By Emily Goddard

Brian Cookson has now received the backing of Cycling Canada and BikeNZSeptember 5 - Brian Cookson's campaign to take over as President of the International Cycling Union (UCI) continued to gather momentum today as he received the backing of a further two national federations in the form of Canada and New Zealand.

BikeNZ, a voting delegate, and Cycling Canada join the likes of British Cycling - of which Cookson has been President since 1996 - and Cycling Australia, who publicly declared their support for his candidacy in recent weeks.

In what could be seen a veiled attack on Cookson's only challenger for the most powerful job in cycling, incumbent Pat McQuaid, Cycling Canada President John Tolkamp gave his backing for the Briton as "he is not willing to stand for a corrupt sport".

He added: "We believe Mr Cookson is best positioned to deliver the necessary change and will drive the kind of organisational change we feel is necessary for cycling to reach its extensive potential.

"He has shown he is not willing to stand for a corrupt sport and he recognises the need for a collaborative approach with all stakeholders going forward.

"His manifesto shows he understands the issues at hand, not the least of which includes bringing the hearts and minds of cyclists back to the sport.

"He has the necessary experience and a proven track record in the sport of building and supporting solid growth and it is evident he has the respect of key stakeholders."

Brian Cookson's only challenger for the most powerful job in cycling is current UCI President Pat McQuaidBrian Cookson's only challenger for the most powerful job in cycling is current
UCI President Pat McQuaid

Meanwhile, BikeNZ said that Cookson was the man to implement the "structural changes" needed by the UCI.

"BikeNZ believes the UCI needs structural changes in the way it is governed and in the battle against doping," read a statement.

"It also needs to become a more transparent organisation that can regain the trust of the cycling community and wider public.

"Brian Cookson will advocate for these changes and based on his success with British Cycling we believe he can bring about the positive changes cycling needs."

The support from Canada and New Zealand follows the news that British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Sebastian Coe had written to the heads of all the confederations of the UCI also endorsing Cookson.

Cookson thanked Cycling Canada and BikeNZ for their support at what is now a critical time in his campaign to succeed McQuaid.

"We share a real commitment to restoring the credibility of the UCI and developing all levels of cycling globally and their backing adds further momentum to my campaign," he added.

The next President of the UCI will be elected at the organisation's Congress - which takes place during the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Tuscany - in Florence on September 27.

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