Manifesto | Brian Cookson's six point plan to keep cycling growing globally

Brian Cookson and Thomas Bach of the IOC

1. Drive growth across all cycling’s disciplines

Secure an expanded Olympic and Paralympic programme in Tokyo 2020 and beyond

Our status as a major Olympic and Paralympic sport is vital, especially to our national federations. Rio 2016 was a great success for cycling and I will use our excellent reputation in the Olympic movement to grow cycling’s presence in Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

Complete the rebirth of the UCI Track World Cup

Track cycling is one of the UCI’s key disciplines.  We’ve done a major review and implemented some significant changes to boost track cycling, and I now want us to drive the growth of the UCI Track World Cup to a series of up to eight events each year.

Support the further development of all our disciplines in their brilliant diversity - cyclo-cross, mountain bike BMX, trials and indoor cycling

I am going to help National Federations and Continental Confederations with dedicated UCI resources to develop MTB and BMX, both highly accessible disciplines.  The UCI Urban Cycling World Championships will be a great advertisement for this, and I will continue to build on the growing success of off-road cycling disciplines.

Secure the position of men’s professional cycling among the world’s top sports

Elite men’s cycling has continued to grow and the changes made in the last four years have, overall, helped its development.  Balancing the needs of all the stakeholders is not easy but in my second term I will continue to develop a more sustainable structure, ensuring professional road cycling’s place among the world’s top sporting attractions.

Reinforcing the development pathways of road cycling through the tiers of the continental calendars

While developing new opportunities worldwide, it is also of course vital to both strengthen the traditional strongholds of elite road racing, and reinforce the development pathways through the tiers of the continental calendars for both events and teams. I will ensure the continental calendars are respected and developed in line with regional characteristics and requirements.

Further develop para-cycling with an emphasis on broadening the competition pyramid

Our focus on para-cycling has started to bear fruit, for example with the live-streaming of the UCI Para-cycling World Championships.  But the pyramid must be built further, and I will also be working closely with the International Paralympic Committee on this.  The project we have planned to re-launch our classification management system will provide a vital tool to accomplish this goal.

2. Accelerate international development

Brian Cookson at the African Continental Championships 2017

Continue to increase investment in our continental confederations and national federations

I will use the UCI’s improved financial strength and increasing revenue to help drive national federation and continental confederation development.  There are clear needs such as an increased investment in the training and development of international commissaires, and the benefits of our knowledge sharing events which I am committed to ensure are held on every continent, every year.  In addition I will work hard to ensure we understand the priorities of our national federations and how best we can support them in the achievement of their goals

Higher targets for athlete participation and coach education at the UCI World Cycling Centre

We have dedicated more funding than ever to the UCI World Cycling Centre, and I want us to set more stretching targets for athlete participation to athletes from all nations able to achieve their full potential.  I want to see more coaches from around the world coming to Aigle to improve their knowledge and skills.

Increase the number of UCI WCC Satellite Centres, with the aim of at least one in each sub-continent or region

The UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) must continue to grow globally, not only in Aigle.  Our fourth UCI WCC satellite centre opened in India in 2015, and our innovative partnership with Wanda is opening the way to a new UCI WCC satellite to open in China. But we have only just begun to identify the huge potential of talented but undiscovered bike riders from around the world. I therefore aim to have at least one UCI WCC satellite centre on every sub-continent or continental region before the completion of my second term.

Spread the hosting of UCI events, strategically, across the world

Being the host of a UCI event is a powerful way to bring the cycling family to countries on every continent, and while respecting the heritage of our sport in different regions I will look to increase the global reach of UCI World Championships and UCI World Cups. Great progress has been made in ensuring that our competition formats and business models allow for such long term development of UCI events across the world, and I will make sure this strategy continues.

3. Equal opportunity for women

Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Brian Cookson

Provide guidance and a model womens’ strategy that all national federations will be encouraged to adopt

Progress starts with getting the strategy in place, and we have started to measure the number of national federations with specific womens’ cycling strategies in place.   My ambition is over the course of the next four years to help at least 75% of our member national federations adopt a specific womens’ cycling strategy.

Continue the policy adopted in my first term of increasing the number of women in leadership positions across the UCI

We will be measuring the representation of women across UCI governance structures, developing the policy adopted in my first term of increasing the number of women in leadership positions across UCI bodies, with the Women’s Commission leading and at least one woman on every specialist Commission.

Develop the UCI Women’s WorldTour to commercial sustainability

The introduction of the UCI Women’s WorldTour has been a great success, but we are still in the early stages of its development. In the next term my aim is to achieve the commercial sustainability of the series.  The UCI Women’s WorldTour brings together the work of many stakeholders in developing this discipline at the professional level, and the UCI has sought to provide leadership and investment in guiding its development. However, despite this significant progress, we still have much to do to make this discipline commercially sustainable in which athletes, teams and organisers can flourish, and with a platform now in place we will drive this agenda in the years to come.

Double the number of women participating in UCI training and development courses

Our work to support the overall pyramid of women’s cycling must also continue.  We have put in place women’s Sport Director course scholarships, as well as dramatically increasing the proportion of women in our stagiaire intakes attending the WCC.  This work goes hand in hand with other initiatives such as the establishment of the U23 category and the UCI Women’s Junior Nations Cup.

Establish a permanent UCI WCC Women’s Team

In 2016 we invested in the establishment of a road team of talented women athletes from around the world.  I will make this a permanent part of our WCC programme, and additionally roll this out to other disciplines.

4. Champion cycling for transport and leisure

Cycle commuters in London, UK

Put everyday cycling at the heart of UCI World Championship and Olympic host and candidate cities

We have a unique position from which to promote everyday cycling.  As part of the Olympic family we will further engage with the IOC to develop the IOC sustainability strategy.  In particular this will focus on the cycling promotion strategies of UCI World Championship and Olympic host and candidate cities, such as through bike sharing schemes and cycle lanes.  We have already made a start with Tokyo 2020, and through adding to the UCI’s own dedicated resources.

Continue our work to promote cycling as a means of transport, for its health and environmental benefits and as an answer to many of the problems of developed and developing nations

There are many advocates of cycling and, under my leadership, the UCI will take an active role in mobilising the stars of the sport to add their voice and influence as ambassadors for everyday cycling.  The work of groups such as the ECF in Europe and People for Bikes in the USA is of vital importance, and my team will continue to work with these and other groups.  Our voice needs to be heard at a worldwide level.  The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved with cycling as a key policy lever, enabling sustainable cities to become a reality.

Support national federations and continental confederations in the development and implementation of best practice to drive everyday cycling

We will identify global best practices to support continental confederations and national federations in developing everyday cycling across the world.  Our commitment starts at home, and I will ensure that our headquarters develop into the most bike-friendly working environment, with excellent bike connections to the town centre, and we will showcase the UCI World Cycling Centre as the home of cycling, with support of local government and local institutions.  We will also shortly become part of a new regional bike share scheme, and will also be expanding the work we do with school programmes.

Establish more UCI Bike Cities and Bike Regions around the world

I am pleased that the UCI Bike City label is again now highly sought after with, in the last twelve months, three UCI Bike City labels awarded to recognise and encourage cities and regions that show commitment to both the sport and everyday cycling.  Looking ahead I will ensure we target three more UCI Bike Cities every year.

5. Excellence in our operations and leading by example

Brian Cookson at the UCI Road World Championships 2016

Establish a new medium term financial plan and targets for investment

The UCI is in a stronger financial and operational position than ever.  We have exceeded, in 2017, the target of CHF 20 million of reserves set by the “20 by 2020” plan.  Looking ahead, the strength of our commercial programme gives me the confidence that we should now establish a new set of medium term financial targets, maintaining our stability while ensuring capital is available for investment across the world.

Transform our IT platform with the roll-out of UCI Dataride

I am proud of the operational efficiency achieved by my administration.  We continue to improve systems and processes, and in the coming year we will launch what will be a transformation of our management of data for race, rider and licence information. This will bring great efficiencies to the daily operations of cycling, enabling future innovation.  This project is known as UCI Dataride, and will establish the UCI as the benchmark among international federations for our IT systems.

Build multi-year partnerships for our event hosts

Our improved bidding process for major UCI events has led to more interest than ever in hosting UCI events;  at the UCI Congress in 2016 we were able to award more UCI World Championships hosts than had ever previously been achieved.  Looking ahead we want to improve further in this area, including making multi-year awards for some of our portfolio of events, to improve planning visibility for both hosts and the UCI.

Bring our events to ever bigger audiences across all forms of media

I am delighted that our new agreement with EBU and IMG is bringing UCI’s events to ever increasing broadcast audiences.  But it’s important that we look also to new forms of media and communication with cycling fans and audiences.  That’s why we have developed the UCI’s digital platforms which now have some two million followers from almost a standing start, and why continuing to be at the forefront of emerging technologies is so important. I’ll make sure that we continue to build on that great progress.

6. Relentlessly work to maintain the restored credibility in the sport and the UCI

Brian Cookson at the 185th UCI Congress

Ensure our commitment to clean sport remains a top priority and is properly funded with a best in class structure

Restoring credibility – of our sport and of the UCI – was at the core of my commitment to you in 2013.  Together we have achieved a great deal, and in this area my commitment remains unwavering.  Having now established an independent anti-doping structure that is regarded by WADA and others as the model for international federations, I am committed to ensuring that our efforts in this area continue to be both properly funded and remain best in class.

Continue to set ourselves the highest standards of governance

We must constantly strive to govern our sport with the highest standards of ethics and integrity. The UCI now has a modern and stringent ethics code, the application of which is under the purview of the ethics commission.  This commission is composed in the majority by representatives entirely independent of the UCI.  Many will remember the chaotic scenes during the election process at our 2013 congress. As part of our governance reforms, this upcoming election will be the first to take place under the revised guidelines I am proud we have put in place. We have also revitalised the athlete’s commission, whose members are now directly elected by the athletes themselves, and now form a key part of the overall governance structure of the UCI.

Further invest in our work against technological fraud

I introduced rules against technological fraud, and sanctions appropriate to this type of cheating.  Previously the UCI rules did not properly address this risk, the penalties envisaged were minimal, and there was no real system of checking for violations.  We will continue to review and update our work and detection methods and extend this know-how across national federations.  

Act decisively through our regulatory function to govern the sport, and improve security and safety

I will review and modernise our technical regulations and ensure their implementation is effective, consistent and equitable worldwide through better resourced training and education of our technical officials.  Where new technology emerges, I will work with all our stakeholders to ensure a balanced approach to its introduction and regulation.  Most importantly, in the crucial area of security, welfare and safety, I will build on the initiatives we have taken on race security, conduct in the race caravan, and measures around extreme weather conditions, to ensure that events in all disciplines comply with the highest possible standards.