookson hails 2016 as a 'year of real progress'

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Brian Cookson at the Vuelta

Brian Cookson at the Vuelta
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Brian Cookson was at the 2016 Tour of Pologne

Brian Cookson was at the 2016 Tour of Pologne
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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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)
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Brian Cookson was on hand for the first women's World Cup of the year.

Brian Cookson was on hand for the first women's World Cup of the year.
(Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)

UCI President Brian Cookson discussed the "great progress" cycling's governing body made in 2016 in a Q&A posted to the UCI website on Friday.

The 65-year-old Briton touched on his highlights of 2016 in a number of his responses to questions regarding the year in review, with the Olympics, the inaugural Women's WorldTour, "spectator-friendly" changes to track cycling regulations and sport's inroads into the Chinese market among the main focal points of discussion. 

"It’s been a year of real progress," Cookson said. "Quite apart from the fantastic Olympic and Paralympic Games, our sport made great headway in many important areas over the year: women’s cycling was transformed by the incredibly successful launch of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, we also introduced a new Women Under-23 category at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, we announced a raft of changes to track cycling to create more spectator-friendly racing, we saw the inaugural UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup and finally, we awarded 15 UCI World Championships across seven disciplines. I’m excited for our sport as we enter 2017."

Cookson hailed the UCI's accomplishments in constitutional and ethics reforms, while addressing the challenges the organisation faced this season, particularly regarding restoring "credibility" to cycling. He also addressed the UCI's response to rider safety concerns, noting that the UCI would soon publish a guide for race vehicles.

"In 2016, we introduced tougher regulations governing the conduct of all vehicle drivers and motorbike riders in a road race, with breaches being referred to the UCI Disciplinary Commission," he said. "To ensure there is absolutely no doubt or grey areas, we will shortly publish a Race Caravan guide detailing all the relevant safety and security regulations, including the position of vehicles during a race."

Cookson has been president of the UCI since 2013. He announced in February that he would seek a second and final term when his current four-year tenure expires in 2017.