ExclusiveCycling: "Our health protocol served as a model for other bodies" (D. Lappartient, UCI)
"When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, we had to rebuild a calendar, to set up a health protocol and to relocate the Road World Championships. Our health protocol served as a model for other bodies," said David Lappartient (FRA), president of UCI , to News Tank on 07/12/2021.
"We also had to secure the institution's financial sustainability. We were able to rely on short-time working arrangements in Switzerland and ended the year with a loss of CHF1m (€960,000) in 2020, while maintaining equity of CHF40m (€38m). We would have had to spend 50% of our own funds had competitions not resumed," said Lappartient, who pointed out his priorities "for the development of cycling across all continents:
• To further develop women's cycling;
• To further commit to societal causes;
• To continue to work towards ensuring the safety of races;
• To pursue innovations;
• To ensure visibility for host cities and to secure revenue for the UCI."
"Like many sports, renewing our audience is a challenge. Cycling benefited from the Covid-19 period, when it was one of only two sports to resume along with football. The percentage of women watching our competitions is also increasing, and the return of the Women's Tour de France after the launch of races such as the Women's Paris-Roubaix can only encourage this trend," added the UCI president, who was re-elected for a new term until 2025 on 24/09/2021.
Developing the sport and its audience, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, new competition formats, anti-doping measures, the Peng Shuai case and types of mobility: David Lappartient answered questions from News Tank.
"Like many sports, renewing our audience is a challenge. Young people are not watching as much TV and are opting for shorter formats on other media" (D. Lappartient, UCI)
Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, the Vatican and the Solomon Islands have recently joined the UCI. What does this say about your ambition? It clearly proves our global status
It clearly proves our global status. The IOChas 206 affiliated national committees and we now have 201 member national federations. For example, a rider from South Sudan competed in the last Junior Track World Championships. The addition of the Vatican is perhaps more symbolic, but it reinforces our universal nature: cycling appeals to everyone, as a sport and as a tool to promote sustainability. There is no place in the world where cycling cannot be practiced in one way or another.
The 2025 Road World Championships will be held in Rwanda. What does this mean for your sport?
Developing cycling on every continent is one of our goals. It is not enough that these World Championships are held in Africa, they must be Africa's championships: African athletes must be at the start of every race.
You were re-elected as the head of the UCI until 2025 on 24/09/2021. What are your priorities for this new term?
We have a number of priorities for the development of cycling across all continents:
- To further develop women's cycling. Many things have been done, such as the creation of the UCI Women's World Tour and the introduction of a minimum wage in 2023. We were also the first Federation to introduce maternity leave for teams, and the athlete quotas will be the same for women and men at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. We must continue to develop the media coverage of women's cycling. I pushed for the creation of the Women's Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation was almost morally responsible for investing in this, because parity is a necessity.
- To further commit ourselves to societal causes. In June 2021, we signed a global plan for sustainable development, with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
- Continuing to work towards ensuring the safety of races, especially as road improvements, while they make the roads safer for users, can on the other hand create difficulties for cycling competitions.
- To pursue innovations, such as the development of cycling esports, the change in format of the UCI World Championships with an event bringing together our various disciplines every four years, etc.
- To ensure visibility for our host cities and to secure revenue for the UCI by awarding our World Championships at least five years before they are held. When I arrived, organisers sometimes only had one year to prepare.
2022 UCI WorldTour: Team Qhubeka NextHash denied a license, Arkea Samsic invited to all events
• "After hearing teams that had not been able to be registered directly by the UCI, the Licence Commission has decidedto refuse the registration of Team Qhubeka NextHash (RSA) for the UCI WorldTour.
• As the two top-ranked UCI ProTeams featuring in the 2021 UCI World Ranking for teams, Alpecin-Fenix (BEL) and Team Arkea-Samsic (FRA) are invited to all UCI WorldTour events in 2022.
• As the third-ranked UCI ProTeam in the 2021 UCI World Ranking for teams, TotalEnergies (FRA) is invited to the UCI WorldTour one-day races in 2022
• The UCI is delighted by the arrival of six new UCI Women's WorldTeams. This brings the number of teams holding a UCI Women's WorldTour licence to 14, which means that one new licence could still be awarded during the registration procedure for the 2023 season.
• In total, 14 UCI Women's WorldTeams, 18 UCI WorldTeams and 17 UCI ProTeams are registered for the 2022 season."
What are the impacts of the ongoing pandemic on the UCI?Everyone had to be flexible and show solidarity
When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, we had to rebuild a calendar, to set up a health protocol and to relocate the Road World Championships. We had meetings every two weeks with the teams, riders and organisers to work out a new schedule, which ultimately fitted in over three months, from August to October 2020. Everyone had to be flexible and show solidarity.Only 0.17% of riders tested positive in all our races
Our health protocol served as a model for other bodies. We had only 0.17% of riders testing positive in all our races. Relocating the 2020 Road World Championships was also a real challenge following the announcement that the race in Aigle/Martigny (Switzerland) was cancelled. We only had three weeks to find another venue and then another three weeks to set up everything in Imola, in Emilia-Romagna (Italy).
We also had to secure the institution's financial sustainability. We were able to rely on short-time working arrangements in Switzerland and ended the year with a loss of CHF1m (€960,000) in 2020, while maintaining equity of CHF40m (€38m). We would have had to spend 50% of our own funds had competitions not resumed.
How would you assess the first rounds of the new UCI Track Champions League? What is the UCI's objective by launching this new competition? How is your relationship with Discovery?Find a more suitable format for TV and create something more attractive
Track is a telegenic discipline with considerable potential. However, the full realisation of this potential is hindered by competition formats that, while very successful during the Olympic Games, do not allow the discipline to achieve similar success the rest of the time. In addition, track cycling too often does not allow its athletes to make a living from their sport. Therefore, we had to find a more suitable format for TV and create something more attractive. But we didn't necessarily have the know-how to do that. Discovery has the investment capacity to implement this UCI concept. So we gave them the rights for eight years. For us, this is very beneficial, because it brings new audiences for track cycling. The figures for the first two rounds are promising in this respect.
What did you think of the Hammer Series concept (a new cycling race format promoted by Velon, an association of cycling teams, before the pandemic and discontinued since)? Are you closely watching what is happening in other sports in terms of new competition formats?I'm not in favour of teams organising events on their own
International federations must be connected with today's world and therefore innovate to meet the expectations of the public, in terms of format for instance. The goal is to expand our audience. Regarding the Hammer Series, I am not in favour of teams organising events on their own, which would mean moving towards a closed league model. Besides, their format was unclear and racers did not take it seriously.
Technology should be used, but with the aim of making the competition more accessible, of improving its understanding. For example, one could imagine that viewers could be able to hear what is going on in the peloton. However, I think that headsets increase insecurity and that they should not be used, just as phones are not allowed while driving.
What are the audience ratings for your competitions? Is your average audience aging, like that of tennis?World Championships' ratings have been steadily increasing for three years
Like many sports, renewing our audience is a challenge. Young people are not watching as much TV and are opting for shorter formats on other media. However, looking at the ratings of the Tour de France, they have never been as good. Those of the World Championships have been steadily increasing for three years. This expansion has benefited from the Covid-19 period, when cycling was one of only two sports to resume along with football.
The percentage of women watching our competitions is also increasing, and the return of the Women's Tour de France after the launch of races such as the Women's Paris-Roubaix can only encourage this trend. Finally, we are currently enjoying a good period with well-known stars in both the men's and women's categories, who race on instinct and put on a good show, such as world champion Julian Alaphilippe (FRA).
Where do you stand in the fight against doping, especially regarding ketones (organic compounds naturally produced by the body that allow an athlete to regulate his/her weight while maintaining his/her physical capabilities)?We are at the forefront of the fight against doping
We are one of the leaders in the fight against doping. We invest CHF8m (€7.66m) per year through the International Testing Agency (ITA), and almost €10m including internal costs. We are at the forefront of this fight, which is a priority for us. We have banned tramadol, and corticosteroids will be banned from January 2022. There are things we cannot do for legal and regulatory reasons, such as banning the return of a rider who has served his suspension, which the Movement for Credible Cycling, an association founded by teams, has the ability to do.No scientific studies show that ketones improve performance
We are doing as much as we can, but at the moment there are no scientific evidence of the positive effect of ketones in terms of performance improvement. At the last UCI board meeting, we agreed to launch a self-funded study. I certainly want to measure whether it improves performance, but also whether it can defer a drop in performance. That being said, until we have scientific evidence, legal arguments, and if the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not ban ketones, the UCI cannot ban them either.
How can your organisation capitalise on green mobility?The bicycle is a key component of everyday mobility
The UCI's core business is competition, but as the IOC-recognised umbrella organisation of world cycling, we consider cycling mobility to be very important. In this context, we occupy a central place within the 'Cycling For All' ecosystem made up of NGOs and multiple institutional players, notably within some of our member national federations. Cycling is a key element of everyday mobility, and this area is linked to competitive cycling: high performance and widespread cycling, whether for leisure or as a means of transport, are closely linked.
Among the cities and countries that host our competitions, many have developed and implemented a global strategy around cycling to be identified as cycling destinations, such as Scotland, which will host the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, or around the themes of sport and health. Our UCI Bike City label is part of this dynamic.Our sport addresses many contemporary issues
Our sport addresses many contemporary issues (fighting climate change, traffic congestion, promoting an active lifestyle, etc.), and I find that cycling is not being discussed enough at major international conferences, especially during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26), even though we offer a solution to many of the challenges that our societies are facing today.
Do you understand the WTA's response to the Peng Shuai case? It is about finding a balance between indifference and interference
It is about finding a balance between indifference and interference. What matters in sport is that it carries values that are non-negotiable, such as human rights and respect for athletes. This is fundamental, because we speak to everyone, not only to the political field, and we can send strong messages. What is sometimes done in politics is more complex to achieve in sport, even if each country has its own culture, which we must try to respect.
Président @ Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan
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# 25819, created on 21/09/17 at 15:21 - Updated on 21/02/22 at 07:32
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)
Sector: umbrella organisation for international cycling
President: David Lappartient
Director General: Amina Lanaya
Workforce (2018): 120 on 31/12/2019
• 2020: CHF29m
• 2019: CHF40.7m
• 2018: CHF40.2m
• 2020: -CHF1.8m
• 2019: -CHF6.9m
• 2018: -CHF5.9m
• 2020: -CHF1.0m
• 2019: -CHF3.5m
• 2018: -CHF7.3m
• Shimano (bike equipment)
• Tissot (watchmakers), official timekeeper and World Cycling Centre timekeeper
• Mapei (adhesives), main partner of the UCI Road World Championships
• GoPro (cameras), exclusive camera sponsor of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and World Championships as well as the BMX World Championships
• Oakley (glasses)
• SMS Santini (cycling equipment manufacturer)
• The sufferfest (training advice website)
• ProGate (cycling infrastructure)
• Box (bike equipment)
• Big Bobble Hats
• Wahoo (fitness)
• Seasucker (car racks)
Partner of mountain bike events:
• Mercedes-Benz (car manufacturer): title sponsor of the World Cup circuit and the World Championships from 2018 onwards
• Vittoria (tyres), 2021-2025
Category: Leagues & Federations
Headquarters addressCh. de la Mêlée 12
1860 Aigle Switzerland
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# 5819, created on 21/09/17 at 03:27 - Updated on 18/02/22 at 11:36