UCI President Brian Cookson has said that he believes that he did nothing to be "ashamed of or concerned about" while at the helm of British Cycling. Cookson, who was the head of the organisation for 17 years before he left for the UCI, confirmed that he had spoken to the independent review led by Annamarie Phelps.
Speaking to reporters at the Track World Championships in Hong Kong, Cookson denied the accusation that the leadership at British Cycling was ‘dysfunctional’.
“I have not done anything at British Cycling that I am ashamed of or that I’m concerned about,” he said according to the Telegraph. “I would reject the description of ‘dysfunctional’ [leadership]. I think that it was, and still is, an organisation that evolves and changes, as all organisations need to do. I think any more than that I shouldn’t really say until we see the final result of the report.
Cookson went on to question the balance of the version of the report that was leaked last month.
"Some of the things I've read have been unfair and unbalanced," he said. "I believe that the draft is only a partial investigation and that's reflected by the content of the draft.
"I hope that what I have said, along with various others who have now commented, will result in a more balanced final report."
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The publication of the official report has been pushed back on several occasions and is now expected to happen in May. According to the Telegraph, Cookson had not initially been contacted by the review panel and said in Hong Kong that he wasn’t happy that he had been looked over. He also stated that he had not yet spoken to the UKAD investigation into practices at British Cycling and Team Sky, but declined to comment any further.
While all of this is ongoing, Cookson is also considering his campaign to be re-elected as UCI president. The 65-year-old Briton said that he does not believe that the scandal surrounding British Cycling would hamper his ambitions. A present, there nobody has come forward to challenge Cookson, but French Cycling president David Lappartient has been mooted as a potential opponent, as has Belgian Cycling president Tom Van Damme.
“The voters around the world will base their assessment of my competence during my four years as president of the UCI,” he said. “I’m happy to stand on that record. I’m happy to stand by my record as president of British Cycling as well.”
The BBC reported that Cookson will not receive any funding for his campaign from UK Sport. When Cookson made his initial election bid in 2013, the body that hands out lottery funding to the various sport governing bodies in the UK contributed £77,000. Cookson said that there would be some funding coming from British Cycling.
"British Cycling will be supporting me in a modest way, and I think that's normal," he said.