The Professional Cycling Council (PCC) has approved the key principles for a series of measures aiming to improve safety conditions during road races.
These measures will be submitted to the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for approval with a view to their implementation. The majority of these measures will come into force for men’s and women’s professional cycling, with an initial focus on UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour events, from the beginning of 2021 2021. The relevant measures shall also apply progressively across the UCI international Road Calendar.
The key measures approved by the PCC are the following:
- the creation of the position of Safety Manager within the UCI Sports Department; the person in this role will be dedicated to the safety and the supervision of safety at events on the UCI International Road Calendar;
- the reinforcement of the obligation of all event organisers to appoint and train an Event Safety Manager; the UCI will develop the content of the Event Safety Manager’s mission and will set up a certification system based on experience and training;
- the establishment, with the collaboration of an external service provider with expertise in data collection and analysis, of a database of incidents and accidents that have occurred at major UCI WorldTour events in the last five years, allowing for more effective targeting of actions to be taken by the UCI for in-race safety;
- the introduction, again with support from an external service provider, and with the help of new technologies, of a tool enabling the organiser to benefit from an evaluation of risks in the proposed route several weeks before the start of the event; this tool will enable the UCI and organisers to target their actions to ensure race route security and identify potential risks before the events;
- the revision – with a view to the reinforcement – of safety measures featured in various guides published by the UCI for different stakeholders (organisers, drivers, regulators, TV production, teams etc.) where necessary;
the enhancement and modernisation of the specifications concerning obstacle protection elements used along the course, as well as the harmonisation of signalisation used along the race route;
- the improvement of communication with riders when important decisions are taken, as well as the creation of a more detailed protocol dealing with the neutralisation of events;
- improved security in delicate sectors, especially the finish zone and its barricade lines, with the establishment, led by experts, of a set of standards for barriers used in the final of events, in particular for bunch sprints; such standards necessarily being established in consultation with stakeholders and taking into account the characteristics of modern professional cycling;
- stronger regulations concerning potentially dangerous conduct of riders, such as throwing drink bottles on the road or within the peloton (that may pose a danger to following riders), and taking up dangerous positions on the bike (especially in descents);
- review of the regulation regarding the discarding of waste and objects outside dedicated zones, with appropriate sanctions;
better supervision when it comes to the use of equipment by teams that could cause varying problems (for example disc brakes and bottle cages); the UCI Equipment Commission will be asked to work on these specific subjects with industry experts and the sport’s different stakeholders;
- stricter directives for the conduct of different members of the race convoy (motorcycle riders, vehicle drivers and also television helicopter pilots);
- the establishment of a logbook which will enable the monitoring of drivers’ experience and eventually lead to the application of a licence points system for drivers in the race convoy;
- the establishment of a more detailed and structured briefing for all drivers before the start of each event, which will be jointly led by the President of the Commissaires Panel and the organiser.
Before obtaining the approval of the PCC, the above-mentioned measures had been discussed by a working group dedicated to rider safety* created by the UCI and comprising representatives of professional road cycling’s different families. The working group met several times in 2020.
The effects of these different measures will be under constant evaluation and will be examined by the UCI’s Security and Technical Regulations working group, which will meet during the first semester of the year.
The UCI President David Lappartient declared: “The measures announced today enable us to take an important step forward in the reinforcement of safety at road races, which has been one of the major priorities of the UCI for several years. All professional road cycling families have shared their concerns and proposed solutions, and it is on this basis that the announced measures were drawn up before being approved by the different competent bodies, including the Professional Cycling Council, which brings together representatives of teams, organisers and riders. Cycling now has a solid plan of action, which we will continue to improve in consultation with all concerned.”
Iwan Spekenbrink, President of the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP) said: “As team owners and employers, the absolute priority is to have the safest race environment for our riders to perform. In addition, a safe race environment is essential to convey the best image of cycling to fans, society, and the various commercial partners (tv, sponsors, cities, etc.). The principles that have been validated by the Professional Cycling Council are important and a necessary first good step for us in achieving these goals and bringing safety to the forefront of professional road cycling. We are very much looking forward to seeing these principles implemented, as well as to the frequent assessment of their implementation.”
Christian Prudhomme, President of the Association Internationale des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC), said: “Every organiser wishes to stage the safest race possible. These new measures increase responsibilities for organisers, as well as teams and riders. By working together, these measures will benefit the safety and image of cycling and help grow our sport.”
Professional road rider Philippe Gilbert said: “As professional rider directly impacted by these new measures, I am extremely pleased to have been involved and listened to throughout the consultation process led by the UCI. This allowed me to directly express our concerns on important topics such as barrier design and ensuring race convoy vehicles are operated safely around riders. I am pleased with the outcome and glad to see that my input will provide greater safety for us, and for the next generation of riders that will follow.”
* The working group, led by the UCI President David Lappartient and the PCC President Tom Van Damme, and coordinated by the UCI’s Sports Department, is composed of the following members:
AIGCP (teams): Iwan Spekenbrink, Richard Plugge, Patrick Lefevere and Carsten Jeppesen
AIOCC (organisers): Christian Prudhomme, Richard Chassot and Thierry Gouvenou
CPA (riders): Gianni Bugno, Pascal Chanteur, Laura Mora, Philippe Gilbert and Matteo Trentin.