The UCI approves the appointment of women’s cycling representatives to the Professional Cycling Council, and takes new measures to improve riders’ health and safety
The Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met in Prague (Czechia) on 1 and 2 February, alongside the 2024 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, which are being held in Tábor from 2 to 4 February.
To support the professionalisation and development of women’s professional road cycling, the UCI Management Committee had decided in August 2023 to include stakeholders from this sector within the Professional Cycling Council (PCC). Until then, only those involved in men’s professional road cycling (riders, teams and organisers) sat on the PCC.
With this in mind, the UCI invited CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés – the organisation representing professional cyclists) Women and UNIO (the organisation representing women’s road teams) to appoint their representatives to the PCC. It also asked the AIOCC (Association Internationale des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes) to do the same to represent the organisers of UCI Women’s WorldTour events. The representative of women road cyclists on the UCI Athletes’ Commission, elected by her peers at the 2021 UCI Road World Championships, will also join the PCC.
After the names of the representatives appointed by the above associations had been provided to the UCI, the Management Committee agreed to the following new members serving on the PCC:
- for CPA Women, Ms Alessandra Cappellotto (ITA – Director of CPA Women); alternate member: Ms Elisa Dalla Valle (ITA);
- for UNIO, Mr Stephen Delcourt (FRA – President of UNIO and Manager of the UCI Women’s WorldTeam FDJ – Suez) and Ms Esra Tromp (NED – member of the UNIO Management Committee and Manager of the UCI Women’s Continental Team EF Education – Cannondale); alternate member: Mr Sebastián Unzué Gravalos (member of the UNIO Management Committee and Manager of the UCI Women’s WorldTeam Movistar Team);
- for the AIOCC, representing the organisers of UCI Women’s WorldTour events: Ms Sonia Martinez (AIOCC Deputy Secretary and representative of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas) and Mr Wim Van Herreweghe (BEL – AIOCC Vice-President and representative of the Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres); alternate member: Mr Yannick Talabardon (Deputy Treasurer of the AIOCC and representative of La Flèche Wallonne Féminine);
- for the UCI Athletes’ Commission, representing female riders: Ms Ruth Winder (USA).
The full list of members and the terms of reference of the PCC, a body whose remit now includes tasks – particularly in terms of regulations and the preparation of calendars – relating not only to the UCI WorldTour but also to the UCI Women’s WorldTour, will soon be available on the UCI website.
In the area of rider health and safety, the UCI Management Committee approved the entry into force of a High Temperature Protocol. This new document was presented to all those involved in men’s and women’s professional road cycling at the UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI WorldTour Seminar held in Lausanne (Switzerland) on 13 and 14 December, 2023. The protocol will be introduced during the first part of the season.
The High Temperature Protocol aims to respond to the fact that in the coming years, road cycling competitions will be organised in increasingly severe climatic conditions, leading to a growing risk of heat-related accidents. The UCI therefore deemed it necessary to introduce a dedicated protocol to complement the Extreme Weather Protocol, which has existed since 2015 and covers all adverse weather situations, not just those linked to high temperatures. The High Temperature Protocol:
- specifies the conditions for organising an emergency meeting with all stakeholders aiming to put in place the necessary countermeasures to limit heat-related risks;
- makes it possible to easily assess the hot environment using meteorological data published by reference weather stations, while taking into account the specifics of cycling;
- defines five temperature zones in which risk prevention measures should or should not be taken (white, green, yellow, orange and red zones);
- suggests countermeasures depending on the zone of the climatic condition (for example moving start zones to shaded areas, providing teams with cold drinks and crushed ice during the race, increasing the number of refueling motorbikes, changing the start time or possibly neutralising sections of the race); it should be emphasised, however, that these are only suggestions, and the final decisions will be taken by the members taking part in the emergency meeting, depending on local conditions.
The High Temperature Protocol, which comes into the framework of the Extreme Weather Protocol, applies to UCI WorldTour, UCI Women’s WorldTour and UCI ProSeries events. The conditions for organising competitions in high temperatures for other categories of road races, as well as for other cycling disciplines, will be defined in another document to be proposed later this year.
With regard to anti-doping, the UCI Management Committee welcomed the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) ban on tramadol in competition as of 1 January 2024. As a result, the Tramadol Programme introduced by the UCI on 1 March 2019 as part of its Medical Regulations no longer has any reason to exist and came to an end on 31 December 2023. It should be remembered that the UCI’s Tramadol Programme was based on the prohibition of the substance for medical reasons (risk of drowsiness and addiction), and not in relation to any potential improvement in performance.
The UCI’s Tramadol Programme, implemented in the field by the International Testing Agency (ITA), has enabled between 500 and 750 tests to be carried out each year. Three cases of use of this substance, all first offences, were detected, and all three resulted in disqualification from the event and a fine. Data from the monitoring programme organised by WADA led to the conclusion that the prevalence of tramadol use in cycling has fallen from 4-6% prior to 2019, to 0.2-0.5% since its ban.
Several decisions concerning the UCI International Calendar have also been taken. In this context, the UCI approved the change of date for the 2024 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Originally scheduled for 10 to 14 December, they will now take place from 17 to 21 December.
With a view to the 2024 season, the UCI Management Committee has also approved the calendar for the 2024 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup powered by citymountainbike.com.
Finally, the UCI announces that the third – and final – round of the 2024 UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup will be held from 17 to 20 October in Shanghai, China. The calendar for the series is now as follows:
- Round 1: 22-25 February in Enoshima, Japan – Park and Flatland
- Round 2: 8-12 May in Montpellier, France – Park and Flatland
- Round 3: 17-20 October in Shanghai, China – Park and Flatland.
The updated calendars will be published in the dedicated section of the UCI website on 5 February.
As part of the programme to develop cycling worldwide led by the UCI through its training and education centre – the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) – the UCI Management Committee approved the creation of two new UCI WCC Continental Development Satellites, in Cambridge (New Zealand) and Shanghai (China). They join the existing network of Satellites in Anadia (Portugal), Bromont (Canada), Couva (Trinidad and Tobago), New Delhi (India), Paarl (South Africa), San Juan (Argentina), Shuzenji (Japan) and Yeongju (Korea).
The UCI WCC Continental Development Satellites work closely with the UCI WCC and play a leading role at continental and regional level in the universal development of cycling and sporting excellence. The UCI WCC Continental Development Satellites create opportunities for the National Federations of emerging cycling nations to become more autonomous in implementing their own projects and missions, while promoting the progression of their athletes to the highest level.
With regard to equipment, the UCI has decided to take measures to limit the extreme inclination of the brake controls (brake hood body), a practice that is becoming increasingly common in road cycling pelotons. Positioning the controls in this way is problematic because it can compromise the riders’ ability to brake, and constitutes a modification of the product beyond its intended use. To improve rider safety, the UCI, in collaboration with the cycling industry, the CPA and other key stakeholders, introduces measures in 2024 to restrict the extreme inclination of brake controls. These new measures were already tested during the Australian events at the beginning of the year and will now be mandatory for all road races.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “I would like to welcome the new members of the Professional Cycling Council. Their arrival means that the main components of women’s road cycling are now represented on this body, which plays a central role in the development of the sport at the highest level. From now on, its prerogatives will also encompass the women’s sector. This is a great step forward for both the governance and development of women’s cycling.
“I am also delighted with the new measures taken, in collaboration with our stakeholders, to protect the health and safety of riders with our new High Temperature Protocol. Climate change is a reality, and it is necessary to adapt the rules of our sport to avoid its negative effects on athletes.
“Finally, I welcome the creation of new UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) Continental Development Satellites in China and New Zealand. These facilities, which are very important in supporting the cycling development policy led by the UCI WCC, join a global network of centres spread around the world.”