In this edition of WADA Talks, we sit down with Brian Cookson, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
Having taken over the presidency of the UCI during the sport’s most troubled era, Cookson has made it his mission to restore cycling’s reputation, which he claims was at the time “in the gutter” due to doping crises.
In the interview, Cookson cites some of the key changes he has made that have helped restore the sport’s credibility, including the establishment of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), an investigation which inspected historical doping problems in cycling. The Englishman also highlights the impact of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, the body he introduced to ensure that all anti-doping activities would be independent of the UCI’s management. Asked if he believes the top cycling races can be won clean today, Cookson says “I believe so, but I am not naïve about it. Professional sports persons and teams will always push any rule to the limit but we need to make it clear to cheats that we are always lowering the radar and making it more difficult [to cheat]. I think we are doing that with some success now.”
Looking to the future, Cookson says he hopes to cement his legacy as having helped to restore the integrity of cycling, promoted women’s cycling, and globalized the sport so that top-level events take place in every part of the world, including in developing countries.
WADA Talks sees the agency’s Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Ben Nichols, interviewing leading figures from the athlete community, sport, government and other partners involved in the clean sport movement.