The UCI has published a document outlining what it calls the 'Four Pillars' of cycling which will form the basis of its recently announced stakeholder consultation. The topics, each of which will also consider the wider issue of the governance of the sport, are Globalisation, Anti-Doping, Riders, and Sports Calendar. Fans will get to have their say too, through Twitter and Facebook, says the UCI, which has also revealed that auditors KPMG have been instructed to carry out an independent review of the organisation's own governance.
The issues that the consultation will focus on - listed in full at the end of this article - are set forth in some detail, and cover many areas where the UCI itself has been taken to task over recent years, such as the development of the sport globally, the role of women within the sport, and of course doping, including addressing the issue of whistleblowers. Some issues, such as that of a potential doping amnesty, will clearly attract more debate than others.
The scope of the consultation has been drawn up following recent meetings with representatives of stakeholder groups such as riders, teams, sponsors, national federations, anti-doping bodies, race organisers and representatives of the cycling industry.
Fans weren't invited to be part of that process, but the UCI says that once the consultation gets under way in the new year - detailed logistics of how it will be conducted are due to be published in January - they will get their chance to have their say through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, something of a radical departure for the governing body which has so far failed to embrace those to the extent that the likes of Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport have.
The consultation was originally launched in the wake of the UCI endorsing the United States Anti-Doping Agency's decision to ban Lance Armstrong for life and strip him of results dating back to 1998, with the governing body's president Pat McQuaid facing a series of questions during an uncomfortable press conference, many of which asked how cuycling could ensure that such a situation did not arise again and with the UCI itself coming under strong criticism for its own conduct.
It coincides with the UCI having launched an independent commission, which will run separately to the stakeholder consultation, into its own role in the Armstrong affair, with USADA's Reasoned Decision detailing allegations that the giverning body had been complicit in helping the disgraced cyclist cover up suspicious tests for EPO, and questions raised over its decision to accept donations totalling $125,000 from him. It's not clear whether the KPMG audit into the governance of the UCI, as well as that of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, will overlap with the work of the independent commission or feed into it in some way.
It also comes as pressure is building to reform the sport from outside the UCI - notably, the Change Cycling Now summit held in London earlier this month, as well as the Manifesto for Credible Cycling launched by several leading European newspapers including France's L'Equipe and Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport in October - and as plans to intorduce a World Series of Cycling, a process the UCI itself is now involved in, move ahead.
Speaking about today's announcement of the topics to be discussed, McQuaid said: “We saw this year at 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. We want to make it an even more popular sport. This is what the consultation exercise will focus on.”
He went on: “All cycling stakeholders were consulted on the issues to be discussed. We listened to their feedback and have ensured that all their priority issues were included as topics for discussion. 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.
“The world is moving forward and cycling has to keep up – as all cycling enthusiasts know, when the peloton moves forward you either keep up or get left behind.”
UCI Stakeholder Consultation list of topics for discussion
Pillar 1: Globalisation
Objective: Cycling must benefit from its universal nature. In addition to being socially responsible, cycling must also ensure it is keeping up with the global evolution of sport in society.
Topics will include:
• how cycling can engage better with women;
• how to identify demographic and territorial trends and opportunities in cycling (eg, growth of youth interest);
• taking cycling to new countries, while maintaining high standards of events;
• making cycling accessible to all;
• how to reinforce cycling’s role in the Olympic and Paralympic Games;
• how cycling can integrate with and enhance green tourism;
• development of small urban cycling structures (eg. BMX parks) to encourage healthy youth activities; and
• environmental priorities for event management.
Pillar 2: Anti-Doping
Objective: Cycling must create an athlete ‘eco-system’ with a favourable economic, social, training and cultural environment that will eliminate doping from the sport.
Topics will include:
• the severity of doping sanctions, both for riders and their entourage;
• anti-doping education for riders and their entourage;
• developing incentives for good practice;
• the independence of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, its tools and methods;
• amnesty and whistle-blowing;
• how to identify risk situations;
• gathering of tips, information or key indicators;
• sharing of information with other anti-doping organisations, the police and different authorities; and
• standardisation of team models.
Pillar 3: Riders
Objective: to ensure a closer relationship between the UCI and riders, in particular to enable the UCI to listen to and understand riders’ concerns.
Priority topics will include:
• how best to ensure timely transfer of relevant quality information to riders;
• increasing the number of riders playing an active role in different cycling bodies and rider organisations;
• developing measures to guarantee better working conditions and legal cover for riders;
• how to improve race security;
• evolution of confidential rider hotline (to be established in January 2013);
• opportunities for the UCI to meet riders and whether to create a ‘permanent contact person’ in the field;
• the option of introducing a UCI licence;
• determine criteria for bodies/organisations that represent active riders; and
• consultations with ‘neutral’ experts on different subjects (reconversion, management, follow-up of new career).
Pillar 4: Sports Calendar
Objective: to review the different cycling calendars from all stakeholders’ points of view, as well as the systems of participation.
Priority topics will include:
• the points system, rankings and rules of participation;
• how best to develop the elite women’s development teams and calendar, as well as the development of women’s cycling generally;
• how to make races more attractive for spectators, as well as maximise media coverage;
• the composition and duration of different cycling calendars;
• new technologies;
• the hierarchy, format(s) and globalisation of professional road cycling competitions, including proposed new races and system(s) of teams;
• relations between professional cycling (1st and 2nd divisions) and continental level (3rd division);
• collaboration between different stakeholders to ensure optimal use of resources and greater efficiency; and
• financial fair play, including maximum/minimum salaries and sharing of revenue.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.