President of cycling’s governing body and former head of British Cycling, Brian Cookson says that he is concerned about the Brexit leave vote because of the consequences it could have for the sport.
The UK voted in a referendum, with 52% in favour of leaving the European Union. The change is due to happen in two years and is expected to impact the world, sport and of course, cycling.
“I think the freedom of travel within the European Union and the Schengen agreement have been a real asset to cycling and to all sport,” Cookson told Cycling Weekly ahead of the second stage of the Tour de France.
“I’m concerned that we don’t tear those agreements up too quickly without at least making sure there are at least as effective arrangements in place afterwards.
“We are going to all have to study it in the next months. I don’t think anyone expected such results really, even the campaigners who supported the UK leaving the European Union.”
Watch: Highlights from stage two of the 2016 Tour de France
The results mean that the UK would have to invoke article 50 from the European Union treaty to leave.
Cookson plans to meet with the others in the UCI and with the national federations to understand the impact of the leave vote on the international sport, where top WorldTour teams field riders from around the world. For instance, Manxman Mark Cavendish lives in England and in Italy, and rides for a South African team.
“We need to know what the issues might be about free circulation of labour and free trade, and all the rest of it,” Cookson added.
“We are down the list of priorities of the British movement. No one seems to have thought through what it might mean for any industry, let alone the cycling industry.”
Cookson indicated that he favoured a remain outcome in the elections held on June 23.
“For Great Britain to leave the European Union is a mistake, it would be a mistake, but let’s see what agreements can be reached to maintain the advantages of being part of the European Union,” he said.
“When you look at teams, which are international now, and the issues of visas and so on, those are the kind of issues that we need to be clear what the longer term issues will be.”