Brian Cookson
Cookson won by a 24-18 majority.

Brian Cookson is the new International Cycling Union president after defeating former inhabitant Pat Quaid following a controversial congress in Florence.

Cookson won by a 24-18 majority after demanding a vote following discussions regarding the legitimacy of McQuaid's nomination to stand for a third term.

McQuaid, president since 2005, failed to win a nomination from Cycling Ireland, his home governing body, or Swiss Cycling, where the 63 year old is a resident but claimed that endorsements from both Morroccan and Thai meant he was eligible to stand.

After a number of federations questioned the ruling, as UCI lawyers frantically attempted to rescue the vote being delayed, Cookson - the only other candidate - requested a vote take place.

And having been voted into office, Cookson the former president of British Cycling, called for the sport to unite in a new era following years of controvercy.

"I would like to thank-you for all of the trust that you have placed in me today," Cookson said. "The real work starts now. I would call on the global cycling community to unite.

"I would like to thank Pat sincerely for the contribution he has made both to cycling and to the UCI in his long career."

McQuaid's tenure as UCI chief was often overshadowed by accusations of corruption including claims the governing body assisted in covering up Lance Armstrong's doping history.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles - all of which he won during McQuaid's tenure as president - and banned from the sport for life after the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) found him guilty of the most sophisticated doping operation in sports history.

Furthermore, a dossier reportedly containing additional allegations of corruption against McQuaid, which has been handed to USADA, has cast a further shadow over his tenure at the helm.

In a delayed UCI press release, McQuaid said: "I would like to extend my congratulations to Brian on his success in being elected UCI President.

"Being elected UCI President was one of the proudest moments in my life and I know that it is also a proud occasion for Brian, his family and his supporters.

"It has been a huge privilege to serve the sport that I love as UCI President for eight years and I enjoyed every day that I spent working with all of our federations to improve and develop cycling worldwide.

"Brian has set out what he intends to achieve over the next four years and I would encourage all cycling federations to support his efforts to work for the good of the sport."