When Brian Cookson appeared at the World Championships this weekend, unlike last year when Pat McQuaid took to the podium, the crowd didn’t boo. Cookson’s initiatives this year have been largely accepted amongst the cycling community, especially since once of the major points that he has focused on was the expansion of women’s cycling. He also added a new Cyclocross Commissioner to the UCI roster in the form of Atlanta Braves’ executive Mike Plant [read our interview with Plant in Issue 23].
At their first meeting of 2014 in Hoogerheide prior to Worlds, the UCI Management Committee established several goals, objectives and directives for the year. The three that interested us the most were:
Europe and Beyond: World Cup Schedule
The 2014-2015 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup calendar:
- Valkenburg (NED, 19/10/2014)
- Koksijde (BEL, 22/11/2014)
- Milton Keynes (GBR, 29/11/2014)
- Namur (BEL, 21/12/2014)
- Heusden-Zolder (BEL, 26/12/2014)
- Roubaix (FRA, 18/01/2015)
- Hoogerheide (NED, 25/01/2015)
There are two noteworthy things here: first, that there is room for one more race on the schedule, and it’s possible that the US might still be in line for a 2014 World Cup. The second is that the rumors about a World Cup in the UK are, in fact, true, and cyclocross guru Simon Burney is spearheading the effort, and kidded with his fellow commentator during the Worlds broadcast about the planning.
Women in the Tour
Second, and not exactly cyclocross-specific, is the registration of La Course by the Tour de France as a category 1.1 event on the 2014 Elite Women calendar. The race is scheduled scheduled for 27th July 2014, and this new event will be in Paris on the final day of the Tour de France. “This initiative is perfectly in line with the UCI’s strategy for the development of women’s cycling,” according to the UCI press release, and Cookson echoed the sentiment when he spoke during the Worlds broadcast, pointing out that a large part of his plans for the coming years include focusing on women’s cycling.
We’re hoping Marianne Vos makes an appearance.
A year ago, there was a massive conversation (or argument, depending on who you talked to) about the UCI rule 1.2.020, the rule that would ban UCI-license holders from taking part in unsanctioned events (think many grassroots ’cross races, mountain bike races and gravel grinders). This rule was in place to prevent Elite road racers from competing in unsanctioned events, but the crackdown in it would hurt the off-road scene, particularly in the US. Major races (with mjor prize purses) like Leadville and the Whiskey Off-Road would be un-race-able for pro athletes, and series’ like OBRA in Oregon would also be against the rules. Racers defying the ruling would face suspensions.
Needless to say, pros were not happy. And so, after much debate, the crackdown on the rule (and discussion of changing the rule) was put on hold until 2014. Still a touchy subject, CyclingNews reported that the ruling on the rule would once again be put on hold for the year. Pros around the world heaved sighs of relief at the news, but the longer the decision is delayed, the longer race organizers have to wait and watch, not knowing exactly what will happen to their races next year.