As the 2015 cycling season comes to a close, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has taken a moment to reflect on the significant progress they’ve made with respect respect to modernizing the governing body over the last year.
from the UCI
Our strategic priorities are driven by four core principles – development, internationalisation, ethics and excellence – which underpin everything we do in partnership with our member federations and confederations.
So what have we achieved over the past 12 months?
Revolutionize our approach to anti-doping
The UCI year started with the introduction of new Anti-Doping Rules to reflect the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. These further strengthened cycling’s anti-doping procedures with far reaching sanctions on teams with riders who are found to have doped (competition suspension plus a fine of 5% of the team budget).We have made many other changes including establishing an Anti-Doping Tribunal to handle the cases of international riders which heard its first case a few weeks ago.
We are strongly committed to strengthening our ties with all anti-doping organisations, and are pleased with the 10 sharing agreements that we have now signed with National Anti-Doping Organisations such as Switzerland, France, Denmark, South Africa and the United Kingdom. More will follow in 2016.
We truly believe that an effective fight for a clean sport can only be achieved through joining forces and we see these partnerships as clear signs of our restored reputation. For instance, together with the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the UCI has collaborated with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for the first time on the 2015 Amgen Tour of California and the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond.
These changes are being made because it is the right thing to do. They are also starting to bring wider benefits to our sport as building trust in cycling is not just about morality, it’s about boosting our commercial success, broadcast exposure and reaching new fans. So, for example, it is great news and no coincidence that German broadcaster ARD is now live broadcasting the Tour de France after a three year absence.
Embrace openness and transparency
I was elected with a mandate to restore trust and credibility in our sport and the UCI. In 2015 we have made significant progress in doing exactly this. The UCI opened itself up to an unprecedented level of independent scrutiny from the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). Some of the report, when it was published in March – on time and below the budget allocated – made uncomfortable reading, but we had to acknowledge that lessons needed to be learned. This was a brave thing to do and the cycling family should take real credit for playing its part in cooperating with the CIRC.
The report looked in detail at the past, but much more importantly, it made recommendations for the future and we are now busy implementing those including:
• The establishment of a storage and re-testing strategy;
• Working with WADA and other experts to analyse new substances and trends;
• Implementing appropriate night-time testing.
The report was published in full and is available on our website:
http://Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report
In short, we are now ensuring an intelligence-led approach that will increase the effectiveness of our testing programme.
The UCI also reinvigorated its Athletes Commission to make sure the voice of the riders is heard loud and clear. For the first time, the members have been elected directly by their peers. The 13 members come from four continents, with Men-Women parity ensured for the four Olympic disciplines (road, track, mountain bike, BMX) and para-cycling. At least one of the Athletes Commission’s representatives in each discipline will also serve on the respective Commission for that discipline.
The mission of the Athletes Commission is to:
• Improve the training and competition conditions for athletes;
• Give riders the opportunity to have their say with the guarantee of being heard by the cycling family and its administration;
• Allow the UCI to receive riders’ opinions directly;
• Reinforce the links between current or recently-retired athletes and the UCI.
The UCI Athletes Commission recently met for the first time and elected Bobbie Traksel as President. And I will be delighted to welcome him on the UCI Management Committee at our meeting next month.
Grow cycling worldwide
During 2015 we have seen an enormous number of events of all disciplines on the domestic, continental and international calendars. Over 120 UCI major events, World Cups and World Championships will have taken place in 28 countries this year including the Road World Championships in the United States – the first in the US for almost 30 years.
We have also increased investment in the UCI World Cycling Centre (UCI WCC) and this year Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu from Rwanda was the 1000th trainee to pass through the centre’s doors since it opened in 2002. A few months later she became Rwanda’s first woman cyclist to compete at the UCI Road World Championships finishing 87th in the Elite Women’s road race that registered 46 DNFs. Guided by our professional road, track and BMX coaches, we help our trainees achieve their goals. These include Stefany Hernandez from Venezuela who became BMX World Champion in August, and Daniel Teklehhaimanot who was the first black African rider to wear the polka dot jersey in this year’s Tour de France. Let’s also not forget Chris Froome, winner of his second Tour de France this year, who came through our doors as a Kenyan in 2007.
Away from Aigle, we have our satellite centres in Japan and Korea, opened a satellite in India and are advancing plans for a centre in Egypt to serve their wider regions. The UCI WCC is not just about able bodied riders – this year it organised two para-cycling training camps for riders from around the World.
I’m delighted also to witness an incredible explosion in cycling’s popularity as it becomes the preferred way to get to work or exercise. Governments across the globe are now grasping the huge public health benefits from integrating cycling into their transport plans – for example, more than 700 cities in 50 countries now have bike-share schemes.
In Richmond, Virginia, host city of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, we have seen 32 kilometres of new bike lanes built in the run up to the event, and the city has a vision to ensure one in ten trips is by bike before 2025.
In November, the UCI’s report on the global impact of cycling as a form of transport was published by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and University of California Davis. The UCI had commissioned the report alongside the European Cyclists’ Federation and the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association.
The report was published to make the case for cycling as a contributor to major global concerns with regard to climate change and development policy, and was disseminated at the COP21 meeting in Paris. The evidence from the report will also be used as a platform to quantify the impact of cycling on a country or regional level. It will also help provide the parameters for further modelling of other effects of a large scale shift to cycling, such as the benefits conferred on health from the population being more physically active.
The study showed that if cycling’s current level of 6% all trips made increases to 23% by 2050, cities would save $25 trillion in road, public transport and maintenance costs, even after extra investment in cycling facilities. And this switch to cycling would save 300 megatonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to around 10% of urban transport emissions.
All this puts cycling in a wonderful, unique position. We are a sport that is becoming increasingly embedded in everyday life and it is my job, as President of the UCI, to ensure cycling makes the most of the incredible opportunities that lie ahead.
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