The UCI adopts preventive measures to fight against abuse in cycling and reinforces its arsenal in the fight against technological fraud
Wishing to prevent and sanction all forms of abuse (notably sexual harassment) in cycling more effectively, the UCI adopted, at its June meeting, a series of measures promoting integrity, not only when it comes to its regulations and processes but also with new education initiatives.
To reduce the length and complexity of proceedings opened for violations of its Code of Ethics, the UCI decided to entrust its Ethics Commission with full sanctioning powers. The Commission can therefore impose sanctions without referring, as was the case previously, to the UCI Disciplinary Commission.
An obligation for the Ethics Commission to inform complainants was also approved, whereas until now only the parties against whom the proceedings are directed have received procedural rights and information. This obligation to provide information also includes information concerning the decision and its considerations, insofar as the complainants are directly concerned by the relevant facts.
Finally, the Code now provides for various measures and sanctions that can be imposed by the Ethics Commission, including provisional sanctions, preventive and/or coercive measures to avoid conflicts of interests and suspended sanctions which may be accompanied by educative measures. This means that the extremely varied nature of cases the Ethics Commission examines can be taken into account with the imposition of measures that are preventive, educative or punitive, depending on the nature of the case.
As the prevention of abuse is a fundamental part of the UCI’s integrity programme, several actions will be rolled out very soon. The UCI’s new website, which will be launched in September 2021, will include pages dedicated to the protection of athletes and everyone working in cycling. These pages will contain general awareness information, for example video tutorials provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The pages mentioned above will include a reporting system to enable anonymous notification of inappropriate conduct.
Moreover, to reinforce its programme of abuse prevention, the UCI will appoint an Integrity and Education Manager by the end of September 2021 at the latest. This person will be in charge of establishing education and awareness courses for all cycling’s families, and managing the reporting system for harassment and abuse. The activities of the Integrity and Education Manager will complement those of the UCI’s Ethics Commission: while the Commission’s mission is to pursue breaches of the Ethics Code, that of the new Manager will be to ensure that stakeholders are informed of behaviour constituting a breach of the Ethics Code and the applicable sanctions in the case of violation, and that they receive training on the subject. The UCI recognises the importance of education for any activity linked to integrity and believes that the appointment of a reference person for the different concerned parties who is dedicated to this area represents a significant step forward.
Still in the area of integrity, the UCI has decided to strengthen its arsenal in the fight against technological fraud. After the introduction of magnetic tablets in 2016 and mobile X-ray technology in 2018, a third tool will soon be used to detect any possible use of motors hidden in tubes and other bike components. During the 2021 season, a device using backscatter technology combining the advantages of the two tools already used by the UCI will join the range of equipment available to the Federation. Not too big, and relatively light (a little more than 3kg), this piece of technology much like a camera can be easily transported and manipulated by the inspectors. It will provide instantaneous images of the interior of the sections examined that can be transmitted, remotely, directly to the UCI Commissaires.
When it comes to events, after an extremely successful first edition of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships – organised on 9 December 2020 -, and as the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the new virtual circuit launched by the IOC and which includes cycling, is in full swing, the UCI Management Committee welcomed the efforts under way to strengthen the development and promotion of cycling esports. For the UCI, it is necessary to guarantee the integrity of competitions (especially with the certification of home trainers used at different levels of competition and increased monitoring of riders’ data), develop a UCI International Calendar for cycling esports open to platforms that fulfill the conditions of competition integrity, establish a UCI Ranking for the discipline, and reinforce the role of the UCI and its National Federations in the governance of this new activity. A more detailed development plan for the discipline will be presented to the UCI Management Committee in September 2021.
The theme of the safety of road cyclists was discussed. Members of the Management Committee confirmed their support for the introduction, in collaboration with concerned players – organisers, teams and riders first and foremost –, of the safety plan announced last 4 February, which was accompanied by a guide for rider safety at men’s and women’s road cycling events. Emphasis was put on the importance of good and close cooperation on this point with the Association des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC), the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP), the recognised association representing women’s teams (UNIO), the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) and the CPA Women.
The UCI had decided to make a number of changes to the regulations pertaining to the discarding of bottles and other waste during competition, introduced in 2021, from stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia through to the end of the Italian race. The Management Committee approved the decision of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) to prolong the application of the modified regulation until the end of June for all UCI WorldTour events and extended it to cover all events on the UCI Road International Calendar. A working group will examine the opportunity to review the regulation before the start of the Tour de France.
The system of team invitations to UCI Women’s WorldTour events will be modified from 2022. From this date, organisers of events on the circuit will be required to invite not only the 15 UCI Women’s WorldTeams but also the two best UCI Women’s Continental Teams. The increase in the number of invited teams, from 15 to 17, aims to stimulate the development of women’s teams.
Concerning track cycling, the UCI can announce the new dates for the round of the 2021 Tissot UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup in Cali (Colombia), originally scheduled for 3-6 June before being postponed due to the current situation in the country. The event, third and final round of the series, will finally take place from 9 to 12 September 2021. To enable the staging of the round while still ensuring that the results obtained there are taken into account for qualification for the 2021 Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships, the UCI Management Committee decided to extend the qualification period for the 2021 UCI Worlds by 12 days as opposed to finishing the reglementary six weeks prior to the event as specified in article 9.2.023 of the UCI Regulations.
The UCI Management Committee approved the following calendars:
- 2022 UCI WorldTour calendar (approved by the PCC)
- 2022 UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar
- 2022 UCI Road International calendar (November and December 2021)
- 2021-2022 UCI Track International calendar.
It is worth drawing attention to several points for the 2022 UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour calendars.
For the UCI WorldTour, although the two events opening the season in Australia – the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – are registered on the calendar for 2022, their dates have not yet been finalised. Discussions between the organisers and local authorities are in progress to ensure the best possible welcome for the teams in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The events will take place from the middle or the end of January. The situation is the same for the women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, registered on the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar in 2022.
The duration of the Tour de France and the Vuelta Ciclista a España, which will set off respectively on 1st July and 19 August 2022, will be exceptionally extended to 24 days. These exceptions were deemed pertinent due to the foreign departs for the two competitions (from Copenhagen in Denmark for the Tour and from the city and province of Utrecht and the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands for the Vuelta).
For the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the Prudential RideLondon Classique (Great Britain) will be three days (27-29 May) as opposed to just one previously.
The Donostia San Sebastián Klasikoa will make way for the three-day Itzulia Women (13-15 May) in 2022. Still in Spain, the Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta, which will take place over four race days from 2021, is registered for 8-11 September.
The Giro d’Italia Donne, subject to the 2021 edition meeting the specifications for the series, will return to the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar next season. It will last 10 days (1-10 July 2022).
The new women’s Tour de France joins the calendar, replacing La Course by le Tour de France. Lasting eight days, it will begin on 24 July and finish on 31 July 2022. This achievement reflects the UCI’s desire to see the creation, under its impulse, of a women’s stage race of reference on a global scale (cf. Agenda 2022).
Finally, the Ladies Tour of Norway will become the Battle of the North and will be extended by two days, going from four to six days of racing (9-14 August).
The UCI Management Committee also approved the UCI’s 2020 Financial Report. This will be published by the end of July with the full 2020 UCI Annual Report.
At the end of the day, the UCI President David Lappartient declared: “It is fundamental for the UCI to ensure the wellbeing of athletes, be it their safety, physical health or mental health. With the strong decisions taken today to fight against all forms of abuse in cycling, through prevention, education and improving procedures, and which come on top of measures already implemented in the domains of safety and health, the UCI has armed itself with effective tools to combat this scourge. Inappropriate behaviour has no place in cycling.
“In another area touching on integrity, I am pleased to be able to announce the reinforcement of the UCI’s arsenal to fight against technological fraud. With the magnetic tablets, mobile x-ray technology and most recently backscatter technology, we now have an effective assembly of tools, more dissuasive than ever, to detect all forms of mechanical cheating.”