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21 Jun 2019

UCI commits to track cycling shake-up as part of Agenda 2022

By Simon Ward 

The UCI, cycling’s international governing body, is revamping and shortening the Track Cycling World Cup series, rescheduling the Track Cycling World Championships and launching a new international circuit as part of efforts to revitalise the indoor version of the sport.

The organisation said the changes are intended to “give track cycling optimal visibility throughout the year,” and reorganisation is also under way in the discipline of cyclo-cross, with commercial rights to the discipline’s World Cup awarded to Flanders Classics, the organiser of road cycling races in Belgium.

The modifications form part of the UCI’s Agenda 2022 reform programme adopted, under president David Lappartient, last year, and the governing body has also launched the bidding process for around 30 World Championships in Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines between 2021 and 2027.

At a meeting in Lavey-les-Bains in Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday, the UCI management committee resolved to reduce the number of rounds in the Track Cycling World Cup from six to three in the 2020-21 season, and, from 2021, stage the events from July to September as opposed to between October and January, as at present.

In addition, the series will be renamed the UCI Track Cycling Nations’ Cup, with participation reserved for national teams, and riders no longer permitted to represent trade teams.

Meanwhile, starting in 2021, the UCI Track Cycling World Championships (Elite), which have customarily been held in March, are moving to October, after the end of the relaunched Nations’ Cup.

The plans for the new series are not fully formed, but it is anticipated that the inaugural edition will take place from November 2021 to February 2022 and involve selected riders participating as individuals for their nations.

The UCI said: “This series aims to increase the appeal of track cycling thanks to a dynamic and attractive format, ideal for television and for spectators present at the event, and simple to understand and follow, even for audiences new to the sport.”

Further details on the reform of track cycling will be presented after the next UCI management committee meeting in September, on the occasion of the Road World Championships in Yorkshire in the UK.

As well as providing year-round visibility for the discipline, the UCI stressed that changes to the track cycling calendar will ensure consistency in the years featuring the combined UCI Cycling World Championships, bringing together global championships organised by governing body, and set to debut in Glasgow in Scotland in 2023.

Cyclo-cross and other resolutions On the cyclo-cross front, and following a tender issued in April, Flanders Classics has been granted commercial rights to the UCI World Cup for the discipline from 2020-21 to 2023-24.

These include: general organisation rights; marketing and sponsorship rights; and distribution of television rights for the UCI World Cup and the UCI World Championships in Belgium (in Flemish), including TV production of the World Cup (worldwide) and the World Championships (in Belgium).

The UCI will also work with Flanders Classics, which presently organises 16 men’s and women’s one-day road races, on the reform and on the concept of the World Cup for cyclo-cross, including the calendar, with changes to be communicated after September’s management committee meeting.

Lappartient welcomed the appointment, saying: “This partnership with Flanders Classics opens new international development possibilities for cyclo-cross. This company has demonstrated its know-how and its professionalism by taking the events it organises and promotes to unprecedented levels of popularity. The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will greatly benefit from its expertise in domains such as the production and broadcasting of images and the improvement of the offer to spectators.”

In other developments, the UCI management committee approved an action plan to increase the appeal of road cycling events, with a large-scale poll to be conducted this summer to gauge public opinion, while a wide consultation will be carried out via interviews with different stakeholders, and within the event appeal working group.

On this basis, a series of propositions will be drawn up with a view to their approval by the Professional Cycling Council and the UCI management committee.

The UCI has also adopted several measures aimed at improving governance and gender balance at the federation and at continental confederations and national federations.

With effect from the next elections, and in line with Agenda 2022, the ethics commission will be an entirely independent body formed of members with no links to the UCI, the continental confederations or the national federations, and, subject to approval at this September’s UCI congress in Harrogate, Yorkshire, the governing body is introducing measures to increase the number of women represented within its member organisations.

The objective is to bring the proportion of women on the continental confederation executive committees and among the continental voting delegates at the UCI congress to at least 25 per cent, and to ensure there is an appropriate representation of women within national federations. The same 25-per-cent threshold will be applied to the ethics commission.

As well as approving the UCI’s 2018 annual report, including initiatives laid out in Agenda 2022, the management committee, confirmed its support for the process under which future world championships will be awarded.

The hosts of championships in Olympic disciplines from 2020 to 2024 are set to be announced at this year’s UCI congress, and the governing body has now opened the bidding procedure for continental confederations, national federations and other organisers for multiple championships that will be awarded in September 2020.

These are as follows:

  • UCI Cycling World Championships: 2027
  • UCI Road World Championships: 2025 and 2026
  • UCI Track Cycling World Championships: 2025 and 2026
  • UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships: 2022 and 2024
  • UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships: 2023 and 2024
  • UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships: 2023 and 2024
  • UCI Mountain Bike World Championships: 2025 and 2026
  • UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships: 2024
  • UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships: 2022 and 2023
  • UCI BMX World Championships: 2025 and 2026
  • UCI Urban Cycling World Championships: 2021, 2022, 2024 and 2025
  • UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: 2026 and 2027
  • UCI Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships: 2023 and 2024
  • UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships: 2022
  • UCI Gran Fondo World Championships: 2024.

The UCI stated that between 2019 and 2020, it will have awarded a total of 43 World Championships and that, by September 2020, it will have in place hosts for editions for all Olympic disciplines until 2027 and all disciplines until 2024.

Meanwhile, the management committee has approved the calendar for the 2020 UCI Grand Fondo World Series, and Cordon in France was named as the host of the 2020 Trials World Youth Games.

Following the ban on the painkilling drug tramadol in competition, as of 1 March, 2019, the UCI has pledged to test the side-effects of corticosteroid treatments.

Medical director Xavier Bigard presented a plan of action to the management committee in which team doctors who have approved local infiltration of these substances would have to prescribe eight days’ leave from work and competition for the riders concerned and also check that the adrenal glands are again functioning normally. This regulation is set to come into effect in 2020.

Reflecting on the achievements of this week’s meeting, Lappartient said: “With the decisions taken to make track cycling and cyclo-cross more attractive, to increase the appeal of road cycling and to strengthen the good governance of our federation, the management committee has demonstrated its commitment to the central elements of the UCI Agenda 2022.

“I would like to thank the management committee for its support. I am also delighted that the success of our next World Championships with organisers means that we can now open the bidding procedure for some 30 events taking place through until 2027.”