The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Management Committee met over the last two days in Zurich, Switzerland, ahead of the 2020 UCI Cyclocross World Championships. Several important decisions were made, in particular, a commitment to develop cyclocross, and to reinforce the fight against doping.
The UCI Management Committee approved certain amendments to the UCI Cyclocross Regulations for World Cup events, giving this series a truly international dimension. The changes will take effect for the 2020-21 season. The updated regulations will be published next week.
The new formula for the UCI Cyclocross World Cup, organized by the Flanders Classics company, will come into effect for the 2020-21 season.
The increase in the number of rounds of the series, from the current nine, to 14 – 16, will allow an improved geographical distribution. A maximum of half the World Cup events will be held in Belgium, ensuring the inclusion of prestigious, popular classics in the UCI World Cup series. The other rounds will be hosted by nations that are active on the international scene, or committed to developing cyclocross in their country.
This approach will allow the best athletes in the world to compete in a series, featuring the year’s biggest events. Consequently, the UCI Cyclocross World Cup will be even better at shining a spotlight on the discipline, at a global level, and offering a key platform for nations wanting to reach the highest level.
The first edition of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in its new format will consist of 14 rounds as follows:
The revenue generated by the new UCI Cyclocross World Cup will enable the UCI to increase its investment, aiming to assist national federations in fielding teams of young riders in the series. Up to now, national federations have been compensated by organizers, for the participation of their riders in the men’s junior, and men’s under-23 categories. Compensation will be extended, beginning next season, to all youth categories: men and women, junior and under-23. This substantially increased compensation will be covered by the UCI. The UCI will, in this way, encourage the development of young riders, and recognize the development benefits of cyclocross with the involvement of the respective national federations.
The UCI Management Committee also approved the creation of a higher level of cyclocross team structure, namely UCI Professional Cyclocross Teams. The objective of the change is to both facilitate the participation of cyclocross specialists and their teams in road events, and to afford more visibility to the sponsors investing in these teams. UCI Professional Cyclocross Teams may participate in road events beginning in January, 2021.
With respect to anti-doping, the UCI Management Committee unanimously made the decision to transfer the operational activities of its anti-doping program to the International Testing Agency (ITA), beginning January 1, 2021.
The ITA is an international, non-profit organization, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The ITA was set up at the initiative of the Olympic Movement, with the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Its mission is to offer independent anti-doping services to sporting and political authorities. It currently manages programs for more than 40 organizations, including international federations of Olympic sports, and leading event organizers.
This decision was considered after an examination of the opportunities offered by a collaboration between the ITA and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF). Several information-gathering meetings were held with representatives from professional cycling teams, riders and organizers. During these meetings, stakeholders were able to ask wide-ranging questions of both the CADF, and the ITA. Furthermore, the UCI was able to hear the conditions set out by each stakeholder, with regards to any change proposed.
The decision to transfer the operational activities of the UCI’s anti-doping program to the ITA will offer cycling numerous advantages. In particular, cycling will benefit from important synergies in areas such as research, innovation, intelligence and investigations, as well as worthwhile prospects in terms of the sharing of costs and resources. The decision also considered a context (the Aderlass Affair, for example) where it has become clear that doping is part of an environment that knows no barriers—neither between sports, nor between countries. In parallel with testing, information and intelligence has become the central element of an efficient anti-doping program. By joining the ITA, the UCI, a pioneer in the domain, continues to demonstrate that it can make the decisions necessary to be at the forefront of the fight against doping.
In the meantime, the CADF will remain responsible for the UCI’s anti-doping program through 2020. In line with the federation’s wish, the totality of its immense expertise will be conserved within the ITA.
The UCI’s decision is subject to certain conditions, including the obligation for the ITA to create a dedicated cycling unit within its structure, and to offer all CADF employees the opportunity to join this unit. Furthermore, the financial contributions of cycling’s stakeholders are to be exclusively allocated to cycling’s anti-doping program, with regular reports made to the current funding committee, composed of representatives of the UCI, AIGCP, CPA, and AIOCC.
All the conditions of the transfer to the ITA will be formalized in a contract between the ITA and the UCI, that will require ratification at the next Management Committee meeting in Lausanne, June 10-12, 2020. Cycling stakeholders will be included in the process of formalizing the conditions of this transfer. In the meantime, the UCI confirms that the CADF will continue to implement its anti-doping program in 2020, and will respect the same high-quality standards of recent years. The UCI would like to thank the CADF for its excellent work since 2008, and its commitment to the fight against doping, which will be maintained and promoted at the ITA.
The UCI Management Committee also approved new measures to improve safety at road events, drafted after meetings with representatives of the teams (AIGCP), riders (CPA) and organizers (AIOCC). To this end, the specifications for organizers have been supplemented, and the UCI regulations were enhanced with new articles relating to riders’ safety. The new measures include:
- new provisions to ensure that the issue of safety on the race route is one of the organizers’ priorities, such that potentially dangerous [route] sections can be avoided
- new obligations in relation to the use of unpaved sections of road (for example, providing to teams detailed descriptions of the unpaved sections on a route, to ensure that these unpaved sections are passable, in all weather conditions) and introducing measures to guarantee their good condition
- the reinforcement and standardization of the role of the Regulator, essential to ensuring the organization’s smooth running of the event, and better supervision of live TV motorbikes, which must never hinder the progress of the race
- strengthening the role of the Safety Manager in the organization, and providing a systematic list of this individual’s responsibilities
- a “Discussion Protocol” for extreme weather conditions and the safety of riders at events, to expand on the existing “Protocol for extreme weather conditions,” and provide a formal process for riders and teams, wishing to express their concerns about safety and the organization of an event.
The new version of the specifications for organizers will apply not only to the UCI WorldTour, but also to the UCI Women’s WorldTour, and the men’s UCI ProSeries. The progressive implementation of these new provisions will commence immediately.
The following UCI World Championships were awarded by the UCI Management Committee:
- 2020 UCI Pump Track World Championships: Leogang, Austria
- 2021, and 2024 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 2024 UCI Cyclocross World Championships: Tábor, Czech Republic
- 2025 UCI Cyclocross World Championships: Fédération Française de Cyclisme.
The UCI Management Committee also approved the following calendars:
- 2020-2021 UCI Track International Calendar
- 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator Calendar (UCI World Cup and UCI World Championships)
- 2020 UCI BMX Freestyle International Calendar
- 2020-2021 UCI Cyclo-cross International Calendar
- 2020 UCI Trials International Calendar
At the end of the two-day meeting, UCI President David Lappartient said: “I am very pleased with the reform of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup, which is an important step towards wider globalization of the discipline’s leading series. With the significant increase in the number of rounds, our World Cup will be present in more countries, and will offer fans a wider range of races, among the most popular and attractive in the world.”
“As for the transfer of the operational activities of the UCI’s anti-doping program from the CADF to the ITA, I would like to thank all those who took part in the discussions that led to today’s decision. The UCI has been one of the leading federations in the domain of anti-doping, for a long time, and the collaboration with the ITA will enable us to be stronger than ever in this sector, and to thus bolster our defense of clean riders, and the credibility of our competitions, and all of our sport’s stakeholders.”
“I welcome the reinforcement of specifications for road race organizers. The aim of this document is to help organizers ensure the safety of riders to an even greater degree, which is one of our major priorities.”
The next UCI Management Committee meeting will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 10-12.