28 Sep 2013

Armstrong offered olive branch by UCI

8:15 am on 28 September 2013

The newly-elected world cycling president Brian Cookson is hoping disgraced Lance Armstrong can play a key role in a 'truth and reconciliation' process and help heal the wounds of the troubled sport.

Cookson beat incumbent Pat McQuaid to the presidency of the International Cycling Union, the UCI, after a turbulent election process which he won by 24 votes to McQuaid's 18 from the 42 delegates.

While the 62-year-old Englishman expects full cooperation from McQuaid in the event investigations are launched into alleged corruption within the world body, Armstrong could be one of Cookson's first ports of call.

Armstrong's confession that he had doped throughout his career, in the wake of being handed a lifetime ban from the sport a year ago, hit cycling's already fragile reputation hard.

But on Friday the 42-year-old American reacted positively to Cookson's victory, posting a simple 'Hallelujah' on his Twitter feed.

Cookson's campaign was built around his call for an anti-doping body which is independent of the UCI, partly because of allegations that McQuaid and former UCI chief Hein Verbruggen had colluded in the past to hide doping positives.

But he also wants former drugs cheats to help launch the process of "healing the wounds cycling inflicted upon itself", and immediately welcomed Armstrong's endorsement, saying he'll be invited to contribute to the process once it's established.

Cookson says he'll certainly be seeking to do that as quickly as possible.