Cycling, a global activity
The Union Cycliste Internationale is committed to leading the worldwide development of our sport at all levels and across all disciplines: road, track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross, BMX, indoor, trials and para-cycling.
To achieve this goal, the UCI cooperates closely with the five Continental Confederations and our member National Federations. Together we seek to offer a balanced sport development programme from grassroots through to high performance level.
Each National Federation is responsible for cycling in its country and takes a leading role in operating and developing the sport. The UCI helps National Federations fulfill this role as effectively as possible, and to do so has established a number of development initiatives.
These initiatives form the foundations upon which our National Federations can improve their own governance and administration, train their coaches and build an athlete development pathway.
These are all key elements of any sustainable, long term performance sports strategy.
The UCI’s Development Strategy is based on the following key areas of activity:
Education and Knowledge Sharing
- Focus on improving the governance and administration of National Federations through education and knowledge sharing workshops such as the UCI Sharing Platform.
Technical Support & Training
- Training of athletes, coaches, sports directors and mechanics
- Comprehensive training and continuous development of commissaires and race officials
- Organisation of talent identification programmes
- Provision of resources and equipment through the UCI Bikes for the World programme
- Financial assistance to eligible National Federations
- Increasing training and racing opportunities
UCI’s World Cycling Centre and satellite centres
- Provide opportunity for athletes across the world through the UCI’s World Cycling Centre (WCC) network
The range of the UCI’s work has broadened considerably in recent years, requiring increasing coordination of its varied activities. The UCI is in the fortunate position of being able to rely on substantial expertise and assistance from the five Continental Confederations to promote cycling around the globe.
The five Continental Confederations are the umbrella organisations of the National Federations on each continent: the Union Européenne de Cyclisme (Europe), the Asian Cycling Confederation (Asia), the Confederación Panamericana de Ciclismo (the Americas), the Confédération Africaine de Cyclisme (Africa) and the Oceania Cycling Confederation (Oceania).
The Continental Confederations have an in-depth understanding of cycling in their regions and work in partnership with the UCI to raise the profile of the sport by hosting races, including the continental cycling championships, and organising other development activities in tandem with their member National Federations.
The globalisation of cycling has continued at great pace in recent years with a record number of events and teams registered. Elite athletes come from a growing range of countries around the world.
Asia is at the forefront of cycling’s globalisation and there is much to be excited about. The region is extremely active in hosting major cycling events which can only benefit the continent and the sport. The number of races in the UCI Asia Tour has risen from 13 in 2005 to 37 in 2014, and in 2011, the Tour of Beijing became the first Asian event on our WorldTour calendar. This event has since provided a spectacular and extremely popular end to the season’s racing each year.
Beijing hosted the first ever Chinese cyclo-cross event in 2013. Looking ahead, Astana, Kazakhstan, will welcome the world’s best junior riders for the 2015 UCI Juniors Track World Championships. Our leading event, the UCI Road World Championships will visit the Middle East for the first time in 2016, when Qatar plays host to our leading annual road event.
The number of teams and represented nations is also on the rise. There are now 40 UCI Continental Teams registered in Asia, more than double than in 2009 when there were just 17. Sixteen countries participated in the 2014 UCI Asia Tour compared with 8 countries in 2005.
Cycling is developing at a rapid pace across Africa. There are now seven UCI Continental teams registered on the continent compared to just one in 2005. Eight countries participated in the 2014 Africa Tour, up from four in 2005. Events are also on the increase with 22 events registered on the on the UCI Africa Tour calendar in 2013, an increase of three on the previous year. In 2013, the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships were hosted in Africa for the first time: in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
The number and quality of elite cyclists from Africa is also growing rapidly. Former World Cycling Centre trainee Natnael Berhane, from Eritrea, became the first black African rider to win a professional stage race at the 2014 Tropica Amissa Bongo. Another Eritrean, Merhawi Kudus, won “best young rider” at the 2014 edition of the 2.1 event Route du Sud – la Dépêche du Midi.
African riders have more and more role models from the continent who have signed professional contracts. The most recent, who signed on July 1st 2014, are Janvier Hadi (Rwanda) who joined UCI Continental team Garneau Québecor and South African Nicholas Dougall (MTN-Qhubeka). Meanwhile Bona Venture (Rwanda) joined the feeder team for Team Europecar, Vendée U.
In Olympic BMX Champion Mariana Pajon and Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintanta, South America and Colombia have two of the world’s top cyclists who are both inspiring the next general of riders in South and Central America. We are witnessing expansion in the number of races on the UCI America Tour with events increasing from 17 in 2009 to 22 in 2013. Colombia hosted a successful UCI Track World Championships in February 2013 with Colombia’s Fabian Puerta, a former World Cycling Centre trainee, winning silver in the keirin.
The 2013 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships were hosted in Louisville, the first time ever that they have been held outside Europe, while Mexico hosted the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships for the first time in 2014.
The coming years are set to be particularly exciting years for cycling in the continent, and the UCI is delighted to be taking the 2016 BMX World Championships to Medellin in Colombia. The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will of course be holding the first Olympic Games in South America in 2016 followed by the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The region’s capability and capacity for hosting international cycling events have grown over the last five years, as demonstrated by several UCI World Championships held in Oceania. After hosting the UCI Road World Championships in 2010, Melbourne, Australia, was the venue for the UCI Track World Championships in 2012. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships visited Rotorua in 2009, and Auckland hosted the UCI BMX World Championships in 2013.
Facts and figures
- Since 2002 nearly 700 athletes and 211 coaches from 118 countries have trained at the UCI’s World Cycling Centre in Switzerland.
- The UCI has provided more than 250 bikes to athletes from developing nations since the establishment of our Bikes for the World programme in 2010.
- More than 100 delegates from 70 different National Federations attended education and knowledge workshops in Switzerland, Egypt, Mexico and Kazakhstan as part of the UCI Sharing Platform programme for 2013-2014.
- More than one million spectators turned out to watch the men’s and women’s road races during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- A record number of nations (77) participated in the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Florence (Italy).
- In just four years there has been an increase of more than 50 registered UCI Continental teams: from 122 in 2010 to 177 in 2014.
- The global popularisation of cycling is diversifying the professional peloton with more than 70 different nations represented in 2013.
- Ji Cheng became the first Chinese rider to compete in the Tour de France in 2014.