The UCI commits to reinforcement of the professionalisation of women's road cycling and the position of women in the sport's governance

Sep 26, 2018, 17:26 PM

Meeting from September 25 to 27 in Innsbruck, Austria, during the 2018 UCI Road World Championships, the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today made several important decisions, in particular for the development of women’s professional road cycling.

 With a view to the professionalisation of women’s teams, the UCI has decided to create a new division, UCI Women’s WorldTeams, comparable to the men’s UCI WorldTeams. These new first-division teams will appear from 2020. The second division will be made up of UCI Women’s Continental Teams (formely UCI Women’s Teams). Teams with UCI Women’s WorldTeam status will have the right to participate in all UCI Women’s WorldTour events. In addition, the UCI will introduce a minimum salary for these cyclists, as well as a thorough examination of all the athletes’ contracts via the registration of these contracts by a financial audit and consultancy firm, in line with the model that already exists for the men’s professional peloton.

 The UCI Women’s Road International Calendar is to be restructured, notably with the new UCI ProSeries class, which will also be introduced in 2020. From that year, the new calendar will be made up of events from the following four classes: UCI Women’s WorldTour, UCI ProSeries, Class 1 and Class 2. Closer to the model that exists for men, this structure is consistent with the development of women’s cycling while offering a structure adapted to its future growth.

 These measures, which follow yesterday’s announcement of the new organisation of men’s professional road cycling, fall within the context of the UCI’s Agenda 2022 – to be submitted on Friday for approval by the UCI Congress – which includes a significant section dedicated to women’s cycling and the position of women in cycling (on a sporting level and in governance). Among the objectives contained in this document, are, on a sporting level, the increased attractiveness of the UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI women’s teams, as well as the implementation of equal access for women and men to competitions organised by the UCI and to the Olympic Games, notably via the homogenisation of the format of different specialities. The equalisation of prize money is another aspect of this policy, in line with the recommendations from the International Olympic Committee IOC) concerning men-women equality. In the domain of governance, the UCI desires to strengthen the implication of women at all levels, in particular in positions of responsibility.

 The UCI also wishes to reach total parity when it comes to the number of athletes per discipline at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Parity of the number of medals has already been achieved.

 Turning to new specialities, the e-mountain bike, snow bike and pump track have been integrated into the UCI Mountain Bike Regulations. The UCI will organise World Championships for e-mountain bike from 2019. The first edition will take place during the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne (Canada).

 Moreover, regulations concerning technical properties of clothing have been clarified in order to enable innovation in the development of outfits (in particular in relation to aerodynamic advantages), while at the same time preserving healthy competition between riders. The UCI accepts that cycling is a high performance activity and that modern clothing has a positive influence on performances. However, in principle, all innovations must be approved before the season starts.

 The UCI also clarified the rules that ensure egality between athletes when it comes to equipment. The use of prototypes is still authorised, as long as they have been approved by the UCI in advance and that they will be available for purchase by the public within a reasonable timeline – clearly defined – and at a price that is comparable to that of other products of a similar category. For the Olympic Games, the regulation is stricter: all equipment used must have been commercialised at the latest by January 1st of the Olympic year and already used at international events the year before the Games.

 The UCI President David Lappartient declared: “I welcome this fundamental development for women’s cycling and the strengthening of the position of women in our sport’s governance, two subjects which are among the central points of the UCI’s Agenda 2022. The decisions taken today increase the professionalisation of this sector by drawing inspiration from, but adapting appropriately, from the model that led men’s professional road cycling to become one of the most popular sports in the world.

 “I also welcome the integration of new specialities into the UCI Mountain Bike Regulations. These show that cycling is a dynamic sport that continues to evolve. The UCI encourages these evolutions to grow cycling globally.”