BERGEN: Brian Cookson has been ousted as president of the world cycling federation (UCI) by Frenchman David Lappartient.
The 66-year-old, who had been in charge since 2013 and was beaten by 37 votes to eight, said the UCI was “unrecognisable” from when he took over and departed with “his head held high”.
The election was carried out at the UCI congress in Bergen, Norway, which is hosting the Road World Championships.
Lappartient, 44, had vowed to get rid of the “corruption” that has left the UCI with a “disastrous reputation” – the same task which Cookson had sought to apply himself initially.
Cookson, a former British Cycling president, is the first UCI chief to serve only one term. He is thought to have been damaged by the negative headlines around bullying and discrimination that have dogged British Cycling, the organisation he ran from 1997 to 2013.
British Cycling and its professional off-shoot Team Sky have also been under a UK Anti-Doping investigation for alleged wrongdoing. Crackdown on ‘mechanical doping’ Lappartient promised new measures to tackle so-called “mechanical doping”.
Belgian rider Femke van den Driessche was banned for six years after being caught with a hidden motor in 2016.
During a bitter campaign, Cookson accused his predecessor Pat McQuaid of lobbying against him.
After losing the election, Cookson said: “Someone needed to stand up and take on the previous regime, who had dragged cycling into the gutter and I leave the UCI knowing that I have delivered all the promises I made four years ago.”
McQuaid had called Cookson “a fraud” and publicly backed Lappartient. Lappartient, the European Cycling Union (UEC) president, is the first Frenchman to take charge of the UCI since Achille Joinard (1947-57).