By Duncan Mackay at One Aldwych in London

Brian CooksonJune 4 - Britain's Brian Cookson today officially announced here that he will stand to be the new President of the International Cycling Union (UCI) with the promise of restoring the sport's creditability. 

The 61-year-old from Lancashire claimed that he made his decision due to the "widespread absence of confidence in the integrity of the organisation" following the Lance Armstrong drugs scandal which has undermined the position of Pat McQuaid, the UCI President since 2006. 

"The stakeholder consultation exercise held this year by the UCI has clearly demonstrated that there are many excellent aspects to the UCI, with much good work underway, but all of this has been severely compromised by the widespread absence of confidence in the integrity of the organisation," said Cookson

"Against this backdrop, and after careful consideration, I have decided to stand for the Presidency of the UCI.

"This is because I passionately believe that the UCI needs to embrace a new way of doing things, and address, head on, some of the critical challenges facing our sport.

"We must restore cycling's credibility.

"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.

"We must also urgently carry out a fully independent investigation into the allegations of corruption in this area which have so damaged the UCI's reputation."

Brian Cookson One Aldwych London June 4 2013 2Brian Cookson has promised to "restore cycling's creditability" if he is elected to replace Irishman Pat McQuaid as President of the UCI

Cookson has promised a full investigation into allegations that the UCI was involved in a cover-up to protest Armstrong during his career, including winning seven Tour de France titles, and to rebuild relations with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which have been so badly damaged in the row involving the American.

"Cycling is not the only sport with problems but if we don't have a sport that parents can send their children to with absolute confidence then we are failing," said Cookson.

"If elected I will devote myself to rebuilding relations with WADA and establishing with them a completely independent body to deal with anti-doping in cycling so that no-one can doubt that it is being tackled without fear or favour.

"I will also seek their full cooperation in the independent investigation into the UCI's past."

Cookson hopes that what he has achieved as the President of British Cycling will help persuade voters to back him.

"When I became the President of British Cycling in 1996, the Federation was deeply troubled and close to bankruptcy," he said.

"Since that time cycling in my country has been transformed beyond recognition.

"Many wonderful people have helped this process, motivated by a passion to do the best for cycling, and I have been proud to lead them.

"This transformation has been achieved, above all, by creating a well run, stable federation governed on the principles of honesty, transparency and clear divisions of responsibility.

"These principles are even more important for an international federation.

"Cycling has been at the heart of my life for as long as I can remember.

"It has shaped my personality as much as it has my professional career, and I will always be grateful for the sheer enjoyment, inspiration and opportunity that cycling has given me.

"I still ride my bike almost daily.

"Many good things have happened in our sport around the world in recent years, and I am proud that British cyclists and British events such as London 2012 have played their part in showing what a superb sport we have in cycling, in all its diversity.

"But the passion I and many others have for cycling cannot hide the fact that our international body, the UCI, remains hugely distracted, continuing to flounder in waves of damaging historical controversies.

"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, and it has severely compromised the UCI's ability to develop and communicate some of the good work that is happening across the world."

Brian Cookson with Chris Boardman Herne HillBrian Cookson, pictured here with 1992 Olympic pursuit champion Chris Boardman, at the re-opening of Herne Hill Velodrome remains a keen amateur cyclist

The election is due to take place during the UCI Congress at the World Championships in Florence in September.

Change Cycling Now, the pressure group set-up by Skins founder Jaimie Fuller and whose members include three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, offered their support to Cookson immediately.

"He has done an amazing job for cycling in UK and is best chance for global as well," tweeted Fuller.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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