The 10 biggest cycling stories of 2013

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Dec. 31, 2013
After a day of drama in Florence, Italy, Brian Cookson called for a vote and beat incumbent Pat McQuaid for the presidency of cycling's world governing body. Photo: Graham Watson |

2. Cookson’s election

2013 was a season in which there were just as many headlines about the politics and controversy in the backrooms as there were about what was happening on the road. Allegations of payoffs, bribes, and cover-ups that oozed out of the Armstrong investigation threatened to engulf the UCI.

When Brian Cookson, the head of the British cycling federation, decided to throw his hat into the ring, the UCI election became one of the top stories of the year. Cookson presented a formidable opponent to two-term president Pat McQuaid, who stubbornly decided to stand for re-election despite losing the support of both his native Irish and then his adopted Swiss federations.

When Cookson won the election in a drama-filled UCI Congress in September, it marked a clear departure from the McQuaid-Hein Verbruggen era, and provided hope for a new beginning.

Cookson has stampeded out of the gates, replacing key personnel within the UCI and bringing new voices into the federation’s power structure, including the UCI’s first female vice president. Cookson promises to deliver on his call for an independent review of the allegations leveled against the UCI, something he hopes to unveil early in 2014. With the UCI’s reputation in tatters, Cookson has his hands full, but his election victory gave hope to those who believe that cycling can start anew under Cookson’s leadership.

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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