In June I wrote Brian-Storm, it’s now seriously out of date, so here’s my thoughts on the current situation, without going into too much detail.
*See update at bottom of post, my opinion may be changing.
Brian Cookson is under severe pressure to come up with ideas to reform cycling in all areas, women’s cycling, mountain biking, anti-doping, pro cycling. But are we trying to ask too much from him, before he’s got anywhere near being the presidential suite in Aigle?
If we look back to what happened at the BCF many years ago, which emerged from the flames as British Cycling after the chaos that erupted from Tony Doyle ‘blowing the bloody doors off’ debacle, legal threats in both directions, litigation etc. We emerged from that with a completely different organisation, Cookson wasn’t an instigator in the initial clean-up, but he became the administrator of it in his long tenure as BC president, he found ways to help the change take place.
From what I can see, Cookson isn’t perhaps the ideas man that he currently being pressured to be, he’s likely a very good administrator & talent spotter. This is why I’d like to see him as president of the UCI, it’s obvious that we have little or no choice on the matter now, with the Pat V Brian thing, but without the emergence of a charismatic Spanish or Italian nominee, we are left with an election of (possibly) two potential Presidents, they are chalk & cheese. I think Brian can provide us with a solution for the current time period, a catalyst for huge change within the UCI, similar to that he oversaw during the metamorphosis of British Cycling, from small time minority sports federation, to a world leading model in a successful & professional sports body.
I’ve had occasional chats to Cookson, nothing mind-blowing in those chats, but as everybody says, you can tell he’s an honest man, somebody with integrity, as far as you can gauge from a brief chat. But the overall impression is that you get what you see. This is perhaps Brian’s biggest skill, he’s comfortable speaking to people, which afterwards you realised that he asked you some probing questions, which you realised you answered in a matter of fact manner. I’m assuming that he operates in this manner in more important matters on an international level, gathering information & choosing which questions need answered. Perhaps this is how he’s managed to employ the people with the ideas that have moved the sport in the UK forward, he can identify what’s needed, seek out the people with the ideas required to change an organisation, then recruit them & utilise their skills & ideas to help move things forward.
Anybody but Pat!
It’s often seen as a case of anybody but Pat McQuaid, some saying that we have just one poor choice. But I see Brian Cookson as the best person to instigate change, the questions over ideas will play second fiddle to the revelations that he will uncover if elected, the current cartel are protecting something. If there is something ‘profitable’ worth protecting, we could see a UCI with more of that profit freed up to allow the good projects to take place. But to make that happen, we need a good administrator, somebody who can understand the documents, dare I say it, perhaps somebody perceived to be a little bit boring?
After the deeds of the past are uncovered, we can then move into the new era of a modernised UCI, if it goes through a tiny percentage of the change that took place at British Cycling, then in a few years time we’ll have one of the best sporting governing bodies in the world. After that we can have the flamboyant leader, but we need the talented individuals in place to monitor the UCI first, Cookson can put those people in place & get back to Lancashire, I expect he’ll want to do that as quickly as possible.
*Update : Brian Cookson made a new statement today, quite a misguided one in my opinion. He’s implying that the treatment of Armstrong is unfair & he may try to reduce his ban! I had no actual evidence of McQuaids claims that Cookson was being financially supported by ‘the Russians’, so didn’t jump on that bandwaggon & went with what I did know. If there’s unwanted leniency for somebody like Armstrong being thrown up as some strange carrot for countries votes, this really isn’t what I want to see. If things carry on in this manner, the best outcome could be that Cookson is the only candidate, then does still not gain a sufficient amount of the vote, which he says he would pusue. So if that happened, we could in theory, have a completely new UCI election with some new candidates who didn’t come forward previously. That way we could get a proper election out of this, with a series of viable candidtates, and Pat McQuaid. Cookson Story.
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