September 04, 2013 – Today the Board of Directors of Cycling Canada made public a letter in support of Brian Cookson for the position of President of the International Cycling Union (UCI). The election will take place at the UCI Congress in Florence, Italy on September 27.
Over the past year Cycling Canada has received a lot of input from concerned Canadian cyclists and key stakeholders. This input has generally been with one key message – the desire for more transparency and accountability within the governance structure of the UCI and a call for a fresh start under new leadership.
Despite this call for change it should be recognized the current leadership has brought about considerable growth through globalization of cycling with the new UCI pro-tour continental series and the introduction of the biological passport, which was very forward thinking and has aided in cleaning up the sport. Canada has benefited from this rise in popularity, the globalization of the sport and a cleaner peloton. In Canada we have seen the start of two World Tour races in Quebec and the Tour of Alberta, Mountain Bike World Cups and World Championships in Mont Ste. Anne, regularly held Para-Cycling World Cups and this year’s Para-Cycling Worlds. Canada is building its first world class velodrome as part of the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games. As a cycling nation Canadians have seen a Giro d’Italia winner in Ryder Hesjedal, along with numerous World Champions in mountain, track and Para- cycling.
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 skepticism 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.
It is with the voices of Canadians in mind that the Board of Directors of Cycling Canada believes Brian Cookson represents the best path forward.
We believe Mr. Cookson is best positioned to deliver the necessary transformation and will drive the kind of organizational change we feel is necessary for cycling to reach its extensive potential. He has stated he is not willing to stand for a corrupt sport and he recognizes the need for a collaborative approach with all stakeholders going forward. His manifesto shows he understands the issues at hand, not the least of which includes bringing the hearts and minds of cyclists back to the sport. He has the necessary experience and a proven track record in the sport of building and supporting solid growth and it is evident he has the respect of key stakeholders.
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.
“We have listened to Canadians,” said John Tolkamp, Board President. “We have heard their voices calling for change and we at Cycling Canada strongly share this sentiment and are 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.”
Cycling CANADA Cyclisme
– Kevin Baldwin – Director
– David Cathcart – Director
– Bill Kinash – Director
– Stephane Le Beau – Director
– Hannah Parish – Director
– Mike Sarnecki – Director
– Erinne Willock – Director