Cookson Looks to Restore UCI Credibility with WADA Discussions

October 11, 2013

Newly elected International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson has begun discussions with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) about launching an independent investigation into the governing body’s past conduct.

In his first public speech following his election replacing incumbent Pat McQuaid, Cookson is keen to restore credibility to both cycling and the UCI following years of doping scandals and allegations of corruption within the organisation.

The former British Cycling president revealed in China, where he is attending the season-ending Tour of Beijing, that he has begun a clear-out of McQuaid’s closest allies and dropped a legal action against the journalist Paul Kimmage, whom the UCI sued last year for defamation.

He said: “We have started the work of establishing a high-level dialogue with Wada to plan how we will proceed with the independent investigation into the UCI’s past.

“And earlier this week I called Paul Kimmage to tell him that the UCI has withdrawn from the legal action against him.”

Despite being only 14 days into his presidency, Cookson has already appointed three vice-presidents, a new management committee and proposed replacing the existing UCI WorldTour with a three-tier league system.

However, he has also set about removing key figures from the McQuaid regime and having already released long-term legal counsel Philippe Verbiest, Cookson revealed director general Christophe Hubschmid has now followed.

He added: “Some changes are needed and I can confirm that former director general Christophe Hubschmid has left the UCI and that Antonio Rigozzi, of Levy Kaufmann-Kohler, is now assisting us as external legal counsel.

“I would like to thank Christophe for his contribution to the UCI and wish him well for the future. I would also like to thank our previous legal counsel Philippe Verbiest for his many years of hard work and commitment to the UCI.”

Cookson plans to meet new International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and Rio 2016 Olympics president Carlos Nuzman during the next few weeks.