Cookson to launch investigation
Cycling's new president Brian Cookson has started talks to launch an independent investigation into the UCI's handling of doping scandals.
Cookson announced that director general Christophe Hubschmid has left the organisation, along with Philippe Verbiest, the lawyer who had been the UCI's legal counsel since the 1980s.
Cookson, the former head of British Cycling, has also announced that the UCI has dropped its legal action against the Irish writer Paul Kimmage, has revoked the age limit of 28 that existed for UCI women's teams, and formed a new commission aiming to boost the growth of women's cycling.
Cookson said in a statement: "We have started the work of establishing a high level dialogue with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) to plan how we will proceed with the independent investigation into the UCI's past.
"We have also been making contact with other key stakeholders in this area, including USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency), other national anti-doping organisations and the French Sports Ministry.
"And earlier this week I called Paul Kimmage to tell him that the UCI has withdrawn from the legal action against him."
Hubschmid had been a close confidante of former president Pat McQuaid, who was defeated by Cookson in last month's election, and was viewed has having had a key role in efforts to re-elect McQuaid. Similarly, Verbiest had been seen as a close link with the old regime.
Cookson added: "Some changes are needed and I can confirm that former director general Christophe Hubschmid has left the UCI and that Antonio Rigozzi of Levy Kaufmann-Kohler is now assisting us as external legal counsel.
"I would like to thank Christophe for his contribution to the UCI and wish him well for the future. I would also like to thank our previous legal counsel Philippe Verbiest for his many years of hard work and commitment to the UCI."
Speaking during his first foreign engagement in Beijing, Cookson said the talks with WADA and the changes were a vital step.
He said: "These early days are very important for the UCI. We have embarked on the process of implementing our manifesto commitments so that we can re-establish our international federation's reputation and make it the best and most respected in the world. I believe that we have made a good start."
Cookson plans to meet new IOC president Thomas Bach and Rio 2016 Olympics president Carlos Nuzman during the next few weeks.