British Cycling's Brian Cookson to run for UCI presidency

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Cycling disfigured by doping - Cookson

British Cycling chief Brian Cookson has announced he will stand as a candidate for president of the sport's world governing body in September.

The 61-year-old will challenge Pat McQuaid who has led the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) since 2006.

Cookson has previously backed McQuaid's re-election campaign, but the Irishman has faced calls to resign after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

"We must restore cycling's credibility," said Cookson.

The British Cycling president added: "For far too many people our sport is associated with doping, with decisions that are made behind closed doors and with ceaseless conflicts with important members of the cycling family and other key stakeholders.

"This situation is deeply damaging for our sport.

"The first priority for the new UCI president must be to change the way that anti-doping is managed so that people can have confidence in the sport."

Under McQuaid, the UCI has been heavily criticised since details of systematic doping by disgraced former Tour de France winner Armstrong emerged, with the American himself calling McQuaid "pathetic".

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-doping Agency in August last year after admitting that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

Cookson became president of British Cycling in 1996 and under his leadership Great Britain have won 19 Olympic gold medals and 28 Paralympic gold medals.

In 2012 he also oversaw the first British winner of the Tour de France when Sir Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey.

He served as UCI International Commissaire for 23 years between 1986 and 2009, helping to organise, co-ordinate and officiate international cycling races.

McQuaid's attempt to gain a third term as president of cycling's world governing body was boosted when he was nominated by Swiss Cycling in May.

The Irishman was originally nominated by Cycling Ireland only for the Irish body to reconsider its decision.

Elections will take place at the UCI's annual congress in Florence.