David Lappartient has told Cyclingnews that he was confident of an overwhelming majority in the UCI presidential election. The Frenchman comprehensively beat Brian Cookson 37 votes to 8 to become the new president, but many had expected a much closer race.
"Yesterday when we spoke I knew where I was and I wasn't far away in the end. I wasn't entirely sure on final numbers, but I expected more than 30. I'm very happy," he told Cyclingnews.
Cookson expected to win the election although he thought that it would come down to just a few votes. However, Lappartient made huge inroads in Europe, where he is understood to have taken almost all of the 15 delegate votes. The election was run via a secret ballot with 45 delegates nominated to vote.
Cookson and Lappartient ran campaigns with several similarities, but the Frenchman executed his path to office with far greater precision.
One UCI Management Committee member told Cyclingnews that, "Lappartient was everywhere and communicated very well. Brian didn't have a strong campaign."
When asked where he won the election, Lappartient told Cyclingnews that he offered something different to Cookson's introverted and steady style of governance.
"First of all, I won with all the confederations because you need to have votes coming from all of them to have 37 votes," he said. "The second point is that the national federations weren't happy about how the UCI was being led. Credibility is very important, but we also need to support the confederations and national federations. They had the feeling that nothing had been done in the last four years and that the promises only arrived now because it was the election."
According to Lappartient, the UCI became tired with the increased influence of individuals around Cookson, and that the real power within the governing body didn't lie with the president.
"They [Cookson's UCI] increased the expenses at the UCI and only for the administration and not for the national federation. They didn't agree that leadership was with the president. They wanted to change."
With such a strong mandate Lappartient now has a clean slate to bring through his manifesto. The Frenchman believes that there are several areas to immediately focus on.
"There are major issues. First, to drive a better economic model we need to work all together with the stakeholders. The second one is over technological fraud. This wasn't just an issue during the election. It's really something that we must care about and I'll present something to the management committee over this in November so that it's ready for January."
No role for McQuaid
In the final stages of the election campaign it was revealed that former president, Pat McQuaid, had tapped-up support for Lappartient by approaching UCI federations. According to McQuaid and Lappartient, this was done without the Frenchman's knowledge and Lappartient confirmed that the Irishman would not return to the governing body in any formal manner.
"He will be former president, but he will not be an honorary president of the UCI. He will not sit on a committee or be a representative," Lappartient said. "He's a former president, so if he wants to go to some bike races then he will have accreditation but he will have no official job with the UCI."
McQuaid had applied for accreditation for the Bergen World Championships but his request was denied.
Tour de France organiser Christian Prudhomme attended the conference and gave his support for the new UCI President.
When asked if he backed Lappartient, the Tour organiser said: "I can't say that, but in any case, I am very happy about his victory.
"David Lappartient is prioritising the credibility of cycling as a prerequisite to everything else. He has always supported a movement that is particularly close to my heart, the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC). Because that's the foundation for everything, the starting point for a magnificent sport. So I'm obviously pleased with that, and I do not doubt him for a single second because he's a man of action, who will carry out what he says he will.
"Today I'm looking ahead to the future. There has already been lots of change in cycling, fortunately, since what was a wretched era, but there's still work to be done, and I think that he is going to get on with that task right away, without doubt. It's a real sign. A 37-8 victory, when we thought it was going to be tight, that clearly means something."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.