Wanda Grand Tour sale rumours re-emerge, Cookson coy on speculation

Rumours related to Wanda bidding for the Grand Tours have resurfaced in a SportAccord podcast with UCI president Brian Cookson.

Touching on everything from the UCI’s cancellation of probationary disc brake use in the pro peleton, motorised doping – dubbed “technological fraud” by Cookson – as well as Olympic preparations, the segment with the UCI president begins at around 38:19. uci

“Though rumours, it must be stressed, although I have it on good authority that Wang JianLin has made concrete bids for both organisatons,” starts interviewer James Emmett. “Are you prepared for either scenario?” He asks.

Initially commenting on ASO’s proposed breakaway Brian Cookson said: “There are some things that I can control and some I can’t. ASO, I think it would be a mistake for the sport if they decided to take all of their events outside of UCI. I think actually that would be difficult except for their events in France. They want to do events in many countries. Their business model, I would suggest, depends on expansion into other territories. Those territories have national UCI affiliates and they will want to be part of the UCI structure. I think will be a mistake and I want to try and avoid that if I can. I don’t want to damage their business and I don’t think anything we are proposing would do. I want to keep sitting down with them and find a solution that avoids that doomsday scenario, as it were.”

Onto speculation relating to Wanda and Cookson gives a brief answer, concluding “I know that he’s got aspirations to have an involvement in our sport. I’m sure that he’d like to expand his portfolio. Whether ASO, RCS or any other organiser is for sale is a matter for them, not for me.”

Cookson also commented on the Rio Olympics, which are running behind schedule.

He said here: “I solute the massive efforts made in difficult circumstances. They are doing a great job in that sense. I do have some concerns, it’s no secret that the velodrome is pretty much substantially delayed from what we’d hoped. I understand that the track itself is completed, but the building itself has to be finished off. I am considered about climatic and humidity conditions. the track is built from Siberian pine. When you take wood from the Arctic to somewhere like Rio there are issues of the timber’s reaction. I’ve been assured these will be looked at very carefully.”

We very much recommend tuning in for the full podcast, which you can do here.