Cookson keeping his cool

Preston-born UCI president Brian Cookson
Preston-born UCI president Brian Cookson
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UCI president Brian Cookson has insisted he will not get dragged into a public war of words with cycling’s formed head Hein Verbruggen.

Verbruggen, president of international cycling during the Lance Armstrong years, says he will fight any attempt to remove him as honorary president of the UCI – Union Cycliste Internationale – after being criticised by the CIRC inquiry into the doping scandal.

He also claims he is being targeted by Cookson as a “personal revenge campaign” and has written to UCI board members vowing not to stand down.

Preston-born Cookson said: “I think Mr Verbruggen’s letter speaks for itself. Those who have read the CIRC report will understand where the UCI went wrong in the past, including the conflicts it needlessly got into and which seriously damaged its credibility.

“I was elected to change the way the UCI conducts itself and I won’t be drawn into this kind of public conflict.”

The Independent Commission for Reform in Cycling’s (CIRC) report concluded that, under Verbruggen’s leadership, the UCI had colluded with Armstrong to cover up allegations the seven-times Tour de France winner had doped.