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UCI President Cookson Supports Cyclo-cross as an Olympic Sport

release by UCI
February 11, 2014 – Cyclo-Cross at the Winter Olympic Games … why not? The new IOC President Thomas Bach put out a clear message of change and modernisation for the Olympic Sports Programme at the 126th IOC session in Sochi this week, and the UCI is keen to be part of this refreshing outlook.

I believe that Cyclo-Cross – which takes place during the northern hemisphere winter – would be an exciting addition to the Winter Games.

Cyclo-cross requires endurance, explosive power and incredible bike handling skills. Many youngsters wishing to take up cycling pass through the school of Cyclo-Cross, and the breathtaking performances of the Junior athletes at the recent UCI World Championships in Hoogerheide clearly demonstrated the depth of young talent around the globe.

Athletes representing 23 countries and five continents competed in the 2014 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships last weekend. Two nations – Macedonia and Serbia – sent athletes to the Worlds for the first time. The Women and Junior categories experienced the biggest jump in participation levels, a true demonstration of the growth the Cyclo-Cross discipline is currently experiencing.

Cyclo-Cross would offer equal medal opportunities for men and women, the infrastructure and related costs required to install a circuit are minimal, and the principle is clear-cut: first across the line is the winner.

But above all it is a sport that reaches out to an incredibly wide cross-section of the population. Anybody who witnessed the wonderful scenes in Hoogerheide knows that this is a sport that appeals to the young.

Rule 6 of the Olympic Charter states that “only those sports which are practised on snow or ice are considered as winter sports.”

That may be the case as things currently stand but President Bach has signalled his appetite for change.

So I look forward to a debate about whether Cyclo-Cross, and indeed other sports practised in the winter season, should be part of the Winter Olympic Games.

Brian Cookson
UCI President

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