Meeting on 21 and 22 September in Bruges (Belgium) during the 2021 UCI Road World Championships in Flanders, marking the event’s centenary, the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) made a number of important decisions, notably concerning cycling’s off-road disciplines.
From the 2022 season of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, cross-country short track (XCC) will have its own overall ranking, as is already the case for cross-country Olympic (XCO) and downhill (DHI). That means that a UCI World Cup winner for this speciality will be crowned at the end of the season in both the men’s and women’s competitions. At the same time, XCC will continue, as is the case today, to play a role in deciding the positions of the riders on the starting grid for the XCO events (the 24 highest-ranked riders in the first three rows). Points gained in the XCC will also continue to count towards the UCI World Cup ranking for XCO.
Still on the subject of innovations, a new discipline, gravel, will join the UCI Cycling for All International Calendar in 2022. From next year, the UCI will organise – in collaboration with events organiser Golazo – a UCI Gravel World Series consisting of events enabling athletes to qualify for the UCI Gravel World Championships. This discipline combines elements of road and mountain bike, and takes place mainly on unsealed roads (gravel, forest tracks, farm roads, cobbles, etc). Races in the UCI World Series will be mass participation events.
Another new initiative, a test event for a cyclo-cross team relay, will take place during the 2022 edition of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships being held in Fayetteville, Arkansas (USA) on 29-30 January. This test event will then be evaluated with a view to potentially integrating the team relay into the programme of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in the future.
Finally, the development of snow bike continues, and the UCI is exploring new possibilities for organising a UCI Snow Bike World Cup and UCI Snow Bike World Championships for the 2022-2023 winter season. An analysis is currently underway, and its results will be presented to the UCI Management Committee in January 2022.
Several decisions were taken by the UCI Management Committee to continue developing women’s road cycling:
- From 2023, the status of neo-professional rider will be introduced in UCI Women’s WorldTeams, along the same model that already exists for men’s professional teams. This status will go to riders aged less than 23 who sign their first contract with a UCI Women’s WorldTeam.
- The regulation minimum salaries were updated for the seasons 2023 to 2025, including for female neo-professionals. The minimum salary will therefore be the same for riders in UCI Women’s WorldTeams and UCI ProTeams (men) in 2023. It will then continue to increase for UCI Women’s WorldTeams, with the objective that this minimum salary be identical for UCI Women’s WorldTeams and UCI WorldTeams as quickly as possible.
- Moreover, in the interests of coherence and given the welcome increase in the number of structures comprising both men’s and women’s teams, the UCI Management Committee has decided to align the lengths and conditions of attribution for UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour licences for teams. This alignment will come into force from the 2026 season following a two-year transition period in 2024 and 2025.
- Finally, the UCI welcomes the creation of a women’s version of the Tour de Romandie, a UCI WorldTour stage race in Switzerland, which will join the UCI Women’s WorldTour in 2022.
Regarding the 2022 season, the UCI Management Committee approved the following calendars:
- 2022 UCI Road International Calendar*
- 2022 UCI Mountain Bike International Calendar
- 2022 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup
- 2022 UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup
- 2022 UCI BMX International Calendar
- 2022 UCI BMX World Cup
- 2022 UCI BMX Freestyle International Calendar
- 2022 UCI Para-cycling International Calendar
- 2022 UCI Trials International Calendar
- 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Series.
* All categories of events, with the exception of UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour races, whose 2022 calendars had already been approved, respectively by the Professional Cycling Council and by the UCI Management Committee in June.
These calendars, along with all the regulation changes approved by the UCI Management Committee, will be published on the UCI website (www.uci.org) on 1st October.
The Management Committee members welcomed the official launch of the new UCI website on 20 September. With a more modern design and enhanced navigation, it is easier to use. The objective of the redesign is to better meet the expectations and needs of the media, National Federations and all cycling’s stakeholders.
In the domain of the fight against all forms of abuse in cycling, where the UCI is very active, the Management Committee welcomed the appointment by the UCI of an Integrity and Education Manager who will join the Federation very soon. This person will be in charge of implementing education and awareness courses for all cycling’s families. The person will also manage the reporting system, notably for harassment and abuse. The Integrity and Education Manager’s mission will be to support potential victims of harassment by guiding them in the right direction to take appropriate action. In terms of education, this person will be in charge of implementing a programme that will inform stakeholders of the types of conduct that breach the UCI Code of Ethics and ensuring that they are aware of the applicable sanctions in case of violation. As education is key in all activity linked to integrity, the appointment of a reference person for the different parties concerned is a decisive step forward.
Concerning integrity also, the Management Committee decided to provisionally suspend the Mexican Cycling Federation for serious infringements of the obligations it is subject to under the UCI Constitution, in particular when it comes to governance and electoral processes. This suspension comes with clear conditions for being lifted, linked in particular to the revision of regulations and the holding of new elections that are based on these.
Following the UCI Management Committee’s approval, in June 2021, of new UCI Guidelines concerning sustainability as well as detailed sustainability objectives, the UCI worked on the next stages of its sustainable development strategy. Communicated to the UCI Management Committee, these include: the calculation of the UCI’s carbon footprint, with specific reduction measures to be defined in the coming months, the development of an engagement plan for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) which will take place in Glasgow (GBR) in November and the development of education initiatives concerning the world climate agenda, both for the UCI and its stakeholders. The UCI will continue to work with its stakeholders to finalise a list of objectives for cycling’s families (event organisers, National Federations, teams, riders, etc) which will be presented to the UCI Management Committee in 2022.
On the subject of the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was decided, given the uncertainty surrounding the evolution of the international health situation for the coming months, to extend the special provisions in force for road cycling until the end of February 2022. New measures could be taken at the beginning of 2022 depending on the evolution of the pandemic and the vaccination rate in the peloton.
Despite the absence of scientific proof of performance enhancement from ketones, and as part of the UCI’s commitment to an honest and credible sport, the UCI Management Committee – like the Professional Cycling Council at its meeting on 20 September – requested that an additional scientific study be launched to clarify the question. While waiting for the results of the study, the UCI recommends riders to refrain from using this substance.
After the two days of meeting UCI President David Lappartient declared: “Cycling continues to innovate, this time in off-road with the creation of a very interesting new ranking for mountain bike cross-country short track, the recognition of gravel – an additional and rapidly expanding discipline – the launch of a new team format in cyclo-cross and the exploration of new avenues for the development of snow bike.
“Progress has also been made in women’s cycling which continues to become more professional through measures aiming to help bridge any gap, in terms of development, between women’s and men’s cycling.”