Britain’s Brian Cookson is to stand against Pat McQuaid for the Presidency of the International Cycling Union.
Cookson, President of British Cycling, will officially announce his candidature tomorrow, insidethegamescan reveal.
The 61-year-old Lancastrian, who has headed British Cycling unpaid since being part of the committee that saved it from insolvency in 1996, has been nominated by the British federation, and is so far the only person to be named as opposition to McQuaid, who has held the position since 2006.
Cookson has decided to stand after several countries pledged their support if he put himself forward.
Earlier this year, Cookson had appeared to rule himself out of standing when he said he was “100 percent supportive” of McQuaid, despite the severe pressure the Irishman was under following the revelations that Lance Armstrong had used banned performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, including his seven Tour de France titles.
“I’m a little bit surprised with Brian, but that’s as much as I’d like to say on that,” McQuaid told Cyclingnews as news of Cookson’s decision to put himself forward emerged. “I know him very well, and I’ve known him for a long time.”
Cookson is credited with turning around the sport of cycling in the UK, helping turn it from a minor sport in the country to its most successful Olympic discipline.
Last year, British cyclists finished top of the medals table at London 2012 for the second consecutive Olympics, and Bradley Wiggins became the first Britain to win the Tour de France, the world’s most famous race.
Cookson has been a member of the UCI’s ruling Management Committee since 2009 and is also head of the influential Road Commission, a position he has held since 2011.
McQuaid held the same position before replacing controversial Dutchman Hein Verbruggen as head of the UCI.
The election is due to take place during the UCI Congress at the World Championships in Florence in September.
If McQuaid loses his position as President of the UCI then he will also have to forfeit his position as a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.