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Coe gives backing to Cookson
Brian Cookson has been backed to transform world cycling by British Olympic Association chairman Sebastian Coe.
Cookson, the head of British Cycling, beat the international cycling union's (UCI) incumbent president Pat McQuaid, from Ireland, by 24 votes to 18 at the UCI Congress in Florence.
Coe said: "The decision taken by the UCI represents a turning point for the sport of cycling, and we congratulate Brian Cookson on his election.
"It was with vision, determination and a genuine commitment to work in partnership that Brian was able to lead the transformation of British Cycling, and I am confident he will do the same for the UCI."
The victory was also hailed by Lance Armstrong - with one word: "Hallelujah" - and though Cookson may not welcome a seal of approval from the world's most infamous drugs cheat, it did echo the feeling of many in sport.
The election campaign has been a vitriolic one, with allegations of dirty tricks by both sides culminating in a claim that the Greek federation was offered 25,000 euros to vote for Cookson, who immediately denied any knowledge.
He told a news conference: "That's absolutely preposterous. That's not the way I operate. Never have, never will."
Cookson said his first main task is to rebuild relationships with the anti-doping authorities - a task that will be made significantly easier by McQuaid's departure from office.
Travis Tygart, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, welcomed Cookson's win, saying that the UCI under McQuaid had done everything to thwart his investigation into Armstrong that finally led to the former US Postal rider's lifetime ban.
Tygart said: "The outcome of the UCI election sends a powerful message that sport leaders who fail to fully protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of their sport will be held accountable.
"The UCI tried to obstruct our investigation into doping in cycling at every turn, and then after the release of our reasoned decision the previous leadership failed to take necessary and decisive action to fully clean up the sport."
After the result was announced, Cookson issued a call for unity in cycling, and on doping stated: "I think my record shows at British Cycling that I won't shirk from my responsibilities.
"I'm very confident that I can help cycling heal the wounds that it has inflicted upon itself. I'm really looking forward to that task.
"My first priorities as president will be to make anti-doping procedures in cycling fully independent, sit together with key stakeholders in the sport and work with WADA to ensure a swift investigation into cycling's doping culture."