BERGEN, Norway (Reuters) – France’s David Lappartient claimed a landslide victory as he was elected International Cycling Union (UCI) president, replacing incumbent Brian Cookson after the Briton failed to restore the credibility of the sport in his only term.
Lappartient, the European Cycling Union (UEC) president, became the first Frenchman to take charge of the global body since Achille Joinard (1947-57).
Lappartient, the French federation president from 2009-2017, won 37 of the 45 votes by the UCI delegates at the governing body’s congress during the road cycling world championships in Bergen, Norway.
In his pre-vote speech, Cookson promised to double UCI’s investment in women’s cycling, while the 44-year-old Lappartient vowed to get rid of the “corruption” that has left UCI with a “disastrous reputation”.
“It is a great responsibility and I will endeavor in the next four years to be worthy of such trust,” said Lappartient.
Cookson, a former British Cycling president, is the first UCI chief to serve only one term.
He replaced Irishman Pat McQuaid in 2013 after promising to restore the credibility of cycling but his term was marked by several scandals.
Cookson came under fire this year after a UK Anti-Doping investigation was launched into Team Sky and former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. Under scrutiny was the delivery to Sky in June 2011 of a medical package after the Dauphine-Libere race and ahead of that year’s Tour.
Cookson was on the operating board of Team Sky at the time.
Following the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, the Briton launched the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report but it failed to prove his predecessors accepted bribes from Armstrong to cover alleged positive tests.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles and banned for life from bicycle racing in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.
Armstrong, who had long denied using performance-enhancing drugs, admitted to doping in January 2013.
Cookson also vowed to fight against technological fraud with stewards checking bikes with iPads adapted with magnets to detect hidden motors.
A joint report earlier this month, however, suggested the method, also criticized by several riders and team managers, was ineffective.
Lappartient promised he would take “a stronger stand in the fight against technological fraud” and also fight against illegal betting in a sport that has been rapidly developing worldwide, especially in Asia.
Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar