Held every two years in Lausanne, SportCity is the leading sports conference in French-speaking Switzerland and brings together industry executives and leaders for a series of gatherings, debates and workshops on the sector’s challenges and opportunities. The event was officially launched on 17 June 2019 at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC), with cycling for all providing the main theme.
Attending the SportCity 2020 launch were David Lappartient, the president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France, who presented their respective organisations’ strategies and objectives for the development and promotion of cycling as an everyday pursuit.
SportCity 2020: a focus on youth
The organisers of SportCity 2020, which will take place on 10-11 March next year, took the opportunity to reveal the theme of the two-day event: “sport and youth”, which is central also to the promotion of cycling in all its forms.
UCI strategies and the Tour de France at the forefront
Following the launch of the conference by UCI Director General Amina Lanaya, David Lappartient presented the various strategies that have been put together and the many programmes the UCI has headed up to promote cycling for all. These include the following:
- The UCI’s Agenda 2022, which aims to make cycling the sport of the 21st century by nurturing the development of new forms of cycling (e.g. e-bikes), the inclusion of cycling in public policies, and teaching children how to ride bikes;
- The UCI Bike City label, awarded each year to cities and regions which promote cycling for all by hosting UCI events and investing in measures that encourage their inhabitants to cycle;
- The organisation of the UCI Bike City Forum, an international conference attended by cities, National Federations and experts in activemobility, the next edition of which will be held in Paris on 12-13 November 2019;
- Participation in a network of bodies actively supporting cycling for all, such as the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) and a number of UN agencies, to implement partnerships and initiatives promoting cycling.
Christian Prudhomme then presented a series of initiatives developed by the Tour de France to promote cycling as an everyday activity, not least the campaign L’Avenir à vélo (“Riding into the Future”), which is focused in the main on four areas: youth, the planet, the city, and well-being. These initiatives include the following:
In 2018, the Tour de France bought 176 bicycles for the charity Qhubeka, one for every rider taking part in the race. The bikes were given to schoolchildren in South Africa.
Thanks to the awareness campaign On a tout à gagner (We Have Everything to Win), the Tour de France is inviting TV viewers to use their bikes to make everyday journeys by emphasising the many benefits that cycling has to offer.
The designation of Copenhagen as the host city of the Grand Départ in 2021, which will see the city that does more to promote everyday cycling than any other welcome and celebrate the world’s biggest stage race.
Infographic: L’Avenir à vélo at the Tour de
Interactive round table
With a view to discussing the theme of the evening in connection with the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, to be held in Aigle and Martigny (Switzerland), and to assessing in a wider sense the impact of local and national cycling events and initiatives, the two chief administrators were joined by Maléna Bastien Masse, a member of the PRO VELO Lausanne committee, and Grégory Devaud, co-president of Aigle-Martigny 2020, for a round table chaired by the journalist Laurence Bolomey. Themes such as cycling infrastructure, urban mobility, mutual respect between drivers and cyclists, women’s cycling, and the objective of obtaining a UCI Bike City label in Switzerland were debated by members of the panel and the public.
It is now becoming increasingly clear to both politicians and a growing share of the public that the bicycle has a contribution to make in tackling the problems society faces, such as sedentary lifestyles, pollution, and traffic congestion. The association between major cycling events – such as the UCI Road World Championships and the Tour de France – and the promotion of cycling as a means of transport and a healthy and accessible recreational pursuit, can only help to emphasise these benefits and the attention given to la petite reine, as the French call the bicycle, on a global scale.