Welcome to my blog page.
The idea here is to provide insight into my thoughts along the campaign trail as I run for election to become President of the UCI in September.
I will try to blog as regularly as possible so please bookmark this page.
THE WORK BEGINS NOW
I am writing to you from my new office in Aigle, in what will be the last of my campaign blogs.
The few days ahead of the election were as hectic as I have ever experienced in my professional career, but brought what I believe to be the right result.
It is a huge honour to have been elected President of the UCI and I would like to thank everybody who has supported me and encouraged me throughout the campaign from riders, sponsors and federation presidents to ordinary cycling fans. Wherever I have been in the world I have met people who, like me, love cycling but believe the sport has been undermined by the way it has been governed.
The campaign was hard-fought although I endeavoured at all times to make it an election in which the issues which cycling must tackle were fully and honestly debated. I did not succeed as often as I would have liked but I believed that it was a battle which had to be fought, and won.
I understand expectations are high and I welcome that. Equally, it would be an understatement to say there is a lot of work to be done.
We took the first steps on Friday afternoon and the day after the World Championships, I was on a train to Switzerland with Tracey Gaudry, who has a substantial contribution to make after accepting the appointment of vice-president, and my chief of staff, Martin Gibbs.
We had a staff meeting on Tuesday which was positive. There are some exceptional people working at the UCI and this summer has been difficult for them. Unfortunately, the good work they do has been overshadowed by controversies and unnecessary conflict but I genuinely believe that the decision taken last Friday is the start of a new era for our sport.
My mission now is to unite the global cycling community and enable us to come together to help ensure that our great sport realises its enormous potential. This is the vision that will drive and focus my activities over the next four years.
As I have said throughout my campaign, we must embrace a new style of governance and a collegiate way of working so that we can build more growth and commercial success for the UCI and cycling in the years ahead.
There will be challenges but my focus will be to rebuild, not just the reputation of the UCI, but some of the basic functions you would expect to find at an international sports federation and to repair some of the damage that has been caused to the sport of cycling in recent years.
If we can achieve this then I believe that we can attract new sponsors, broadcasters, funding partners and host cities and ultimately further grow cycling across the world drawing even more riders and fans into the sport.
I have hugely enjoyed writing these blogs as my campaign has progressed. The feedback, good and bad, has always been interesting.
Twitter is fine for comment and asking questions but often the answers require a more thoughtful and measured response over more than 140 characters. So I tried to cover all the issues in my blogs which will remain online and still represent my manifesto and my intentions.
I will continue to use Twitter, although I will obviously need to move on from the @cooksonforuci name. I will be doing this in the next few days. However, there is a lot which must be urgently addressed so I might not be very active in the immediate future.
I strongly believe that right now is the best time to be involved in cycling. There are new opportunities and new markets opening up to the sport all the time - we just need to grasp them.
There is enormous potential in the sport and, I firmly believe, enormous potential within the walls of the UCI. I cannot wait to get started, and make true the promises of my election campaign.
FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY MATTERS
The first question asked to both me and my opponent Pat McQuaid by delegates at last week's European Cycling Union gathering in Zurich, where I secured all 14 votes, was about governance. Proper corporate governance and transparency are themes which run right through my manifesto.
They have been pressing concerns for just about everybody I have spoken to on the campaign trail, no matter where in the world they are, no matter which discipline they work in.
In particular, transparency on financial and business matters is clearly an area where substantial improvements can be made at the UCI just by meeting minimum standards of good practice.
Part of this will only require a change of attitude and culture and will pay significant dividends in credibility and show National Federations exactly what the UCI is doing. For example, the last financial statements available on the UCI website relate to the period to end 2011. That's coming up to 21 months ago. The accounts ending 31st December, 2012 were signed off in May this year but the UCI has not released them to the public. Although they've gone to national federations, they will not be posted online until after Congress. Widely accepted good practice is that accounts should be made public within six months of the year end.
The UCI's legal status means that the level of disclosure in their accounts required by law is low when compared to standards for companies listed on stock exchanges. It is obvious to me the UCI should voluntarily adhere to a higher standard of disclosure and transparency than that which is mandatory under Swiss law for private companies. The level of disclosure and transparency which is appropriate for a family-run cafe off Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich is not appropriate for a global body with responsibility to millions of cyclists worldwide.
An improved standard of disclosure would be a matter of policy rather than significant extra cost.
One area which is now mandatory for disclosure for Swiss listed companies - and those in many other countries - is information on the pay of its directors and senior executives. I've spoken before about the refusal of the UCI to provide me with information about the pay of the current President, and certainly there is no information about that in the accounts.
I've pledged to change that if I'm elected; I do find it extraordinary that this information has been held back. It can't be commercial sensitivity; given that private sector companies make these disclosures, so why can't the UCI?
Another key step that I have committed to implement is a register of conflicts of interest. You would think this would be a pretty obvious thing to have, especially so for the UCI which is the world governing body and the linchpin between so many different groups and interests. That is why I am also committed to making such a register publicly available.
For too long, the UCI has been associated with a culture where who you know is more important than what you can offer the sport. So I want to make sure there is a real change in the culture of the UCI in regard to its sense of openness and financial accountability.
In an earlier blog, and in my manifesto, I've spoken about the need to re-think the strategy of Global Cycling Promotions. One piece of information that is in the 2012 UCI accounts, released only to national federations, is that the UCI gave CHF 600,000 to GCP in 2012. This is not the first year that GCP has been subsidised by other funds.
For example the GCP received a contribution of 165,000CHF from UCI World Tour funds in 2011 together with a substantially larger amount over the previous years.
Helping to fund GCP might be the right thing to do if GCP had a clear developmental mandate. However, at the moment it promotes the Tour of Beijing, management of which is then outsourced to ASO. So at the moment GCP is taking a significant amount of financial resource from other things the UCI could and should be doing. But its activity consists of little more than having a series of back to back agreements whereby it takes the rights to the Tour of Beijing from the UCI, and then uses ASO to deliver the service. GCP needs a transparent mandate that makes sense strategically and financially.
Of course, the UCI does need to ensure it makes the necessary income to finance itself and the effective leadership of cycling. Actually I'd go further than this, and say that the UCI should also demonstrate in its own commercial activity the best practice to help catalyse further investment in the sport.
I've set out previously key commercial initiatives I would put in place for the UCI if I'm elected. When the UCI 2012 accounts are finally made available to you, you will be able to see the areas where I think there can be improvement.
First, the UCI needs to be acting more dynamically across all disciplines and types of commercial activity. The 2012 results speak of substantial growth in the UCI's non-Olympic revenues, but I don't think the growth goes as deeply as it should. For example, competition revenues have grown, but not hugely above the level they were back in 2008, showing how cycling has not developed commercially in the same way as other sports. Most of the growth comes from road race organisation rights. Other formats and types of income such as TV and sponsorship are not growing strongly, or are even down. As for activity revenues, these have grown because of anti-doping fines.
Second, you will see very significant increases in other expenses – up by an amount of CHF 4.6m. I've spoken before about the way large sums have been wasted on commissions which haven't even met, valuable resources which could be spent in so many productive ways. The UCI needs to be efficient and effective in its work, and make sure it provides value for the income it receives.
Above all, we need a real commitment to improving our governance and transparency, and in that way set the targets for the success of cycling by which we will be measured.
SECURING THE VOTES
I'm back in the UK after a pretty full-on week. It's been busy but constructive, meeting voting delegates, federation presidents and colleagues in Miami and Zurich.
First up was my trip to the US to meet my colleagues at the Pan American Cycling Confederation (COPACI) in Miami.
Meeting people face-to-face is so important and I was grateful for the excellent arrangements laid on that really helped us to get a lot done in a couple of days. As you may have seen from Twitter we even managed to fit in a baseball game.
The meetings underlined for me once again that each continent needs its own bespoke policies for development. Attempting to overlay a European-style framework to areas where cycling isn't yet established just won't work.
My International Development Department will be tasked with coming up with ways to support the sport in ways that work on the ground, ways of raising the level of competition and giving riders access to better coaching and support. That will mean being creative and also looking at everything we do, from race categorisation, regional competitions all the way to how we support national federations lobby their governments for more support and better conditions.
As one of my South American colleagues said there are two types of people involved in cycling federations, those that are passionate and ride their bikes and those that don't. Too true. And I could tell that for everyone in Miami, the passion and love for the sport is there.
What I heard as a consistent message was the importance of good communication and an agreement that at the moment the UCI just isn't at the right level.
Although I take nothing for granted, I felt a real boost from my conversations in Miami and it was with this that I flew directly to Zurich for the extraordinary congress of the European Cycling Union (UEC), in Regensdorf. This meeting was always going to be a key date on the campaign trail and it was essential for me to formally confirm Europe's support.
The UEC had invited both Pat McQuaid and I to present to the Congress, followed by questions from the floor to both candidates. The National Federations present, 41 in total, were able to make a clear and reasoned decision on who they believe is the best candidate to lead the sport forward. It is exactly this kind of informed debate that I have been calling for throughout my campaign and it was a pleasure to be able to take part in the process. The setup was dignified and very well run and you can view my speech to the Congress here, or read it in writing here.
Following the discussions, a vote decided which candidate would receive the backing of the UEC's 14 delegates. I was obviously delighted to hear that the result was an overwhelming majority in my favour. It's a really big step closer to winning the overall vote in Florence on the 27th and I'm really honoured to have had such a clear mandate from Europe. I'm also really grateful for all the kind words of support I keep getting.
The endorsement of the UEC follows that of delegates from Oceania and I know I have solid support elsewhere in the world. As I confirmed in my speech to the UEC delegates, whatever happens with my opponent, I remain committed to gaining a mandate from the delegates at congress.
DELIVERING THE COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL OF WOMEN'S CYCLING
This week has seen the publication of a manifesto which I would recommend everyone involved in cycling to read. Le Tour Entier have made a welcome and timely contribution to the debate about women's cycling. I was delighted that Marianne Vos, one of the leaders of the campaign, was able to accept my invitation to attend the recent UCI Road Commission.
It is an issue at the heart of my campaign to be UCI president and its importance spreads far beyond whether there is a women's Tour de France or not. A good example of what I mean is tennis – if women's cycling was as strong as the WTA Tour, the whole sport would be considerably enriched.
The WTA Tour was formed in 1973 so tennis has a 40-year head start on us in that regard but it's perhaps no coincidence that women's cycling remains far from delivering its potential when the sport's decision making is so male dominated. I will make sure women are better represented in the sport's governing body, for example by ensuring there is at least one woman on every UCI Commission.
In addition to this first step in addressing the imbalance, my manifesto sets out a number of other areas for the development of women's cycling. With Le Tour Entier publishing their manifesto this week, now is a good time to expand on the promises and outline one way in which I believe we can take the commercial aspect of women's cycling to the next level.
To help set the background, the best funded women's elite road teams work with a budget of around US$1million, and many with much less. This is about one twentieth of their male equivalents. The consequences of this low funding are widespread and pretty obvious; training, development, personal financial stability of athletes and other team personnel are hard to underwrite, and even things like travel costs to events cannot always be assumed, meaning that teams are forced to miss races.
It's a huge challenge but that just means the governing body has to step in and show real leadership if it wants to effect change. I spoke in an earlier blog about what plans I have for the UCI's commercial work, and in particular those areas where it should be acting as a catalyst. I think helping women's cycling on to the next step is a good example of how the UCI should be using its commercial resources.
The first step is to improve the media coverage of women's road racing. This is the key to opening the door to improved sponsorship and commercial partnerships.
I'm excited about this especially because I think in women's road racing there is a great product waiting to be packaged to sell. Audiences worldwide are now familiar with women's track events, and its excellent racing, and in road there is an undiscovered treasure – think of the London 2012 women's road race, as the breakaway sprinted for glory by Buckingham Palace.
Not only is there plenty of quality racing, there are also fantastic characters and role models in the female peloton, a great attraction for commercial partners as well as the viewing public.
I've been working on the most practical and quick to market ways to begin to fix media coverage. It's deliverable at an affordable budget over the next calendar year.
The UCI Road Women World Cup series is a good starting point. If elected I would get the UCI to lead the production of a high quality highlights package of the series that would appeal to broadcasters across the world.
It's important to be clear about what we mean by "high quality". At the moment, the women's World Cup events do receive some coverage, but it is either sporadic (for example broadcast only in the host nation, or a few minutes highlights squeezed in during the men's event), or limited to what the UCI have done so far, which is a low quality package available to view on the internet.
To have appeal to the broadcasters, we need to have the same production values that are applied to men's road races, whether in graphics, information, fully trained expert motorbike cameras, helicopter footage and well-informed commentary, all delivered in high definition. The races also need to be presented as a coherent series, with a similar look and feel, so that the audience can buy into and follow the narrative as the season unfolds and the fortunes of their favourite riders are determined. We also need to work with the event organisers to make sure the simple things are done to make races TV friendly.
A high quality one hour highlights package, to be broadcast perhaps two days after the event, with efficient use of a helicopter camera and the other attributes I've mentioned, can be done for around €30,000. That means that the entire World Cup series could be produced for less than one half of the cost to the UCI of subsidising Global Cycling Promotions in 2012.
There is already high quality broadcast infrastructure in place for some of the World Cup series events, for example at the Fleche Wallonne Feminine and Ronde van Vlaanderen which both take place on the same day as the men's WorldTour events. For other World Cup series events there is also often substantial committed broadcast infrastructure in place either that day or adjacent days, so part of the UCI's role here will be to co-ordinate what is already being done in a disparate way, pull it together and ensure that hosts' commitments reflect this strategy.
I've spoken in some detail about the next steps to get coverage for the women's World Cup as I think it is deliverable quickly and efficiently, and will have a big impact in catalysing the commercial success of women's cycling. But it's only the first chapter, and I'm confident that after we've built momentum there will be plenty of exciting growth to follow.
THE MOMENTUM IS BUILDING
I'm writing at the end of a good week - back at home for a few days after two weeks globetrotting, and with encouraging conversations becoming positive endorsements, it really feels as though momentum is building towards a successful election campaign. There has been huge media interest in my campaign, and I've done several interviews for international media - television, radio, web and print.
During these interviews, I always try and keep to the important issues facing cycling and try to avoid personality matters. That can be difficult when the interviewers have questions they want to have answered, but I know it is what most of the people who really care about our sport want from the candidates. The future of cycling is at stake here, that's what is important, not the egos or personal ambitions of the candidates.
This time last week, I was watching the world's best mountain bikers challenge for rainbow jerseys in Pietermaritzburg. I said at the time how impressed I was with the event's organisation – everyone involved deserves real credit.
Throughout my time there, I was lifted by the number of people who approached me to wish me well in my campaign. One African rider in particular went out of his way to talk to me, not long after finishing his event. It wasn't so much what he said that really lifted my spirits, more the fact that during the most important competition of the year for him, he took the time to say encouraging words to me. The message was clear from fans, team staff, riders and officials alike – that there is a genuine and strongly-held belief that now is the time for change.
Some of those conversations have this week become formal endorsements with the National Federations of Australia, New Zealand and Canada choosing to publicly announce their support. Backing from all areas of the sport arrives every day with influential individuals and organisations sticking their neck out for me.
It takes a certain amount of mettle for public figures, in positions of influence, to declare their backing for the challenger in an election. That said, I wonder at what type of an organisation the UCI has become, where people fear repercussions for voting one way or another in a democratic election. That those people have nevertheless given me their support is a demonstration of the confidence they have in my ideas for leading change, as well as their belief that I will be successful in September.
And, for the record, I give everyone a guarantee that, whether any individual, any national federation, or any confederation votes for me or not, I will certainly not allow this to influence my leadership or decision-making after the election. What is right, honest, ethical, legitimate and above all what is best for our sport - those will always be the criteria by which I will lead the UCI, if I am elected.
So for now, I want to say thank you to everyone who has expressed support, whether in conversation, via phone, email or social media – it means a lot and I find it especially motivating to know that so many people who love cycling are behind me. It gives me a great boost to have this backing as I continue in my attempts to meet as many of the voting delegates as I can prior to the day of the election later this month.
Heading into next week, I notice I'm ahead in Sports Pro's online poll, which is nice. However, on the down side I see at Paddy Power that my odds have lengthened a bit. Oh well, I've never been a betting man anyway. I prefer to get out and ride the bike, and that's just what I hope to be doing over the weekend. I hope you get the opportunity too!
THE BUSINESS OF CYCLING, AND THE UCI'S ROLE IN ITS GROWTH
Cycling is a hugely popular sport, and there is a very large industry that goes with it. But it hasn't developed as it could or should have done. Sponsors hesitate about whether to stay in or join the sport and even at the highest level where revenue should be strongest, teams are fighting for survival. The commercial development of many races and disciplines remains at best patchy, and even the UCI itself appears to struggle to finance its own activities.
I'm not new to the business challenges of cycling – I faced them when I joined British Cycling. But with a dynamic team, accountable to the membership, we have built trust with funding partners, increased participation in all aspects of cycling, and raised the profile of the sport for everyone's benefit - from the athletes through to sponsors and spectators.
In the last two years, we've actually doubled British Cycling's membership, raised the revenue to a level on a par with the UCI itself and re-invested in the sport, evidenced by the success of British athletes which has created more interest and more participation at grassroots level. It's been a true win-win.
The UCI needs a similarly transparent and dynamic approach to the issues and opportunities of world cycling.
The potential for action falls into a number of key areas.
1. The UCI needs to restore its credibility to act as a leader. This will encompass other themes that I have set out in recent weeks, such as dealing with cycling's doping issues once and for all. It's no surprise that big potential sponsors are hesitant about the sport at the moment, despite cycling's global appeal and good participation levels.
2. The UCI needs to address real or perceived conflicts of interest and focus on doing its job as the world's governing body. I've spoken in my Manifesto about the need to reform Global Cycling Promotions, a UCI subsidiary, whose role is currently ill-defined. As an event promoter in its own right, it potentially puts the UCI in competition with others, thus weakening the UCI's role as a neutral party of reference and support. The same applies to things like personal conflicts of interest and I passionately believe a register of interests has to be established and it has to be made public. For too long, the UCI has been associated with a culture where who you know is more important than what you can offer the sport.
3. Global Cycling Promotions appears to be not working. It has delivered just one event since its inception, there are no signs of any others in the pipeline and no-one seems able to articulate what the strategy is.
All of this is at a cost unknown even to those within the UCI. There has to be a thorough review of Global Cycling Promotions' purpose and function.
It should be dedicated to helping existing growth market events, especially in countries where a passion for cycling already exists, become World Tour events. Its resources should serve as venture capital for the ambitious entrepreneur in cycling - teams, athletes, or event organisers.
4. If the UCI can demonstrate the right leadership then it will have a more solid platform on which to bring cycling together in an atmosphere where people are focussed on making the cake bigger for everyone's benefit, rather than trying to defend their own slice of what might be a shrinking cake.
5. The UCI needs to do a better job on its own commercial strategy. This will help develop the sport – again for the benefit of all – as well as secure the revenue the UCI needs to invest in cycling's future.
The World Championships are a good example. I'm very much looking forward to September's races in Florence. It's a unique series in the cycling calendar that offers something special to athletes and spectators. But there doesn't seem to be a real strategy behind how the UCI develops this flagship event from one year to the next – and maximising the value for the UCI and all of cycling doesn't just mean selling to the highest bidder.
6. An example of the UCI's failure to evolve and help the commercial development of the sport, is its weak digital presence. Have a look at the web identity and presence of the road World Championships on the UCI website for this year and the future, and then those of the hosts, Florence, Ponferrada, Richmond and Qatar. Not much evidence of a coherent or dynamic digital UCI strategy to support its marquee event.
This needs urgent attention as part of a strategy to do a better job of promoting and developing the value of the flagship annual World Championships, and the sport more generally.
7. The UCI needs to show its leadership elsewhere in the business of the sport – not by losing sight of its governing mission, but by embracing and shaping change and supporting growth. This applies in aspects of road racing, but also in disciplines such as mountain-biking and cyclocross which haven't had the attention they deserve, meaning that little innovation has happened to bring these events to larger live and TV audiences.
8. Give race organisers, athletes and teams the tools and environment they need to succeed. This does not mean subsidies, but rule changes that allow for greater entrepreneurial growth and increased competitiveness, which benefit all parties.
A good example is bike regulations. Teams - and, indirectly, the athletes – rely on support from bike manufacturers but we limit their ability to put new products to market by arcane rules that prevent innovation. As someone once said, the UCI give the impression they would happy if all bikes looked like something Fausto Coppi might have ridden. This is not to argue for a free-for-all but, by reforming the rules sensibly, we will open the sport up to new revenue streams and new audiences worldwide.
We don't need to overstretch the UCI to reach new markets, we simply need to be more intelligent with rule making and those markets will open up to us.
9. Women's cycling is another example where the sport hasn't shown its commercial potential. There is a real opportunity here for the UCI to use its position and know-how to get momentum into new ventures and attract commercial partners. Our women athletes are demanding change and the UCI needs to listen because they are trapped between a lack of media exposure, a lack of sponsorship support and events which struggle to capture the interest of both sectors. It is a core duty of the governing body to lead positive change – that is why I am speaking to broadcasters and producers to develop a plan for 2014 for the UCI to produce a high-quality highlights package for every stage of the UCI Women's Road World Cup.
10. Coherent leadership applies also to the Olympic Games, an important showcase for the sport as well as an important source of the UCI's revenue. Cycling has been static in recent years, with the addition of BMX coming at the expense of track events. By showing the appeal and qualities of the various disciplines of the sport, we can do better than this.
In summary, with a healthier sport, and a restored image, the UCI can make sure it uses industry best practice to secure the best commercial deals. It's great to have partners who are with you for the long term, provided they are also giving you the best value – and in all aspects of sport some competition doesn't hurt.
It is time for change and for the UCI to drive commercial growth for the benefit of the sport in every corner of the globe.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN'S CYCLING MUST NOT BE MISSED
I was in Sydney over the weekend and it was great to be in a city which holds such powerful memories from the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. During my time there I had very encouraging meetings with President Klaus Mueller and the Board of Cycling Australia, President of the Oceania Cycling Confederation Tracey Gaudry, plus the President of Bike New Zealand Richard Leggatt.
Read the full blog here
LEADERSHIP SHOULD SET THE TONE
There has been a fair bit of coverage in the press over the last few days about the attempts to retrospectively change the UCI election rules to suit Pat McQuaid. I know we're all getting fed up with tit for tat exchanges, but this is a really important issue that goes to the heart of the problems that the UCI faces.
Read the full blog here
THE INTERNATIONAL STARS OF TOMORROW
It has been a busy few days, but I am back at home after returning from Glasgow, via Watford, where we hosted the Prime Minister at one of our events for yesterday's announcement of increased Government funding for cycling in this country. Much of the progress we've made in cycling has relied on Government support and it is a pleasure to have such an enthusiastic cyclist and cycling fan in David Cameron behind us.
Read the full blog here
WHY GOOD GOVERNANCE MATTERS
It is a shame to say, but for many across cycling and the wider world of sport, our international governing body, the UCI, has become synonymous with a kind of Wild-West style of governance in recent years.
A consistent failure to deal truly with the issue of doping allied to a lack of transparency and process has let down the sport and the millions who follow our events.
Read the full blog here
A NEW DIRECTION FOR WOMEN'S CYCLING
There has been a lot of attention recently on the need to develop women's cycling at all levels of the sport and quite rightly so. One of the most important parts of my manifesto is the section where I outlined my plans to bring parity to men's and women's cycling so I'm encouraged to see such a strong sense of support behind moves to bring new events and broadcast opportunities to the women's pro calendar. People are passionate about the issue and are rightly frustrated that not enough is being done.
Read the full blog here
TOUR PROOF THAT CYCLING NEEDS NEW LEADERSHIP
Last weekend I was at the top of the Ventoux when Chris Froome won stage 15 of this year's Tour de France. As always, the mountain proved one of the world's great natural sporting arenas.
However, among the cheers it was easy to hear some of the spectators booing as he went past. To keep perspective it was a minority but they could definitely be heard and it is clear that on this Tour, the first since USADA's work proved that Lance Armstrong's wins on these climbs were fuelled by drugs and blood transfusions, people are very sceptical of exceptional performances.
Read the full blog here
I first got involved in cycling in 1965. It seems such a long time ago, but it's fair to say my enthusiasm for the sport is as strong now – if not stronger – as it was back then.
The sporting landscape is undoubtedly very different, though, with so many more options for young people – and adults – than there was 50 or so years ago. The choice of sports for those looking to stay healthy, compete and have fun is huge and cycling has to continue to use high profile events to inspire participation at all levels of the sport.
Read the full blog here
A WEEKEND AT THE TOUR
As always, the opening days of the Tour de France have been frenetic and inspiring in equal measures. Corsica has provided a fitting location for the centenary celebrations and it has been a privilege to have received such a front row seat to this historic Grand Depart.
Read the full blog here
INTRODUCING AN INDEPENDENT APPROACH
This week I officially unveiled my election manifesto, headlined 'Restoring Trust, Leading Change' at a press conference in Paris. The launch went very well and has been positively received by fans, stakeholders and the media alike.
As my manifesto makes clear, I believe it is essential that the anti-doping activities of the UCI are made independent if we are to finally restore people's confidence in the sport. There is a fundamental conflict of interest for an international federation if it is promoting its sport on one hand, but policing it on the other.
Read the full blog here
RESPECTING SOCIAL MEDIA
I wanted to do a quick update after yesterday's Twitter Q&A which was something I was really keen to do. Although the UCI presidency is decided by 42 delegates, I strongly believe that cycling has to do more to connect with fans, and this was a small step in that direction.
Read the full blog here
INSPIRATIONAL MEETINGS IN AFRICA
Ahead of my manifesto launch on Monday 24 June, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide a quick update. I have spent the past couple of days visiting colleagues in Morocco and I left Casablanca with a timely reminder of just how much potential the sport of cycling has throughout the world.
Read full blog here
A WEEKEND TO CHAMPION NATIONAL SUCCESS
This time last week I was writing to you from an airport awaiting a flight to Norway for a meeting with my colleagues on the UCI Management Committee. This week it's a different airport with Morocco my intended destination for a gathering of the African Cycling Confederation.
Cycling's profile in Africa has been steadily increasing in recent years and with Kenyan-born Chris Froome a favourite for this summer's Tour de France, it is sure to improve further.
Read full blog here
FINDING MY STRIDE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
I’m writing this blog having recently returned from a fantastic weekend’s racing at the UCI Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland. The event has quickly established itself as a real spectacle on the Downhill calendar, thanks to the way the organisers have successfully harnessed the enthusiasm of the fans who enjoy high quality racing.
Read full blog here