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Van Damme: People have asked me to run for the UCI presidency

Belgian cycling federation president Tom van Damme (center) speaks with Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters (left) an unidentified man during a meeting between the minister and the Belgian team that won the Cyclocross World Championship race in 2012.

Belgian cycling federation president Tom van Damme (center) speaks with Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters (left) an unidentified man during a meeting between the minister and the Belgian team that won the Cyclocross World Championship race in 2012.

Brian Cookson has already announced his candidacy for the UCI presidency and many expect France’s David Lappartient to follow suit in the coming months. While a two-horse race to Aigle’s seat of power looks the most likely scenario, there is growing sense that a third hat could be tossed into the ring.

Step forward Tom van Damme, the president of the Belgian federation, and president of the UCI’s road commission. He, like a number of his colleagues, is currently attending the Tour Down Under in Australia, but whereas many of the UCI management committee form a silent collective, Van Damme’s potential bid for power is gaining momentum.

At present he is reluctant to announce a candidacy, instead, and perhaps wisely, he is waiting for both Cookson and Lappartient to unveil their manifestos, but the Belgian has told Cyclingnews that he is not ruling anything out until June, at the latest. He is aware of the rumours that he might stand, but for now he is waiting.

"People are asking me to stand and there are rumours that I’m going to stand, but the decision hasn’t been taken," he told Cyclingnews.

"We need to re-evaluate our strategy and come back with something stronger. It’s not just Brian, but I think that we made too many compromises in the WorldTour and when you have too many then it harms the soul and the vision."

"I think we need to go further, and I expect a stronger UCI with more strategy. If Brian is working on this and I feel it’s good, then anything is possible.

 

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Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has 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 runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.