New Zealand says its delegate will vote for Cookson, Canada gives its endorsement
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Zealand says its delegate will vote for Cookson, Canada gives its endorsement

by VeloNation Press at 5:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Both federations believe Briton represents best option to restore credibility to the sport

Brian CooksonWith just over three weeks to go until the UCI presidential election, Brian Cookson has secured the vote of another delegate, with two of the three Oceania votes now pledged to him.

Cycling Australia recently said that it would support him. New Zealand has now also come on board, with its board announcing that it had also decided to endorse him after listening to a presentation by him in Sydney at the weekend.

Current president Pat McQuaid presented his own manifesto via teleconference.

The third Oceania federation, Fiji, is yet to make its intentions known.

Explaining the reasons for its backing of Cookson, BikeNZ – the New Zealand federation – said that it believes the UCI needs structural changes, both in the way it is governed and also in the fight against doping. It added that it believes it needs to be more transparent in order to regain trust.

Richard Leggat, BikeNZ President, has said that he believes the challenger would be better suited to the job than McQuaid, who has presided over the UCI for the past eight years.

“Brian Cookson will advocate for these changes, and based on his success with British Cycling we believe he can bring about the positive changes cycling needs,” he said.

BikeNZ added that it also plans to vote against the Malaysian proposal to change Article 51.1, which currently requires the federation of aspiring presidential candidate to nominate them.

The Malaysian proposal suggests that in the future, any two federations should be able to nominate a candidate. While that has been seen by many as a step forward, there are concerns about a retrospective clause, which would enable the proposal to be backdated to include the current presidential campaign.

That clause was requested by the UCI itself, and is regarded by some as benefitting McQuaid. Cookson already has the required nomination of his home federation, while McQuaid has lost the nominations of both Cycling Ireland and Swiss Cycling.

He is claiming that nominations of the Moroccan and Thai federations are sufficient to allow him to run for a third term.

Cycling Canada gives its support to Cookson:

Although Canada does not have a delegate at the UCI election, its federation has declared its support for Cookson, saying that it too believes that Cookson is the preferred candidate in the election.

The board of directors of Cycling Canada has issued an open letter, saying that it had received a lot of input from Canadian cyclists plus key stakeholders in the past year, requesting more transparency and accountability within the UCI’s governing structure. It states that those requests have also sought new leadership of the governing body.

Cycling Canada states that while the current leadership has helped the growth of the sport via globalization and also made things cleaner with the biological passport, it has concerns nonetheless.

“Despite these successes, one realizes that with the pervasive revelations of doping this growth in cycling has been on the back of deceit and cheats. This has left a dark cloud of uncertainty and scepticism surrounding cycling as a whole, a tarnished public perception, where we have seen parents question bringing their children to the sport and sponsors, supporters and government funding bodies leaving the sport.”

“As we look from the current global climate toward the future of our sport, it is as important to stand for openness, transparency, accountability, and honesty as it is to deliver on these high goals. There is a need and a call for leadership change not only to improve the perception of cycling but to improve on governance, stakeholder relations, and further work to advance the fight on doping, among other priorities.”

As a result it said that it believes Cookson in his promises to transform the governing body via a collaborative approach with stakeholders, adding that his manifesto plots a logical path forward, and that he is its preferred candidate.

However Cycling Canada wants to see Cookson run his campaign in a certain way.

“With respect to the current uncertainty over the status of nominations we do urge Mr. Cookson to focus his efforts on winning a clear mandate from the UCI Congress by delivering a compelling platform and vision instead of engaging in legal or procedural battles,” it states.

Board president John Tolkamp ended the communication by saying that the federation have heard Canadians calling for change, and that the federation also shares that sentiment.

He said that the federation was therefore “willing to publicly endorse Brian Cookson in an effort to effect change. Regardless of the current conditions surrounding the election in September, we also feel it is important that there is a democratic, fair and binding vote at Congress. We are confident that cycling has a bright future.”

Responding to both endorsements, Cookson thanked the gestures at what he states is an important time. “We share a real commitment to restoring the credibility of the UCI and developing all levels of cycling globally, and their backing adds further momentum to my campaign.”

The UCI presidential election takes place in Florence on September 27th.

Five federations - USA Cycling, the Russian Cycling Federation, the Finnish Cycling Union, the Federation Algerienne de Cyclisme and Cycling Canada – called on McQuaid earlier this week to allow the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on Article 51.1 and to determine if he could indeed draw on the nominations of the Moroccan and Thai federations.

The UCI told VeloNation yesterday that it was still “considering all possibilities” and that no decision had been made as yet.

CAS indicated that it could make a ruling prior to the UCI presidential election, but that an agreement to arbitrate needed to be reached soon in order to have sufficient time.


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