Cookson says various stakeholders are crucial to the development of cycling, welcomes their input
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cookson says various stakeholders are crucial to the development of cycling, welcomes their input

by Shane Stokes at 12:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
WorldTour seminar taking place in France, president says TV coverage is crucial to sport’s growth

Brian Cookson manifestoHaving stated in his pre-election manifesto that the development of the elite road race aspect of the sport is one of his priorities, Brian Cookson outlined some of the challenges and tasks facing the WorldTour today.

The Briton, who beat the previous president Pat McQuaid by 24 votes to 18 in the September 27th election in Florence, Italy, was attending day one of the annual two day UCI WorldTour seminar in Chantilly, France.

Cookson addressed the various stakeholders present, including teams and organisers. He told them that while things were good in the year just finished, there is room for improvement and evolution.

“The 2013 UCI WorldTour was marked by great racing and great locations but there is work to be done and I am delighted to be here as the UCI’s new President to lead that work,” he told them. “Professional cycling must adapt to changes and new techniques and this is not always an easy path, but it is one that all of us who have the best interests of our sport at heart, can and must take.”

In his manifesto, which was released in June, Cookson listed four specific areas for action in relation to elite road racing.

These were:

1) Working with all stakeholders in professional cycling to create a simpler more cohesive events calendar
2) Establishing a stronger global series of tiered races for up-and-coming athletes and events
3) To develop a structure that promotes long term financial stability
4) Refocussing the UCI's Global Cycling Promotion (GCP) unit to create a clearly understood strategy for developing races and eliminate conflicts of interest with other race promoters

Today he laid out his latest thoughts on the subject, saying that the coverage of the sport was one of the most important issues to work on.

“We must improve the financial performance of professional cycling, and to do this we must increase its visibility, make it clearer and more attractive,” he stated. “By doing so, we will have a more stable structure that will support all those who wish to contribute to the development of our sport in both historic and new territories.

He said that the WorldTour was for many people the shop window for the sport and that those present had a part to play in both its success and its popularity.

The message to the stakeholders seemed to be a motivating, encouraging one, and contrasted with UCI dealing under the previous presidency which had, at times, been tense and combative.

“You are all key players in the WorldTour, and the UCI greatly appreciates your contribution and values your input into any discussions concerning the future of our sport,” Cookson affirmed.

“Over the next two days, we will discuss concrete issues which concern all of us: our different roles, new technology, television, and the culture of professional cycling. Indeed, television coverage plays an important and growing role in the success and the promotion of our sport and a good part of tomorrow’s session will be devoted to television production.”

“We have a very full programme ahead of us and I am looking forward to getting down to business. I repeat, once again, that we are at the beginning of a new era and it is together, united, and only united, that we will be able to rise to the challenges that await us.”


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