The Professional Cycling Council (PCC) has examined the implementation of the new rules introduced in 2021 – on 1st April for most of them – to reinforce rider safety during men’s and women’s road races.
On this specific question, representatives of UNIO (association of women’s teams) and of CPA Women (association representing women riders) were invited to participate in the discussions of the PCC, the competent body for the UCI WorldTour, which is composed of representatives of riders (CPA), teams (AIGCP) organisers (AIOCC) and of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
In the light of experience gained at competitions since 1st April, the members of the PCC and the representatives of women’s cycling reaffirmed their support for the safety plan adopted by the UCI Management Committee on 4 February, and notably for the measures concerning the discarding of bottles and waste. However, they declared themselves in favour of an adjustment of the sanctions linked to the new rules.
Throwing bottles and waste outside dedicated zones provided by the organiser for this purpose remains forbidden. However, the riders have the possibility to get rid of their bottles and waste by giving them to team assistants positioned on the roadside, in charge of feeding, and to the following vehicles of teams and the organisers.
Throwing bottles to the public, in particular, is a proven danger both for the riders and the public: on multiple occasions, crashes have been caused by bottles thrown to spectators and coming back onto the road, and spectators have been injured by bottles thrown by riders into the public. Moreover, the UCI wants to avoid fans, notably children, trying to get close to riders during races, to avoid accidents with potentially dramatic consequences (collision with riders or vehicles in the race caravan for example).
Throwing bottles and waste outside dedicated zones for this purpose will now be sanctioned as follows:
- At a one-day race, the first infringement will be punished by a fine and a deduction of UCI points (respectively 100 to 500 Swiss francs and 5 to 25 points depending on the class of event), whereas a second infringement will result in the disqualification of the offending rider. Previously, the regulation stipulated a fine, deduction of UCI points and immediate disqualification from the first violation.
- At stage races, the first infringement will be punished by a fine and a deduction of UCI points (respectively 100 to 500 Swiss francs and 5 to 25 points depending on the class of event). The second infringement will result in a time penalty (1 minute) and the third to disqualification. Previously, the regulation stipulated a fine, deduction of UCI points and a 30-second time penalty for the first infringement, a 2 minute time penalty for the second infringement and disqualification for the third.
The UCI will closely monitor the respect of the revised rules. After assessment this year, it could adapt the sanctions if the riders and teams repeatedly violate the rule covering the throwing of bottles and waste outside dedicated litter zones.
All stakeholders approved these new measures, considering that they enable both the improvement of rider safety and the reinforcement of cycling’s environmental responsibility.
The measures that were discussed during the PCC will be able to come into force – most probably on Saturday 17 April – only after formal approval by the UCI Management Committee.
The UCI clarifies that the fines collected for littering will be allocated to the UCI’s Environmental Strategy. A subject of discussion during the Management Committee meeting in February 2021 this strategy will be formalised during the September 2021 UCI Management Committee.
The UCI President David Lappartient declared: “The implementation of measures in 2021 aiming to reinforce rider safety is the object of careful assessment, and the UCI has pursued its consultations with all concerned. Following these numerous exchanges with the different stakeholders, it was judged appropriate to adapt the sanctions for the new rules concerning the discarding of bottles and waste outside dedicated litter zones. The UCI is pleased that a solution acceptable to all parties could be found, which maintains the essential: the safety of riders and the public and cycling’s environmental responsibility.”