Brian Cookson, the man who helped transform the fortunes of British Cycling, has emerged as a strong contender to become president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) should the Lance Armstrong doping scandal force the resignation of the current leadership.

Senior figures within the International Olympic Committee and cycling believe Cookson, 61, could be the man to restore the reputation of the sport which is at crisis point, with some IOC members even questioning whether it should remain in the Games.

The current UCI president is Pat McQuaid, a 63-Irishman year-old who has been in power since 2006, but who is facing calls for his resignation after it was revealed the governing body had accepted a 100,000 US dollar donation from Armstrong in 2007.

Armstrong also referred to "shady" dealings with the UCI during his interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, and there has also been criticism that the governing body were aware of the doping problem in cycling but were reluctant to tackle it.

The UCI have appointed an independent commission to report on the body's handling of the Armstrong doping scandal, and if it is critical of McQuaid that could spell the end of the Irishman's tenure.

That would put Cookson firmly in the frame.

One senior IOC figure told the Press Association: "His name is already well-known within the IOC and he would be trusted by the Olympic Movement, given that some people are questioning cycling's future in the Olympics."

ABOVE: Brian Cookson on Lance Armstrong's doping admission