Brits abroad

EX-UCI boss ‘not quite ready to dis­ap­pear’

Cycling Weekly - - Contents -

Former UCI pres­i­dent Brian Cook­son has an­nounced his in­ten­tion to start a Women’s World­tour team in 2019.

In a state­ment re­leased on Sun­day, Cook­son said that he had spent some weeks con­sid­er­ing his fu­ture in the sport fol­low­ing be­ing ousted as UCI pres­i­dent in Septem­ber and had de­cided he was “not quite ready to dis­ap­pear al­to­gether from the world of cy­cling”.

He said: “I have de­cided that I want to do some­thing dif­fer­ent in the sport. Some­thing that I have not done be­fore.

“My in­ten­tion is that this should be­gin with the es­tab­lish­ing of a women’s World­tour team for 2019 — a team that will meet or ex­ceed the new high stan­dards that are likely to be put in place by the UCI for the new two-tier struc­ture for women’s teams that was de­vel­oped dur­ing my term as UCI pres­i­dent.”

Cook­son said there had “never been so much in­ter­est” in the women’s sport. “We are at a piv­otal point, a sea-change in at­ti­tude to­wards women’s sport in the me­dia and among the pub­lic is tak­ing place, and we should seize this op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

How­ever, Cook­son has not yet got any fi­nan­cial back­ing for his new team as he went on to say that he “be­lieves that there are com­pa­nies out there” that could ben­e­fit from be­ing in­volved in the women’s side of the sport. He said he had al­ready re­ceived ini­tial in­ter­est in the project but was keen to point out that it was in its em­bry­onic stages.

He went on to is­sue a call for those in­ter­ested in the project to get in touch.

“I am putting this idea out there be­cause I want to stim­u­late the de­ci­sion-mak­ers in those com­pa­nies, many of whom (men and women) en­joy cy­cling them­selves, to start to think about the pos­si­bil­i­ties. The po­ten­tial re­turn on their in­vest­ment could be very sub­stan­tial,” he said.

But Cook­son is clearly not short of am­bi­tion, sug­gest­ing that such a team might grow to in­clude a men’s squad at de­vel­op­ment level and per­haps even­tu­ally a World­tour men’s team. This would fit with teams like Sun­web, Orica-scott and Mo­vis­tar, all of which have both a men’s and women’s squad.

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