By Julien Pretot
FLORENCE, Italy, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Britain's Brian Cookson will become the next president of the International Cycling Union after defeating incumbent Pat McQuaid in a vote on Friday.
Cookson, president of British Cycling, won by 24 votes to 18 following a controversial election during which McQuaid's eligibility to stand was queried by some.
There were cheers when the result was announced at the majestic Salone dei Cinquecento in Florence's stately Palazzo Vecchio after over five hours of sometimes heated debate.
"I'm under no illusion that the real work starts now," Cookson calmly told the UCI congress. "My first priority is to make anti-doping fully independent," he added, before thanking Irishman McQuaid for his contribution to cycling. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alison Wildey/Alan Baldwin)