|Formation||14 April 1900|
|Affiliations||International Olympic Committee|
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI; French pronunciation: [ynjɔ̃ siklist ɛ̃tɛʁnasjɔnal] ; English: International Cycling Union) is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland.
The UCI issues racing licenses to riders and enforces disciplinary rules, such as in matters of doping. The UCI also manages the classification of races and the points ranking system in various cycling disciplines including road and track cycling, mountain biking and BMX, for both men and women, amateur and professional. It also oversees the World Championships.
UCI was founded in 1900 in Paris by the national cycling sports organisations of Belgium, the United States, France, Italy, and Switzerland. It replaced the International Cycling Association (ICA) by setting up in opposition in a row over whether Great Britain should be allowed just one team at world championships or separate teams representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Britain found itself outflanked and it was not able to join the UCI – under the conditions the UCI had imposed – until 1903.
There were originally 30 countries affiliated to the union. They did not have equal voting power and some had no vote at all. Votes were distributed by the number of tracks, or velodromes, that each nation claimed. France had 18 votes, the highest number, and Germany and Italy 14 each. Britain had eight, a number the writer Bill Mills said was acquired "by including many rather doubtful grass tracks."
In 1965, under the pressure of the IOC (the Olympics was then an amateur event), the UCI created two subsidiary bodies, the International Amateur Cycling Federation (Fédération Internationale Amateur de Cyclisme or FIAC) and the International Professional Cycling Federation (Fédération Internationale de Cyclisme Professionnel or FICP). The UCI assumed a role coordinating both bodies.
The FIAC was based in Rome, the FICP in Luxembourg, and the UCI in Geneva.
The FIAC was the bigger of the two organisations, with 127 member federations across all five continents. It was dominated by the countries of the Eastern bloc which were amateur. The FIAC arranged representation of cycling at the Olympic Games, and FIAC cyclists competed against FICP members on only rare occasions. In 1992, the UCI reunified the FIAC and FICP, and merged them back into the UCI. The combined organisation then relocated to Aigle, close to the IOC in Lausanne.
In 2004, the UCI constructed a 200-metre velodrome at the new World Cycling Centre adjacent to its headquarters.
In September 2007 the UCI announced that it had decided to award ProTour status for the first time ever to an event outside of Europe; the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. The announcement followed negotiations between UCI President Pat McQuaid and South Australian Premier Mike Rann.
In 2013 Tracey Gaudry became the first woman appointed as vice president of the UCI.
The UCI organises cycling's world championships, administration of which it gives to member nations. The first championships were on the road and on the track. They were allocated originally to member nations in turn, on condition the country was deemed competent and that it could guarantee ticket sales.A nation given a championship or series of championships was required to pay the UCI 30 per cent of ticket receipts from the track and 10 per cent from the road. Of this, the UCI kept 30 per cent and gave the rest to competing nations in proportion to the number of events in which it competed. The highest gate money in this pre-war era was 600 000 francs in Paris in 1903.
There were originally five championships: amateur and professional sprint, amateur and professional road race, and professional Motor-paced racing. The road race was traditionally a massed start but did not have to be: Britain organised its road championship before the war as a time trial, the National Cyclists Union believing it best to run races against the clock, and without publicity before the start, to avoid police attention. Continental European organisers generally preferred massed races on circuits, fenced throughout or along the finish to charge for entry.
The original records were on the track: unpaced, human-paced and mechanically paced. They were promoted for three classes of bicycle: solos, tandems and unusual machines such as what are now known as recumbents, on which the rider lies horizontal. Distances were imperial and metric, from 440 yards and 500 metres to 24 hours.The UCI banned recumbents in competitions and in record attempts on 1 April 1934. Later changes included restrictions on riding positions of the sort that affected Graeme Obree in the 1990s and the banning in 2000 of all frames that did not have a seat tube.
The winner of a UCI World Championship title is awarded a rainbow jersey, white with five coloured bands on the chest. This jersey can be worn in only the discipline, specialty and category of competition in which it was awarded, and expires on the day before the following world championship event. Former champions are permitted to wear rainbow piping on the cuffs and collar of their clothing.
For decades, professional road cyclists refused to wear helmets. The first serious attempt by the UCI to introduce compulsory helmet use was the 1991 Paris–Nice race, which resulted in a riders' strike, and UCI abandoned the idea.
After the death of Andrei Kivilev in the 2003 Paris–Nice, new rules were introduced on 5 May 2003,with the 2003 Giro d'Italia being the first major race affected. The 2003 rules allowed for discarding the helmets during final climbs of at least 5 kilometres in length; subsequent revisions made helmet use mandatory at all times.
The UCI was accused of accepting a bribe in the 1990s to introduce the keirin, a track cycling race, into the Olympics. An investigation by the BBC claims that the UCI was paid approximately $3,000,000 by Japanese sources to add the race to the Olympic programme, something denied by the UCI.
When Floyd Landis confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career in May 2010, he alleged that the UCI had accepted a bribe from Lance Armstrong to cover up an EPO positive after the 2001 Tour de Suisse.
Discussing doping in 2012, UCI president Pat McQuaid emphasised the fact that his organisation was "the first entity to introduce blood tests, the first sport to introduce the test for EPO".
In November 2013, Armstrong settled a lawsuit with Acceptance Insurance Company (AIC). AIC had sought to recover $3 million it had paid Armstrong as bonuses for winning the Tour de France from 1999–2001. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum one day before Armstrong was scheduled to give an oral deposition under oath. In a sworn, written deposition for the lawsuit, Armstrong stated, "Armstrong has not paid or offered to pay someone to keep his or others' doping a secret. However, Armstrong has, on occasion, provided benefits or made contributions to many people and institutions, some of whom may have been aware of, or suspected Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs and banned methods. Armstrong never provided any such benefits or contributions with the intent for it to be a payoff to keep doping a secret."
The UCI has sued or threatened to sue several cyclists, journalists, and writers for defamation after they accused it of corruption or other misdeeds related to doping.Many, though not all, of these suits are heard in the Est Vaudois district court of Vevey, Switzerland
In 2002 UCI sued Festina soigneur Willy Voet over claims in his book Breaking the Chain.In 2004 the UCI won the case, and in 2006 won the appeal. Voet had made various claims about UCI and Verbruggen's behavior related to the Laurent Brochard Lidocaine case at the 1997 UCI Road World Championships.
In 2006, according to Cycling News, the UCI contacted Greg LeMond after an interview he did in 2006 with L'Equipe, and threatened to sue him for defamation. LeMond mentioned the UCI-commissioned Vrijman report, as well as Operacion Puerto, and called the body "corrupt".
Another lawsuit was by Hein Verbruggen against WADA Chief Dick Pound in Swiss court regarding his comments about doping and UCI.The lawsuit was settled by the parties in 2009.
In 2011, the UCI sued Floyd Landis in Switzerland after Landis accused the body of several misdeeds, including the aforementioned alleged coverup involving Lance Armstrong and the 2001 Tour de Suisse. In 2012 Cycling News reported that a District Court had ruled for UCI against Landis.
In 2012 UCI president Pat McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen, as well as UCI itself, sued journalist Paul Kimmage in Switzerland for defamation. Kimmage had been a racer and had a long history of investigating doping in the sport, including a book and, more recent to the suit, articles for the Sunday Times and L'Equipe which discussed doping and UCI.Greg LeMond, David Walsh and others voiced their support for Kimmage and a legal defense fund was set up to assist him.
Under approval of the UCI, the Free Rate Downhill Race took place in May 2015 on Crimea,an internationally recognised Ukrainian territory which was annexed by the Russian Federation in March 2014. By officially overseeing an international competition with Russian license on the Ukrainian peninsula, the UCI was the first and only international sports governing body which undermined the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Yet, in the aftermath of this "scandal of sports and international law" the UCI negotiated with the Cycling Federation of Ukraine and, in November 2015, announced to remove the Free Rate Downhill Race officially from the UCI international calendar.
Turkmenistan′s authoritarian leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was awarded the highest award of the Union Cycliste Internationale for his country’s commitment to the sport.
On top of having organized the Road World Championships since 1921, from 1989 until 2004, the UCI administered the UCI Road World Cup, a season-long competition incorporating all the major one-day professional road races. In 2005 this was replaced by the UCI ProTour series which initially included the Grand Tour road cycling stage races (the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España) and a wider range of other one-day and stage races. However, the three Grand Tour races withdrew from the series, and in July 2008 all the major professional teams threatened to quit the series, putting its future in doubt.The ProTour was replaced as a ranking system the following year by the UCI World Ranking, which added the three Grand Tours, two early season stage races, and five more one-day classics to the 14 remaining ProTour events.
To expand the participation and popularity of professional road bicycle racing throughout the globe, the UCI develop a series of races collectively known as the UCI Continental Circuits for each region of the world.
The highest level teams in women's road cycling are the UCI Women's Teams.
The UCI has supported elite level competition for women since 1959 including the crowning of a Women's World Cycling Champion (Road Race) and beginning in 1994, honoring a Women's World Time Trial Champion at the women's time trial event. Since 2012 UCI Women's teams compete at the World Championships in the women's team time trial event
Since 1998, the UCI Women's Road World Cup has served as a season-long competition of elite-level one-day and stage race events.
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships for men and women offers individual and team championships in several track cycling disciplines. The UCI Track Cycling World Cup serves as a season-long competition of elite-level.
The UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships for men and women offers individual and team championships in several track cycling disciplines.
Each UCI-sponsored event feeds into the season-long competition known as the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. In addition, a series of single-day events are held each year to determine the Cyclo-cross World Champion at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships.
In mountain bike racing, the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships is the most important and prestigious competition each year. This includes the disciplines of cross-country and downhill. In addition, this event consists of world championship events for bike trials riding. In 2012 the first cross-country eliminator world championship was held in Saalfelden.
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is a series of races, held annually since 1991.
At the 2011 World Championships held in Champéry, Switzerland the UCI announced a controversial new sponsorship deal with the previously unheard of RockyRoads Network.
The season-long competition is known as the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup and the UCI BMX World Championships serves as the one-day world championships for BMX racing (bicycle motorcross) cycling.
Unlike other types of cycling disciplines, trials is a sport where the main factors are the stability and the control of the bike in extreme situations where speed also plays an important role.
The first UCI Trials World Championships took place in 1986.Fourteen years later, in 2000, the UCI Trials World Cup made its debut. The most World Champions titles have been won by riders from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The UCI Trials World Youth Games is the most important international event for boys and girls under 16 years old, the first edition of which took place in 2000.
The UCI sponsors world championships for artistic cycling and cycle ball at an annual event known as the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships.
The national federations form confederations by continent:
Gregory James LeMond is an American former professional road racing cyclist, entrepreneur, and anti-doping advocate. A two-time winner of the Road Race World Championship and a three-time winner of the Tour de France, LeMond is considered by many to be the greatest American cyclist of all time, one of the great all-round cyclists of the modern era, and an icon of the sport's globalisation.
The 2004 Tour de France was a multiple stage bicycle race held from 3 to 25 July, and the 91st edition of the Tour de France. It has no overall winner—although American cyclist Lance Armstrong originally won the event, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced in August 2012 that they had disqualified Armstrong from all his results since 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005; the Union Cycliste Internationale confirmed this verdict.
Astana–Premier Tech is a professional road bicycle racing team sponsored by the Samruk-Kazyna, a coalition of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan and named after its capital city Astana. Astana attained UCI ProTeam status in its inaugural year, 2007. Following a major doping scandal involving kazakh rider Alexander Vinokourov, team management was terminated and new management brought in for the 2008 season. The team was then managed by Johan Bruyneel, former team manager of U.S. Postal/Discovery Channel team. Under Bruyneel the ethical nature of the team did not improve, although Astana in this period was very successful. With a lineup including Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador, as well as runner-up Andreas Klöden the results were there, however the team was on the verge of financial collapse in May 2009. A battle for control of the team led to the return of Vinokourov for the 2009 Vuelta a España caused Bruyneel and at least fourteen of its riders to leave at the end of the 2009 season, most for Team RadioShack. Only four Spanish riders, including Contador, and most of the Kazakhs remained with the rebuilt team for 2010. Those four Spaniards all left the team for Saxo Bank–SunGard in 2011.
Willy Voet is a Belgian sports physiotherapist. He is most widely known for his involvement in the Festina affair in the 1998 Tour de France.
Cofidis Solutions Crédits is a French professional road bicycle racing team sponsored by a money-lending company, Cofidis. It was started in 1996 by Cyrille Guimard, the former manager of Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon of the Renault-Elf-Gitane team of the 1980s. The team's sponsor has supported the team despite repeated problems such as doping scandals. After it was part of the UCI ProTour for the ProTour's first five seasons, from 2010 the team competed as a UCI Professional Continental team. The team joined the UCI World Tour for the 2020 season.
Groupama–FDJ is a French cycling team at UCI WorldTeam level. The team is managed by Marc Madiot, a former road bicycle racer and winner of the Paris–Roubaix classic in 1985 and 1991. The team is predominantly French.
Paul Kimmage is an Irish sports journalist and former amateur and professional road bicycle racer, who was road race champion of Ireland in 1981, and competed in the 1984 Olympic Games. He wrote for The Sunday Times newspaper and others, and published a number of books.
There have been allegations of doping in the Tour de France since the race began in 1903. Early Tour riders consumed alcohol and used ether, among other substances, as a means of dulling the pain of competing in endurance cycling. Riders began using substances as a means of increasing performance rather than dulling the senses, and organizing bodies such as the Tour and the International Cycling Union (UCI), as well as government bodies, enacted policies to combat the practice.
Kristin Armstrong is a former professional road bicycle racer and three-time Olympic gold medalist, the winner of the women's individual time trial in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Before temporarily retiring to start a family in 2009, she rode for Cervélo TestTeam in women's elite professional events on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) and UCI Women's World Cup. She announced a return to competitive cycling beginning in the 2011 season, competing for Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 at the Redlands Classic.
L.A. Confidentiel: Les secrets de Lance Armstrong is a book by sports journalist Pierre Ballester and The Sunday Times sports correspondent David Walsh. The book contains circumstantial evidence of cyclist Lance Armstrong having used performance-enhancing drugs. The book has only been published in French.
Taylor Carpenter-Phinney is an American retired professional road racing cyclist, who rode professionally between 2009 and 2019 for the Trek–Livestrong, BMC Racing Team and EF Education First teams. Phinney specialized in time trials on the road as well as the individual pursuit on the track, winning the world title in the discipline in 2009 and 2010.
Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux is a UCI WorldTeam, that is title sponsored by French supermarket chain Intermarché, Belgian engineering firm Wanty and Belgian building materials provider Groupe Gobert Matériaux.
The 1997 UCI Road World Championships took place in San Sebastián, Spain, between October 7 and October 12, 1997. The event consisted of a road race and a time trial for men, women, men under 23, junior men and junior women.
Hein Verbruggen was a Dutch sports administrator who was president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) from 1991 till 2005 and president of SportAccord from 2004 to 2013. He was an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2008. Previously, he was a member of the IOC and Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008.
In 2009 a number of prominent riders returned to professional cycling. Ivan Basso, Floyd Landis and Michele Scarponi had finished a suspension. Bjorn Leukemans was without a team for over a year due to doping-related allegations, which were proven to be ungrounded. Most notably, seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong returned after a three-and-half year break, starting his season as a Astana-rider in the Tour Down Under.
Lance Edward Armstrong is an American former professional road racing cyclist. He was known for winning the Tour de France seven consecutive times, from 1999 to 2005, the most in the event's history, after recovering from testicular cancer. Armstrong's reputation was tarnished by a doping scandal and he was stripped of all of his achievements from August 1998 onward, including his Tour de France titles.
Team RadioShack was a professional road bicycle racing team, with RadioShack as the title sponsor, the creation of which was announced on July 23, 2009. Lance Armstrong co-owned and led the team, which raced in the Grand Tours and the UCI ProTour. The team was managed by Capital Sports and Entertainment, an Austin, Texas sports and event management group that also manages the Trek-Livestrong U23 development cycling team and that ran the former Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.
Tatsiana Valerevna Sharakova is a Belarusian professional racing cyclist, who currently rides for UCI Women's Continental Team Minsk Cycling Club. She competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics on the track in the women's team pursuit for the national team.
Greg LeMond competed at a time when performance enhancing drugs were just beginning to impact his sport. Rumors of improprieties existed, including USA Cycling's blood doping at the 1984 LA Olympics and Francesco Moser's same measures prior to his 1984 assault on the hour record, but legalities were not sharply demarcated and the practice was not spoken of in the open. Considered one of the most talented cyclists of his generation, from his earliest days of professional cycling LeMond was strongly against taking performance enhancing drugs, largely on the basis of the health risks such practices posed. His career lacks the suspicious results that have tarnished his successors. His willingness to speak out against doping and those prominent individuals involved inadvertently linked him with the sport’s doping scandal controversies. In his opposition to fraud, corruption and what he saw as complicity on the part of cycling officials, LeMond became a lightning rod with the sports most prominent personalities.