The Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met from 31 July to 2 August in Glasgow, Scotland (Great Britain), as part of the first edition of the UCI Cycling World Championships, which will bring together 13 separate UCI World Championships from 3 to 13 August.
In line with its policy of professionalising women’s cycling, which has gained momentum since 2016 and has led to real development in women’s cycling (including the introduction of a minimum salary for women professional riders, the creation of the UCI Women’s WorldTeams, the introduction of maternity leave, equal quotas for men and women for Olympic Games events from the Paris 2024 edition, etc.), the UCI Management Committee took two new decisions supporting this development.
Firstly, it adopted the principle of the integration of stakeholders of women’s professional road cycling into the Professional Cycling Council (PCC). The PCC will also be responsible for matters relating to the UCI Women’s WorldTour (including the preparation of calendars) and not just those concerning the UCI WorldTour. As a result, from 2024 onwards, the associations representing the highest level of stakeholders in men’s and women’s international cycling will be represented on this enlarged PCC. Its decisions will then have to be validated by the UCI Management Committee before coming into force.
In addition, the UCI Management Committee approved the creation of a second division of women’s professional teams. This means that UCI ProTeams for women will appear from 2025. The introduction of this division, positioned between the existing UCI Women’s WorldTeams (1st division) and UCI Women’s Continental Teams (to become 3rd division), was initially scheduled for the 2026 season. However, in view of the current boom in women’s cycling, and following consultation with stakeholders, the decision was taken to bring forward the launch by one year. This new initiative will also enable a greater number of female riders to benefit from a professional framework. With the introduction of the women’s UCI ProTeams, women’s teams are now structured according to the same model as men’s teams. As professional teams, the women’s UCI ProTeams will follow the same registration procedure as the other professional teams (UCI Women’s WorldTeams, UCI WorldTeams and men’s UCI ProTeams) by registering directly with the UCI. The UCI will be assisted in this task by the appointed external auditor, PwC.
The UCI is strongly committed to the development and implementation of integrity programmes aimed at ensuring that cycling remains a clean, safe and fair sport for all those involved, free from all forms of harassment and other abuse, regardless of an individual’s ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, social origin or religion. With this in mind, the UCI launched its Cycling Integrity programme in 2022. A new step has now been taken with the approval of two documents, entitled “UCI Safeguarding Policy” and “Safeguarding: UCI Toolkit for Cycling Stakeholders “.
The “UCI Safeguarding Policy” details the framework put in place by the UCI to prevent, deal with and report any action likely to harm the physical and/or psychological integrity of people involved in cycling. This policy clearly sets out the definitions, risks and impact of the various forms of harassment and other abuse. It explains the measures implemented by the UCI to help prevent such cases from occurring, as well as response measures to deal with any concerns that may arise.
With the “Safeguarding: UCI Toolkit for Cycling Stakeholders”, the UCI goes one step further by providing a practical handbook for all those involved in cycling – National Federations, teams, and organisers – who all have an essential role to play in ensuring that cycling is safe for everyone. This guide contains guidance on the roles and responsibilities of cycling stakeholders, model codes of conduct that should be adopted by riders and those working with them, as well as advice on safe recruitment procedures, education and raising awareness.
In an effort to guarantee sporting fairness and reduce the carbon footprint of events on the UCI WorldTour calendar, the UCI condemned the use of helicopter transport to transfer riders at the end of a stage in the last Giro d’Italia. The transfers were carried out in conditions that did not respect these two requirements. It became apparent that the organisers’ specifications made no specific provision for transfers by helicopter. To remedy this shortcoming and combat the negative effects of such a practice, the UCI Management Committee decided to amend the aforementioned specifications, in particular to ensure that this type of transfer gives rise to carbon compensation and that the equitable treatment of teams is guaranteed.
In general, the UCI Management Committee welcomed the continued growth of the different cycling disciplines, such as mountain bike and track (through the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the UCI Track Champions League organised with Warner Bros. Discovery), cyclo-cross (and the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup organised with Flanders Classics), BMX Racing (with the UCI BMX Racing World Cup) and mass events (with the UCI Gran Fondo World Series and the UCI Gravel World Series organised with Golazo).
Finally, the UCI Management Committee decided to award the UCI Bike City label to the cities of Montreal (Canada) and Aigle (Switzerland), and to the regions of Saalfelden Leogang (Austria) and South Scotland (Great Britain). The UCI Bike City label rewards cities and regions which, in addition to hosting major events on the UCI International Calendar, are committed to developing and promoting cycling in their communities, and invest in related infrastructure and programmes. The four new recipients join the network of 22 cities and regions that have already been awarded the UCI Bike City/Region label.
The city of Montreal, which has hosted a UCI WorldTour event for the past 10 years (the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal), has put in place a solid strategy to promote cycling over the past 15 years. With more than 1,600 km of cycle paths in the city centre and 3,200 km in its greater urban area, it has become one of the top five cycling cities in North America, and aims to be number one by 2031. Two-thirds of its population live within 300 metres of a cycle path. In order to increase the modal share of cycling to 15% by 2027, the city is focusing on promoting soft mobility, improving infrastructure and strengthening services for cyclists. Over the next five years, a further 200 km of segregated cycle lanes will be built. In addition, to improve safety for cyclists, an incident map is available online, and a team specialising in analysing and improving hotspots has been set up. A city renowned for its snowy winters, Montreal will keep 180 of its 800 public bike-sharing stations open next winter. Finally, numerous mass events organised throughout the year celebrate the vitality of the local cycling scene.
The city of Aigle, home to the UCI headquarters and the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC), has a rich cycling tradition. Recently, it hosted the 2018 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships as well as a UCI Gran Fondo World Series event in 2022 and 2023. It was also to co-host the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, before their cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, it hosted a total of 11 cycling events, including the Tour de France and the Tour de Romandie. Following the launch of a new strategy by the canton of Vaud – where Aigle is located – entitled “Horizon 2035”, and after celebrating the canton’s “Year of the Bike” in 2022, the city launched a global vision focusing on sport, energy and mobility, in which cycling plays a key role. A specific cycling master plan has been created to rebalance the relationship between active mobility, individual motorised traffic and public transport, and to create safe routes for cyclists.
For years, the Saalfelden Leogang region has been successfully implementing a cycling promotion strategy to position itself as one of Europe’s top mountain bike destinations. This strategy focuses on hosting UCI events (multiple rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and two editions of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships), providing infrastructure and reducing the impact of humans on nature. The 900 km of existing trails are marked out to prevent cyclists from entering wildlife habitat, and new routes are created in the most sustainable way possible. In addition, public transport is coordinated to facilitate access to bike parks. Saalfelden Leogang has proactively certified its UCI events with the regional label Green Events Salzburg, and the region, a partner of the Climate Alliance, is a pilot destination for the Austrian Eco-Label certification.
South Scotland was quick to recognise the power of the bike when the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships were awarded to Glasgow and Scotland. Indeed, the region, in which two of the event’s venues are located (Glentress for mountain bike cross-country, and Dumfries and Galloway for para-cycling road) and which hosted a UCI Gravel World Series event (in 2023) and Enduro World Series rounds (in 2022 and previous years), seized the opportunity to unite a wide range of stakeholders with the vision of developing cycling for all. This vision and its resulting project aim, by 2032, to see cycling become the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys and embedded into the daily fabric of the lives of residents and experiences of visitors. A 10-year strategic plan focusing on innovation and technology, destination development and promotion, events, sustainable economy and communities, sport, recreation and wellbeing, and infrastructure, as well as a 10-point priority plan with funding of £94 million (€110 million) have been drawn up.
At the end of the three days of meeting, UCI President David Lappartient declared: ” With the creation of a second division of women’s professional teams and the extension of the Professional Cycling Council’s remit to the highest level of women’s cycling, the sector is continuing the impressive progress it has made in recent years. These advances will boost the sector and provide further evidence of its growth.
“In another area, that of integrity, we can look forward to the continued implementation of comprehensive measures in cycling, with a strong preventive component, to ensure that our sport represents a safe environment for everyone in which no form of abuse is tolerated.
“Finally, I would like to welcome the towns and regions that have joined our UCI Bike City/Region network, a label that distinguishes local authorities with a long-term commitment to cycling as a competitive sport and sustainable activity. On the eve of the opening of the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland, which will thrill the cycling world from August 3 to 13, this network, which now includes 26 cities and regions, symbolises the growing involvement of public authorities in promoting cycling for all.”
The next meeting of the Management Committee will be held on 25 and 26 January 2024 in Prague (Czech Republic).