The UCI commits to developing cyclo-cross and reinforcing the fight against doping

Jan 31, 2020, 21:51 PM

The Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met over the last two days in Zurich, Switzerland, ahead of the 2020 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships at the weekend. Several important decisions were taken, in particular a commitment to develop cyclo-cross and reinforce the fight against doping. 

The UCI Management Committee approved certain amendments to the UCI Cyclo-cross Regulations relating to the reform of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup to give this series a truly international dimension. The changes will enter into effect for the start of the 2020-2021 season. The updated regulations will be published next week.

The new formula for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, organised by the company Flanders Classics, will come into effect from 2020.

The increase in the number of rounds of the series (14-16 in the new format compared with nine at present) will allow the geographical distribution to be improved. A maximum of half the events will be held in Belgium, in this way ensuring the inclusion of prestigious, popular classics in the UCI World Cup. The other rounds will be hosted by nations that are active on the international scene or committed to developing cyclo-cross 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 Cyclo-cross 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 Cyclo-cross World Cup in its new format will consist of 14 rounds as follows:

ME: Men Elite, WE: Women Elite, MU: Men Under-23, MJ: Men Junior, WJ: Women Junior

The revenue generated by the new UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will enable the UCI to increase its investment to assist National Federations in fielding teams of young riders in the rounds of the series. Whereas up to now, National Federations have been compensated by organisers for the participation of their riders in the Men Junior and Men Under-23 categories, compensation will be extended from 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 recognise the development benefits of cyclo-cross and the involvement of the National Federations.

The UCI Management Committee also approved the creation of a higher level of cyclo-cross team, namely UCI Professional Cyclo-cross Teams. The objective of the change is to both facilitate the participation of cyclo-cross specialists and their teams in road events and to afford more visibility to the sponsors investing in these teams. It will be possible for UCI Professional Cyclo-cross Teams to participate in road events from January 2021.

In respect of anti-doping, the UCI Management Committee unanimously took the decision in principle to transfer the operational activities of its anti-doping programme to the International Testing Agency (ITA) from 1 January 2021.

The ITA is an international organisation constituted in the form of a non-profit foundation 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 programmes for more than 40 organisations, including International Federations of Olympic sports and leading event organisers.

This decision was taken after an examination of the opportunities offered by a collaboration with the ITA, and after having heard the views, on several occasions, of the representatives of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent entity mandated by the UCI since 2008, as well as ITA representatives. Several information meetings were also held with representatives of the families of professional cycling (teams, riders and organisers), during which these 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 family in regards of any change.

The decision to transfer the operational activities of the UCI’s anti-doping programme 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 was taken in 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, and where, in parallel with testing, information (intelligence) has become the central element of any efficient anti-doping programme. By joining the ITA, the UCI, a pioneer in the domain, again demonstrates that it can take decisions necessary to be constantly at the forefront of the fight against doping.

In the meantime, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) will remain responsible for the UCI’s anti-doping programme in 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 programme with regular reports to the current Funding Committee – composed of representatives of the UCI, AIGCP, CPA and AIOCC – the role of which will be maintained.

All the conditions of the transfer to the ITA will be formalised in a contract between the ITA and the UCI that will require ratification at the next Management Committee meeting in Lausanne on 10-12 June 2020. The families of cycling will be included in the process of formalising the conditions of the transfer. In the meantime, the UCI confirms that the CADF will continue to implement its anti-doping programme 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 organisers (AIOCC). To this end, the specifications for organisers have been supplemented and the UCI Regulations 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 organisers' priorities, such that potentially dangerous sections can be avoided,
  • new obligations in relation to the use of unpaved sections of road, for example sending detailed descriptions of the sectors concerned to the teams, ensuring that unpaved sections are passable in all weather conditions and introducing measures to guarantee their good condition,
  • the reinforcement and standardisation of the role of the Regulator, essential to ensuring the organisation’s smooth running of the event,
  • better supervision of the movements of live TV motorbikes, which must never hinder the progress of the race,
  • strengthening the role of the Safety Manager in the organisation 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 organisation of an event. 

The new version of the specifications for organisers 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.

With regards to events, 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 Cyclo-cross World Championships: Tábor (Czech Republic)
  • 2025 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Fédération Française de Cyclisme.

 The UCI Management Committee also approved the following calendars:

At the end of the two-day meeting, UCI President David Lappartient said: “I am very pleased with the reform of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, which is an important step towards wider globalisation 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 wide 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 programme from the CADF to the ITA, I would like to thank all those who took part in the discussions that led to the decision taken today. 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 defence 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 organisers. The aim of this document is to help organisers 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 10-12 June.