‘Abuse has no place in our sport’ - UCI launches new integrity campaign

World governing body say new campaign is part of wider ‘cycling integrity’ programme, designed to ‘promote and strengthen integrity in cycling at all levels’

UCI headquarters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging cycling’s various stakeholders to “play an active role” in “protecting the physical and psychological integrity” of those involved in the sport.

A statement announcing the new campaign explained that the new campaign is part of the UCI’s “cycling integrity” programme, which was set up to amalgamate all of the organisations activities to “promote and strengthen integrity in cycling at all levels.” 

According to the UCI, cycling integrity consists of three pillars: clean cycling, safe cycling and fair cycling.

Each of these has a “preventative component” in the form of an educational programme, and a “reactive” component, which is the ability for abusive conduct to be reported and treated. 

“As a vehicle for strong and positive universal values, cycling is an effective tool for the development of individuals and populations, as well as for sustainable and inclusive development. To play this constructive role, cycling must be safe for its actors: each member of the cycling family, whether a rider or not, must be able to evolve in an environment in which they feel safe and respected,” the statement reads.

“The UCI must therefore do its utmost to fight against harassment and abuse in all its forms: psychological and physical abuse, sexual harassment and abuse, and negligence. Such occurrences simply have no place in cycling - professional or amateur - and cannot be tolerated.”

It continues: “In the fight against such conduct, it is essential that everyone, whether a victim or a witness of wrongdoing, feels free to express their concerns and has the necessary channels and support to do so. Everyone's contribution is valuable in helping the UCI to create a safer environment for all.”

On the new campaign, UCI president David Lappartient said that the new campaign is designed to uphold the sport's “strong values”.

"Integrity is a fundamental value of sport, and cycling is a fantastic sport, which also has the power to inspire hundreds of millions of people around the world to adopt cycling as a healthy leisure activity and sustainable means of transport. Cycling upholds strong values such as hard work, perseverance and solidarity, but it is also open to abuse,” he said.

“Such abuse has no place in our sport, and the UCI does not tolerate it,” Lappartient added. “We want our sport to contribute to building a better society , and to this end, we do everything possible so that victims and witnesses of abuse know that we are on their side, and to encourage them to help us make cycling a sport that strives to be exemplary at all levels.”

In 2017, former professional Kévin Reza was racially abused by Gianni Moscon at the Tour of Romandie. Moscon received a ban of six weeks, and he also attended a diversity training course organised by his team at the time. The UCI did not take any action following an investigation.

Nearly four years later, Reza told Cyclingnews that he felt “nothing has changed in cycling’s response to racism” after he had been involved in a muted show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at the Tour de France.

“Since the Tour de France, nothing much has changed,” he said. “I heard a lot of talk but didn’t see much action taken in the different organisations who manage our sport. It’s a pity but that’s how it is.”

In 2021, former women's team director Marc Bracke was banned from cycling by the UCI after he sexually harassed riders. 

Bracke, the director general and sports director of UCI Women’s Continental squad, Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus, was accused of harassment by riders inside his team, which resulted in the UCI opening an investigation into the Belgian’s conduct in March 2020. 

In October 2020, the UCI’s Ethics Commission found that Bracke had breached the Code of Ethics and the case was then passed to the governing body’s Disciplinary Commission, which has now confirmed that Bracke will be banned from the sport for three years. 

In response to its latest campaign, UCI director general Amina Lanaya said that the organisation wants to “listen to and help victims, and get rid of abusers.”

Lanaya said: “We will continue to develop our Cycling Integrity program to ensure that cycling plays its full and positive role in society and for individuals."

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