Cyclotour du Leman: UCI Eco-Cyclo patrol joins peloton around Lake Geneva
Nearly all 3061 participants of the “cyclosportive” Cyclotour du Leman (Switzerland) on Sunday May 18th wore the event’s official pale blue jersey. It was therefore difficult not to notice the 10 bright green harlequin jerseys dotted throughout the pelotons.
These green messengers were working with the event’s organisers to promote environmental awareness among the riders, at feed stations and in the start/finish areas. Members of the patrol observed their fellow cyclists, gave advice about dealing with wrappers from gels and bars, and generally promoted green actions.
Launched in 2006, this Eco-Cyclo patrol has an official partnership with the UCI, and this year will be present at more than 50 cyclosportive events around the world, drawing on its reserve of 80 volunteers.
Switzerland-based patrol member Rob Alpen explained that the Cyclotour du Leman was an ideal event to pass on the green message, as its flat profile attracted a large number of first-time participants who had not yet got into bad habits.
“For the experienced cyclist, littering can be an entrenched habit that is hard to break,” he explains. “However for many debutants, our work is more about showing them efficient techniques to deal with rubbish when on the bike. We explain to them the negative impact that such an event can have on the environment if we don’t all accept good general practices in regards to waste.”
Patrick François, the founder of the programme, adds that the Eco-Cyclo patrol also works closely with event organisers, providing them with a Charter and discussing how they can improve feed zones, use renewable energy and recyclable infrastructures.
“The organisers are our partners, and they are aware of our knowledge and our experience. That is probably why this programme is appreciated.”
Appreciation has also come from the International Olympic Committee: Earlier this month the IOC’s Sport and Environment Commission awarded the Eco-Cyclo Patrol with a diploma for its work.
Alain Rumpf, in charge of the UCI’s green cycling activities, welcomed the growing awareness of green issues within the peloton.
“The UCI has been an official partner of the Eco-Cyclo Patrol for just over a year and we are delighted by the progress being made by this dedicated team of volunteers. The patrol will be present at European rounds of the UCI World Cycling Tour for amateur riders, and is becoming increasingly well-known within the peloton.”
More information and event reports on the UCI Eco-cyclo website.