It was a busy day for the UCI today, no doubt trying to get their desks clear for the weekend, cycling's world governing body not only announced details of the independent commission to look in to the questions raised by the USADA investigation in to Lance Armstrong, but also announced a new year consultation exercise with cycling's "stakeholders".
Although the UCI didn't define who it saw as stakeholder they usually use the term to mean teams, riders, race organisers and commercial interests - it will be interesting to see if anyone representing the views of cycle fans or those from the grass roots of the sport will be invited to take part.
According to the UCI statement (reproduced in full below) the consultation will run alongside the independent commission with a separate remit to:
"…look to the future of the sport – and discuss how to bring in lasting improvements to tackle issues of concern within cycling and work together to build a bright future."
The commissions terms of reference don't end there though, according to UCI president, Pat McQuaid,
"“All stakeholders will be invited to participate in this consultation exercise, which will also look at measures to continue the process of globalising the sport, encourage even wider participation and ways to make the sport even more interesting for spectators."
He went on to say that: “We saw this year in the Olympic Games in London that cycling is one of the world’s most popular sports, both for participants and spectators, and it has a bright future. This is what the consultation exercise will focus on.”
Whether any of the UCI's more vociferous critics from amongst cycling's stake holding fraternity will be invited to take part remains to be seen, it would certainly be a lively affair if someone like Skins boss Jaimie Fuller was invited to take part - his company last week took legal action against the UCI for damaging the sport and its commercial interests as a sponsor. For the moment though the UCI is leaving details such as how stakeholders can get involved until after the weekend at least.
Should the consultation turn out to be truly independent it could well have some uncomfortable things to say to the UCI on a numeber of subjects. The governing body has already been criticised for trying to ride two horses as both the sport's governing body, and as a promotor of events - one of the ways in which it has sought to globalise the sport, and of course for its setting up of the WorldTour.
Many in the cycle industry also worry that the UCI has shown in the way a worryingly niaive grasp of the role technical innovation in cycle sport plays in promoting a wider growth in cycling and in promoting the sport itself. While the UCI's system of frame and fork approval has been seized on by some in the cycle industry as a useful marketing tool - it is by no means a badge of technical innovation, quite the reverse in many cases. The UCI is still regularly accussed by some (even of those who have embraced the scheme) of implementing its technical regulations in an opaque and haphazard way.
Plenty to talk about next year then…
UCI announces stakeholder consultation
UCI President Pat McQuaid today announced that cycling’s governing body is to launch a wide-ranging consultation exercise involving all the stakeholders in the sport.
The consultation will take place separately from the external Independent Commission, which is tasked with looking into the findings of the USADA report on the Lance Armstrong affair, as well as making recommendations that will enable the UCI to restore confidence in the sport of cycling.
The consultation, which will be launched in the first quarter of 2013, will instead look to the future of the sport – and discuss how to bring in lasting improvements to tackle issues of concern within cycling and work together to build a bright future.
Pat McQuaid said: “All stakeholders will be invited to participate in this consultation exercise, which will also look at measures to continue the process of globalising the sport, encourage even wider participation and ways to make the sport even more interesting for spectators.
He continued: “We must all work together to recover from the damage which the Armstrong affair has undoubtedly done to our sport, the sport we all love and cherish.
“ While it is absolutely right that the Independent Commission investigates the past and makes recommendations for the future around the issues of doping, our sport is about so much more than that.
“ We saw this year in the Olympic Games in London that cycling is one of the world’s most popular sports, both for participants and spectators, and it has a bright future. This is what the consultation exercise will focus on.”
Further details of the consultation will be announced before the end of the year.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.