Two day summit in London will apply pressure on UCI to 'Change Cycling Now'

Ashenden, Kimmage and Walsh amongst anti-doping figures in new pressure groups backed by Skins

by Sarah Barth   November 27, 2012  


Former pro cycling team members, world renowned doping experts, and campaigning international journalists have formed  a global pressure group with the aim for forcing chance onto the UCI, the international governing body for cycling, at a meeting in London next week.

The group, Change Cycling Now, is to pressure the UCI over its alleged mis-handling of the sport’s global image in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

It will discuss proposals that offer an alternative approach to re-invigorate the sport's reputation.

The two-day summit will be attended by one of the world’s foremost blood doping experts, Michael Ashenden, who formerly acted on the UCI panel, and Professor Antoine Vayer, a former cycling trainer, who attended the famous Festina doping trial in 2000 as a professional expert and morality witness.

Freelance writer Paul Kimmage, who was the subject of a lawsuit served by the President and former President of the UCI after he made accusations of corrupt practice, will also be there, joined by David Walsh, chief sports Writer for The Sunday Times and author of four books on Lance Armstrong including, L.A. Confidential.

The CEO of the USADA, Travis Tygart, has confirmed that he will come to the meeting.

Jaimie Fuller, who owns Skins, the compressionwear company that is currently suing the UCI for $2 million for failing to rid sport of doping, has set up the conference, which begins on the 3rd of December.

Fuller said: “The creation of Change Cycling Now reflects the frustration and anger that I, and many people directly involved in the sport feel towards the UCI and their management practices.

"I believe we have put together a very strong core group which represents the feelings of thousands of people within the sport who want to see definite change. It would be easy to sit around and criticise and accuse, but we shall be discussing positive ways to effect the future with changes that can move us back towards a sport that has integrity and is also clean and credible.

"I am in no doubt that this group also represents the millions of cycling fans who share the views of those who will be around the table.

"We will also be exploring ways to ensure that these fans can join with us to send an unequivocal message to the UCI and its officers that the current approach is simply not good enough.”

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Is that something the wider public can participate in?
Cos I want to.

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [365 posts]
27th November 2012 - 18:26


Also, linky no worky.

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [365 posts]
27th November 2012 - 18:37


All well and good, objectives are sound, but, haven't they heard the UCI are conducting an enquiry into itself?


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1103 posts]
27th November 2012 - 19:23


I do not understand an organism that wants to change cycling without cyclist and I do not see any in the pressure group that this wants to be. Confused Confused

posted by ciclista [1 posts]
27th November 2012 - 20:03


What gives the UCI it's mandate to govern over cycling? Boxing has the WBC, IBF, WBA & WBO. What would stop anyone from setting up an organisation to rival the UCI? Given the lack of credibility the UCI has, I'm sure a lot of races, teams and riders would be glad to see the back of the UCI.

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
27th November 2012 - 20:05


CraigS wrote:
What would stop anyone from setting up an organisation to rival the UCI?

Nothing as far as I know, but if that happened then we would probably end up with the same situation as Darts, with some races under the new governing body and the rest under the UCI. I am not sure that a split would be the best outcome for the sport, it would just lead to confusion to newcomers and the rest us not being able to get an accurate comparison between riders. Anyway, who would run the new body? Most of the people high up in the UCI are now tainted by association.

posted by djb123 [88 posts]
27th November 2012 - 20:37


Please get the link working. It sounds great.

posted by LeDomestique [34 posts]
27th November 2012 - 21:15


CraigS wrote:
Boxing has the WBC, IBF, WBA & WBO. What would stop anyone from setting up an organisation to rival the UCI?

Not much really. But now that you mention boxing, it's worth noting that the International Olympic Committee only recognises AIBA. Similarly the IOC recognises UCI as the sole world governing body for cycling, so riders competing in your alternative races will not qualify for the Olympics unless they also spend significant time racing in UCI-sanctioned races. Similarly, UCI is supported and recognised by all national governing bodies for cycling. The national governing bodies are in turn recognised by national Olympic committees. So riders focusing "alternative racing" will almost certainly fail to qualify for national and world championships too. So declaring war on the UCI is declaring war on all of these organisations. Say what you want, Olympic medals, world and national champion titles are still VERY prestigious. Moreover World Championships in most cycling disciplines are protected trademarks. I imagine most national championships are too.

Also consider that most if not all of the most famous races are sanctioned by the UCI, that's to say being part of the UCI system is a requirement for competing in them. If anything can break free from the UCI, you'd imagine the Tour de France or Giro d'Italia can, but then they'd be making riders choose whether they'd want to be in the UCI/Olympic system or not. Inevitably some will choose to remain with the UCI, and as the quality of the riders participating in the alternative races falls, the races become less prestigious. So no race organisers would risk that.

So you end up in a war on several fronts, competing for top riders, top teams, media coverage, audience and sponsors with a group of organisations that absolutely dwarves you in terms of resources, legitimacy and prestige (as damaged as they are in the last two). It's the reason that no country that I know of has two alternative top football leagues, and "alternative leagues" like the XFL (well, it's American football, but the point is the same) inevitably fail after a short time.

posted by Shanghaied [41 posts]
27th November 2012 - 22:35


As you say, the IOC currently recognises the UCI as the sole governing body globally for cycling. And while a new body might apply for accreditation, I wonder how likely it would be to succeed with the ex head of the UCI being on the IOC...

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [112 posts]
28th November 2012 - 12:22


Seems the UCI are in the same boat as FIFA. They are appalling but nowt can be done about it.

For me the only possible way for change would be from the IOC threatening to pull cycling - unlikely...or for the breakaway league to get the backing of the ASO and the Giro/Vuelta which again seems unlikely....

posted by NeilXDavis [118 posts]
28th November 2012 - 12:38


The UCI is a huge nebulous and mostly necessary bureaucracy (if you want to maintain a similar infrastructure). It would be nightmarish to establish a rival, beset with the same bureaucracy issues that mar any large organisation and likely to cause choas and infighting, dragging cycling further down.
My beef is with the top bods and an apparent culture of corruption. Remove the head, change the way people think with people we believe in, with a stronger moral compass.

Pat & Hein. Top down.

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [365 posts]
28th November 2012 - 13:03


I agree that there are problems with FIFA and UCI. These are not inconsiderable given the size and reach of the organisations, but if you do not try then nothing will change.

All these institutions are political and all of them rely on fan support at the grass roots level. If you start putting the cart before the horse, and saying that these guys rule and that what they say goes you give them all the power they claim to have.

Ultimately cycling can change but it requires an immense amount of international collaboration between the teams, between clubs and between the national organisations. This can happen, and it seems that a conference like this is exactly the right step down that road.

Have faith people.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1574 posts]
28th November 2012 - 15:15


All the group are bothered about is professional cycling. They have no concern at all for the thousands upon thousands of amateur level racers who compete for essentially nothing every season. This is about money and control of the big bucks, just like the JV proposal. On that basis alone, and the single issue people involved, I can't imagine any responsible national federation doing anything but stay solidly UCI, and work to change things from the inside, because that is probably the most effective way to change things. Much better inside the tent "spitting" out, than outside "spitting" in.
The so-called conference looks increasingly like a publicity stunt for a company that was not so well known in europe, and now is.


posted by doc [167 posts]
28th November 2012 - 23:48


Absolutely agree, wrote similar on a parallel thread (Edited) :
I find this all terribly naive. For example, the UK has a representative, at an international level for cycling. He is called the elected president of British Cycling. Similar in 170 countries. I fail to see why a couple of jumped up unelected Twitter people espousing their own personal views, think they know better and should express those opinions internationally? People should go and support their local bike clubs. That is what they are there for. Cycling includes, MTB, BMX, TRACK, CX, Trials, Road, Indoor, Para and anyone who rides a bike. At amateur and Professional levels. So what is it exactly they want to change?

posted by philsinclair [11 posts]
30th November 2012 - 20:36