By Simon Smythe
Shimano has announced it will be renewing and expanding its partnership with the Union Cycliste Internationale – one that has been in operation since 1999.
The two will "aim to strengthen their collaboration and work together to promote the values that bind them and the causes closest to their hearts: the development of cycling in all its forms (as a competitive sport, a recreational activity, and a means of transport) for everyone; the promotion of diversity among people who cycle; and the promotion of healthy living through cycling."
The Japanese company will be involved in the majority of the UCI World Championships – road, track, para-cycling road and track, mountain bike, BMX, urban cycling, mountain bike marathon, cyclo-cross and Gran Fondo, as well as the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023 in Glasgow and Scotland, which brings together 13 championship events for different cycling disciplines. It will also continue to support the UCI mountain bike and cyclo-cross World Cups.
Shimano is to step up its contribution to the UCI’s cycling development activities. According to the brand, this will see a roll-out of a series of initiatives, including:
- On-site Shimano product tests aimed at fans attending UCI events
- A contribution made by Shimano to help promote cycling, for example through the Japanese company’s participation in the UCI’s campaigns (Ride & Smile in particular), the projects engaged in by the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) and the UCI Solidarity Programme
- The donation of products to stakeholders who promote cycling and are recognised by the UCI
- Collaboration in studies of interest to the UCI and Shimano, in areas such as sustainable development and safety
Shimano will also continue to provide neutral service at a large number of UCI events. It announced earlier this month that it will replace Mavic as neutral service partner at ASO-owned races including the Tour de France.
In its press release, Shimano points out that 2021 is a symbolic year for both itself and the UCI: Shimano celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021 while the UCI celebrates the centenary of its Road World Championships at the 2021 edition of the event in Flanders, Belgium. The inaugural Road World Championships were held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1921, and the UCI and Shimano “will work together to mark the competition’s 100th anniversary with unique online and on-site activation events and activities aimed at the general public,” according to Shimano.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “The renewal and expansion of our partnership with Shimano is excellent news for our federation and our sport. We are especially happy and proud to have a partner as loyal and prestigious as Shimano. The level of services it has provided over the last 20 years or so and its investment in support of our activities, not least in development, have made it a true valuable ally of cycling. The strengthening of its engagement will benefit our sport as a whole.”
Taizo Shimano, senior executive vice president of Shimano, said: “Since Shimano began its partnership with the UCI in 1999 we have been able to bring all global Team Shimano members together to support many of the UCI’s national and international racing programmes, grassroots activities and bicycle advocacy programmes. Undoubtedly, we are stronger thanks to everything we’ve learned during those years and we hope our investment has played its part in cycling’s global growth during that time too. We are honoured to play our continued part in developing cycling and we look forward to expanded projects with the UCI in the coming years.”
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