Cookson, who became president of British Cycling in 1996 and has overseen the sport's spectacular growth in the country, announced himself as a candidate to lead global cycling’s governing body this morning.
He looks set to stand against Ireland’s Pat McQuaid, who is bidding for a third term as president at the organisation’s September annual congress in Florence, Italy.
McQuaid and the UCI have been widely criticised for their perceived lack of action and oversight that saw widespread use of performance enhancing drugs during the years when Lance Armstrong dominated the sport.
Vero itself is a veteran of sporting bids and campaigning. Founded in 2006 by Mike Lee, the former director of comms and public affairs for London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, the agency has worked on Qatar’s landmark campaign to be awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Rio’s winning bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Cookson is seen as a reforming candidate as his campaign has already been backed by the Change Cycling Now lobby group.
Cookson wrote in a statement this morning: ‘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.’
He added that he would publish a manifesto in the coming weeks.